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Turning Exercise into Adventure!

Virtual ways to make fitness more fun

There’s a reason people bring magazines to the gym or wear headphones during a run: For some, exercise may be a bit boring. But some of the latest tech gizmos and gadgets are trying to change that, turning gym and home exercise into an interactive adventure. Below are some of the tips I suggest to my clients to help make their next exercise session one they’ll remember, and one they’ll want to do again! (Remember to talk to your diabetes care team before making changes to your fitness routine.) 

Group gaming

Exercising with a friend makes some people more likely to stay committed to a fitness program, but sometimes it’s hard to make busy schedules mesh. That’s where some smartphone apps come in: While you may not be running or biking next to your friends, they’re with you in spirit – and they’re watching your stats. With the Strava Running or Strava Cycling1 apps, for example, you can see your stats next to your friends’, which is also good incentive to pick up the pace! (Read more about some apps that DX contributor Kerri Sparling found useful.)

Race yourself

I’ve seen many a motivational poster that has featured the words “You are your own competition.” And some smartphone apps are making that a reality. Type your ideal running pace into an app, such as Ghost Runner (available on Android2 phones), and it lets you know how on-target you are during a run. Not sure if that’s enough to help you set your speed? A number of apps including PaceDJ3 are available to help you use music tempo to direct your cadence. For instance, for a 10-minute mile, try to run along with a 150-beats-per-minute song.

Stationary escape

Compared to group fitness classes, the stationary exercise equipment at gyms – such as treadmills and elliptical machines – might seem a little ho-hum. But a number of manufacturers are trying to enhance the gym-goer’s experience by offering adventure-themed escapes. If your gym carries Expresso HDbikes, you may expect to pedal along with on-screen simulation of real terrain; as you approach an on-screen hill your bike automatically shifts gears, making it feel like you are truly climbing. If you have a treadmill set up in front of your television at home, DVDs, such as those produced by Virtual Active, let you “hike” through the Rockies or run around Chicago. Sightsee without leaving your home!

You, the avatar

When people think of video games, they might imagine that thumbs are the only body parts that get any exercise. But with systems, such as the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox5, gamers may be more motivated to get up and move! The device has a built-in sensor that detects how hard a person is working while using games, such as Your Shape®: Fitness Evolved or The Biggest Loser6 Ultimate Workout. That means while you follow the on-screen trainer, he or she follows you, offering up encouragement much like an in-person fitness coach.

Seeing…the future?

You may have been hearing buzz about the new wearable Google Glass7 eyeglasses. They are certainly talked about in tech circles, but they may also help give at-home exercisers a run for their money. Some hope that by projecting instructions and stats onto the wearer’s field of vision, Google Glass may offer the benefits of a plugged-in fitness session pretty much anywhere, any time without the need for a phone or other device.

It isn’t always easy to get motivated to exercise. These are just a few ways that I hope you might consider in order to make exercise more enjoyable. 

Jessica Cassity is a health reporter for SELF, Fitness, and Shape magazines, and the author of Better Each Day: 365 Expert Tips for a Healthier, Happier You. She is a Portland-based Pilates and yoga teacher, and blogs at Cassity is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor and interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

1Strava Running and Strava Cycling are trademarks of Strava, Inc.

2Android is a trademark of Google, Inc.

3PaceDJ is a trademark of Pacing Technologies, LLC.

4Expresso is a trademark of Interactive Fitness Holdings, LLC.

5Kinect and Xbox are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

6 The Biggest Loser is a trademark and copyright of NBC Studios, LLC, and Reveille, LLC.

7Google Glass is a trademark of Google, Inc.

© 2014 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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