Hi-tech fitness

The future gadgets that will help you get fit and healthy

Technology makes staying fit easier, there’s no doubt about it. Whether you wear a tracker on your wrist to monitor your heart rate and calorie burn, or use an app to track running or cycling sessions, there are clear benefits for tooling up before you work out. With fitness trackers still only in their infancy, and technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence quickly improving, the future of fitness gadgets will take these simple apps and trackers to a whole new level.

AI personal trainers

(Image credit: VI trainer)

With digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant already in the devices we carry around with us every day, it was only a matter of time until fitness-focused AI gained momentum. Artificial personal trainers, like the Vi neckband, allow users to get personalised
workouts, live data about their heart rate and pace, and high-quality audio all in one device.
The voice of the Vi will push you to beat your personal best, tell you if you’re running a little slower than normal, and check whether you want to stop your workout when you get tired.

The device learns more about you every day by tracking your workouts and measuring improvements. You can wear the neckband all day too, listening to music and making phone calls wirelessly when you’re not exercising. As this kind of technology becomes smaller and more portable, these smart workout assistants will only get better, but the Vi is a great start.

Staying fit with VR

VR headsets might have a huge part to play in the future of fitness, allowing users to feel like
they’re playing a game, while staying fit at the same time. When paired with a system like the
Icaros, this ‘gameification’ of fitness becomes all the more exciting. This kit makes users feel like they’re flying, and as you lean in different directions your whole body will move around you. Paired with a VR headset, this experience feels even more real. But what makes the system so good is that it works out a number of muscles without you even realising. Balancing on the system requires a strong core, and after a few minutes on the Icaros you’ll soon start to feel the burn in your abs, shoulders and quads. Soon VR headsets may also be paired with smart treadmills that measure our speed and adapt their speed to match our movement.

Exercise-powered gyms

Green energy is key to the survival of our planet, and every little helps. That’s why some gyms are setting up their exercise equipment to capture the energy created by people working out, and using it to cut down on their electricity bill. At the moment this is mainly used on elliptical machines, but there’s no real reason why the technology couldn’t also be used on cross-training, rowing and cycling machines in the future. The devices are set up with a power converter and all plug into a central power unit, which can then be used to power other parts of the gym. With exercise in gyms becoming more and more popular, this seems like a great way to cut down on a little energy consumption.

Inside a future hi-tech gym

This article was originally published in How It Works issue 97, written by Stephen Ashby 

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