A good training partner can make all the difference when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. They not only help to keep you motivated but also offer encouragement and advice along the way. They might even serve as a source of inspiration, pushing you to work harder and stay focused as well.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to find someone to fill that role, which is why many of us end up exercising alone. As it turns out, our best workout partner might not be another person at all; it could be the smartphones that we’re carrying with us already. Here’s why your mobile device just might be the great workout companion you didn’t know you already had.
Always Ready to Go
Finding someone who shares similar fitness goals to yours is hard enough, and coordinating your schedule to match theirs can be downright impossible at times. But your smartphone is always ready to join you on a workout, and depending on how you use alerts and calendar notifications, it might even prompt you when it’s time to hit the gym. You don’t have to worry about your phone feeling tired or canceling at the last minute, either; it’ll simply always be there, ready to go when you are.
Our smartphones are modern miracles of technology, putting endless amounts of information right at our fingertips. They are also a great source of entertainment, providing music, audiobooks, and podcasts to listen to while we work out. This can help keep you distracted while you run all of those miles or spend time on one of the machines at the gym—often providing the motivation you need to get through a tough session. Depending on the type of workout you’re doing, you might even be able to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix while you burn some calories.
Unprecedented Performance Tracking
Whether you realize it or not, your smartphone is already tracking quite a bit of information about your daily life. It knows where you go each day, what appointments are on your calendar, and who you’ll be meeting with when you get there. It even keeps track of your steps along the way and can offer suggestions for places to eat based on your personal preferences. That same data tracking can also be applied to your workouts, giving you detailed insights into how well you are performing over time. That information is even more detailed and accurate when paired with a smartwatch that has onboard GPS tracking, a heart rate monitor, and other important sensors.
There’s an app for that!
Some of the most popular apps available for smartphones are fitness oriented, so it is just a matter of finding one that appeals to you and fits well with your chosen type of workout. Strava and MapMyRide are great for runners and cyclists, for instance, whereas Pocket WOD appeals to the CrossFit crowd. These apps generally offer performance tracking, coaching tips, and helpful techniques to improve your overall level of health. They can also provide motivation in the form of social media challenges, allowing you to brag to your friends about how fast you ran that half marathon or crushed it on your latest ride.
Connect to Other Devices
As much functionality as a smartphone already has built in, those devices can prove to be even more useful when paired with others. We’ve already mentioned using your phone with a smartwatch in order to provide better tracking of performance during your workouts, but there are other health-related gadgets too. Smart scales have started to become more common for tracking weight loss or gain for instance, while Bluetooth heart rate monitors, cycling computers, and other electronic equipment can prove useful too. In these instances, the smartphone works as a hub, collecting and analyzing data and allowing you to customize your workout routine.
Long-Term Health Benefits
Both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system have apps that can help you track your health over the long term. Google Fit and Apple’s Health app are two programs that allow the user to record all kinds of important information, including what foods they’ve eaten, what medications they’re currently taking, and even how much sleep they’re getting each night. There are literally dozens of variables to track, and the records stored in the app can usually be shared directly with your doctor. This makes your smartphone a powerhouse for achieving fitness goals now and building a long-term plan for leading a healthier life down the road.
Obviously a smartphone can’t replace another human in terms of providing companionship during your workouts, but the benefits they bring to the table are undeniable. If you’re serious about getting healthy, the phone you use every day just might be the key to getting you on the right path.