While exercise can be work, health and fitness tech can make it fun. Tech can even encourage you to be productive and reach your goals. Outdoor exercise is especially appealing when it’s a gorgeous and sunny or cool and refreshing day.
Over the past few years, I have been exercising daily. When it comes to the outdoors, that usually includes street and trail walks all year ‘round. During the favourable seasons, I might do short hikes and bike rides. I may also enjoy a game of soccer, basketball, or tossing a baseball around with my son in the backyard. Depending on the activity, there’s plenty of tech that can make the experience even more fun. That includes whether you’re with others or exercising solo.
Wireless earbuds and sports headphones
I never step outside for a walk without a good pair of true wireless earbuds. You’ll want a pair that fits securely in the ears and a transparency mode to let in outside noises when desired. This might be used while you’re running a trail early in the morning or late at night on your own. Or conversely, when you’re walking through bustling streets so you can clearly hear cars and other important sounds, like an ambulance going by.
I have a go-to downloaded walking/running playlist. But sometimes, I use wireless data to access streaming tunes from a favourite service to keep things consistently fresh. Some people love listening to podcasts instead. Music or other audio can help motivate you to walk (or run) faster and keep a steady pace. It also helps the time go by as you bop or sing along, or become engrossed in a gripping audio interview.
Need even more motivation? Some fitness platforms, like Apple and Fitbit, have special walking, running, and hiking workouts. These include audio guidance that can make the experience fun and interactive.
Alternatively, some people prefer open-ear headphones that allow you to remain acutely aware of your surroundings at all times. They secure neatly over your head or around your neck and sit on your ears. There are also bone conduction headphones that rest on your neck while the sound still feels like it’s being played right in your ears.
Smartwatch or fitness tracker
Another “don’t leave home without it” piece of tech for my outdoor exercise is a fitness tracker or smartwatch. Use it to log the specific activity you’re doing to get a summary at the end (and track data in real time). This might include how far you walked or ran, how many calories you burned, and what your heart rate was throughout. Some wearable platforms include a wide variety of specific activities and sports from which to choose, like frisbee, skiing, snowboarding, and Tai Chi. This means you can look back through the app to see exactly what you did and when, a fun way to relive your outdoor exercise while also seeing what gets your heart rate going the most or burns the most calories.
Plus, these devices keep track of your steps, distance, heart rate, sleep, and other important stats, 24/7. Some can store and play music directly so you can leave your smartphone at home. Serious runners will appreciate the option to get rid of the excess weight.
If you like to run, hike, or cycle and explore different terrains, you’ll want to invest in a GPS smartwatch. Why? These will track your route so you can save it and go back to replicate or try something new the next time. This can also help you find your way back home if you get lost. Some even have safety features related to GPS so loved ones can locate you in case of emergency. There are wearables with built-in GPS, which can be used on their own and ones with connected GPS, which means they use your phone’s GPS to log the data, and you need to have the phone with you for it to work.
Heart rate monitor
Most wearables nowadays can track 24/7 heart rate, but some serious fitness enthusiasts opt for a dedicated heart rate monitor instead (or as well) to get the most accurate reading possible. Whether you’re running, doing yoga in the park, enjoy snow sports, or playing a game of squash, a heart rate monitor can provide an accurate reading you can cross reference with your tracker. Strap this on and see how the data compares to your fitness tracker or smartwatch. You can also ensure that you aren’t over-exerting yourself or, conversely, when you need to kick things up a notch to reach your peak and target heart rate zones.
If you’re into cycling, you might love having a cycling computer mounted to the bike. Use it to keep track of your routes, and even follow along with others as you ride. These GPS devices typically mount to the handlebars of a bicycle and track altimeter and even data like recovery time, hydration, and training status.
Most importantly, however, they can display specific trail content. You can not only track the ride but also choose trails in unfamiliar territories based on a preview of the route. If you’re riding with a group, connect to others as well so everyone can keep track of riders should someone pull ahead or fall behind.
Speaking of cycling, you can make your rides even more fun and adventurous with an electric bicycle. Go further, faster thanks to the extra boost of power they provide. You can also scale larger hills and tackle more challenging terrain, kicking in the electric power when you need it. One of the many reasons an electric bike is fun is that you can find the perfect ebike for you to suit the terrain you want to ride in,, whether it’s back country at your cottage or urban city roads at home.
With an electric bike, you don’t have to worry about being able to keep up with the neighbourhood riders. Kick in the electric boost if you’re getting tired or can’t pedal up that hill and keep going. Our electric bike buying guide will tell you everything you need to know about electric bikes.
Electric scooter and hoverboards
For casual riding, consider an electric scooter, or hoverboard which will instantly make you feel like a kid again. You might even want to strap on your backpack and running shoes and hop on one to get to work each day, replacing your car or a brisk walk. You’ll have fun and it’ll put you in a good mood, which always help your productivity. Learn more about electric scooters in our electric scooter buying guide and learn how to ride a hoverboard safely with our list of tips.
Smart jump ropes
Jump ropes are best used outside unless, like me, you have a pair of cordless jump ropes that simulate the act of jumping rope without the actual cord. Those are great for indoor cardio but you can’t do all those fun tricks!
Did you know that there are actually high-tech jump ropes? These have small screens on the handle that can track data like your revolutions and jump counts and upload that to a companion app. They also include features like timers and number countdowns. Connected jump ropes can make the experience super fun. Challenge yourself to beat personal goals, even jump rope with others in the community and compare stats in the app.
Make outdoor exercise fun
Outdoor exercise is always fun, but with the right health and fitness tech, it can be even more fun while also productive. When using the right tech, the time will fly by and before you know it, you’ve burned 200 calories, worked up a sweat, and have been smiling from ear-to-ear the entire time.
Check out plenty of fitness tech for the outdoors at Best Buy Online.