Jesse Popp, special to Nvate
Using the Internet to improve lifestyle habits is nothing new. Smokers who take the prescription medication Chantix receive emails and daily affirmations from the maker to add support to the user’s non-smoking program. This practice is several years old.
People seeking recipes for healthy diet meals only need to search Google and they’ll get a million results. The Internet is an incubator for change and change is endless. The following are five new ways the Internet is used for people to become more healthy and more fit.
Branded Gym Workouts and Streaming Fitness Classes
Whether it is a cult exercise studio with a large underground following or a fitness studio that employs or has a celebrity trainer as the owner, fee memberships for online classes are quickly becoming a popular way for followers to reach sessions. Rates per class are lower than in-person attendance and are one popular model that fee-for-class gyms and studios use. The other payment method is a monthly fee for unlimited access. This is great for consumers with Internet access as they can “go to a session” wherever they are as long as there is an Internet connection.
FitnessGlo and Virtual Gym TV have Internet classes and monthly fees range from $8 to $12.
Taking the online experience one-step further, many gyms, Pilate studios, yoga studios, and independent producers have enhanced the online experience with streaming HD videos. Visit gaiamtv.com, for example, and you will find Pilates and scores of other streaming fitness classes. Watching the streaming videos recreates the sensation of being in the room with the instructor.
Personal Training Online
No one argues that attending branded workouts and streaming workouts with a favorite role model or celebrity trainer is not motivating. However, what if you could afford a personal trainer? The Internet makes it possible. Web MD estimates the average hourly cost of a personal trainer is $50 at home or at a gym training. Using a trainer over the Internet starts at $10 per week, as seen on FitForBit.com. Recent surveys of consumers show that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed would like to use a personal trainer, but can’t afford one. Using a virtual trainer is an absolute game changer.
Shorter Workouts, More Often
A study by the University of New Hampshire concluded that shorter workouts done at least twice daily are more effective than one long workout. Instructors of one women’s gym that streams fitness classes online believes that they will need to offer more shorter classes as this type of regimen works better for busy people. With each of the shorter classes no longer than 10 minutes, fitting them into a busy lifestyle is easier than finding an hour to spend in the gym plus travel time.
There’s An App for That
Mobihealth News reported that the market research company Abiresearch says that by 2016, the market for fitness apps that works on smartphones and mobile devices would grow from the reported $12 million market in 2010 to more than $400 million in 2016. This means that over the next three years there will be almost one billion downloads to smart devices. According to the Huffington Post, these apps have a high success rate and if physicians began to suggest them, the market for health and diet apps may explode even more.
My Fitness Pal is a free app for iPhone and Android devices that synchronizes with the user’s account on the My Fitness Pal website. It allows users to log their food and drink intake as part of their diet regimen. Fitness Buddy is an iPhone or iPad app that costs 99 cents. Reviewers at CNet call it the “Swiss army knife” of fitness apps as it has over 1,000 exercises that work every muscle in your body. It also has 45 full workouts for improving specific parts of your body such as chest, butt, and arms.
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