Weighty matters: smart-home gyms can take off all those extra pounds following a season of overindulgence
Five options that makes exercising at home as painless and convenient as possible
The Christmas feasting is done and dusted, and the hangover hopefully abating. Through the fog, you might just be feeling the nudge of the “guilt trip” that invariably follows the season of overindulgence.
With all those New Year’s resolutions floating around – and being healthier invariably near the top – we’ve rounded up some clever kit to make exercising at home as painless and convenient as possible.
1. SmartMat yoga mat. This intelligent yoga mat doubles as a personal trainer in your living room. The first time you use your SmartMat it takes you through movements to calibrate your body shape, size and personal limitations. Via sensors linked to a smartphone or tablet, the mat will guide you through a series of audio and visual cues, telling you if you are doing the pose the right way, and advising on corrections. The mat will teach the user new types of yoga poses via custom lessons, recording their workout with personalised feedback. The SmartMat is rollable and portable, shipping worldwide.
2. Move It personal gym. It took a Hong Kong team to come up with a space-saving connected fitness device that turns any 3x3m space into a home gym. The app-connected Move It is a four-in-one exercise machine, covering basic cardio and muscle training needs with an ab wheel, jump rope, push up stands and resistance band. Sensors in the handles identify the type of activity you’re doing, and via the app, professional fitness coaches materialise to provide real-time voice guidance. Users can find “workout buddies” to keep them motivated, and participate in team or one-on-one challenges.
3. Weight loss companion. Beyond displaying your weight, the Smart Body Analyser from Withings provides full-body fitness analysis and feedback. This scale records data, coaches towards set goals, and rewards achievements (not with a chocolate bar). The trend screen shows the previous eight weigh-ins – so you won’t be discouraged by one ‘bad’ day – while the Health Mate app tracks daily nutrition intake and helps you stay focused on goals. This device helps users to understand the numbers – explaining why their weight fluctuates.
4. Treadmill desk. Not everyone’s a fan. But considering 36 per cent of Hongkongers work part of the week from home (according to a study by Regus), and many more bring work home, why rule it out? Here’s the thing: walking at the restricted pace a treadmill desk may not feel like it’s achieving much, but those hours add up. Long and slow is said to be better for our overall health than short but vigorous bouts of physical activity – although experts advise we do both.
Among the many brands out there, the NextDesk Fit is stylish enough that you wouldn’t mind having it in your living room. Minimalist in design, it informs you of your activity (tracking steps, calories, distance and time) via a digital display, and is Bluetooth enabled so the data can be synched to your smartphone.
Perhaps pedalling while you work appeals more? Cycli is a portable exercise bike which sits under your regular desk, connecting via Bluetooth to your iOS or Android device to track your reps and calories burned.
5. Eat right: We’ve long been told that eating too much, and/or too quickly, can lead to weight gain. HAPIfork is a Bluetooth-enabled smart fork designed to help modify eating behaviour. This hi-tech eating utensil measures the number of times the fork is placed in a person’s mouth per minute, the intervals between fork servings, and how long it takes to finish a meal. When eating too fast, HAPIfork gently vibrates and flashes indicator lights to encourage slowing down (video). The data collected can then be uploaded to a smartphone or other device to track progress; helping to keep resolutions going all year. The software includes a 15-day coaching programme incorporating daily meal plan, nutrition and fitness tips and motivational social games.