Fitness and technology these days is becoming increasingly aligned. As such, it is important for modern gyms to embrace more high tech equipment in order to persuade people to keep on going there, rather than deflecting to a more tech-savvy competitor that has the latest equipment.
In the near future, gyms with cryochambers and virtual reality equipment could become a common sight. These include the Spivi studio, where spinning enthusiasts could race one another by tracking their progress on a big screen.
Here are some high-tech gym features that could become commonplace in the next say, five to ten years.
Taking ice baths are becoming increasingly common amongst athletes to aid muscle recovery and reduce inflammation after a hard workout or a race. I still remember one of the earlier editions of the Sundown Marathon in Singapore, which had featured trash cans converted into ice baths for athletes to soak themselves in. This was quite popular.
Gyms could therefore feature such technology with the introduction of cryochambers. In a cryochamber, temperatures can go as low as minus 135 degrees C, as compared to a standard ice bath where the temperature is about five degrees C. This means that sitting in the cryochamber for just three minutes, could possibly reap the same benefits as a 20 minute ice bath.
Having such technology easily at their disposal, is great after hard gym sessions for athletes, who may want to reduce soreness in their muscles so that they can feel good to do another exercise session the following day.
With a Rope Trainer machine, it will be a great upper body exercise. This is because you can easily strengthen the muscles in your back, shoulders, arms and core, simply by pulling the rope in all directions, that is, left, right, up, down and even diagonally. At the same time too, such a rope should preferably be made of a material that is gentle enough on the hands and easy to grip, so that it will not hurt fitness enthusiasts who are using it for long periods of time.
As well, this machine would be built with a sliding carriage to enable flexibility and an electronic display will also show the key stats of your workout, such as your time, distance, speed and calories burned.
Jacob’s Ladder is a cardio machine with ladder type rungs that moves according to your speed. It has a diagonal structure that lets you do cardio exercises in addition to running.
Most gym equipment today comes with fixed speeds, resistance and elevation that you need to set prior to your workout. But the Jacobs Ladder allows you to set your own pace as you are working out and the machine will respond to your pace and speed. If you take short steps, it will automatically slow down and if you take long strides, it will speed up.
The Jacob’s Ladder is currently being used by professional football teams, FBI and military personnel, but it may soon become a part of standard gym equipment within the next few years.
Air 300 Squat Machine
This machine allows you to perform low impact squats at high speeds. It is thumb operated and the resistance controls are positioned at the end of the handgrips to give improved stability when exercising.
At the same time, there is a range limited precautionary feature put into play, so that you will not have injuries and strain to your knees and ligaments, yet can perform high intensity exercises without the additional weights of traditional squat machines. Having these precautions are good because it prevents people from over-exercising and winding up injured and out of action for prolonged periods of time.
Self Powered Treadmills
This treadmill is meant to replicate the outdoor running experience as it does not have a set pace and speed that you set; rather, you run and the treadmill belt will move in accordance to your body’s pace and speed. With a curved surface and frictionless belt, it can also burn 30 per cent more calories than motorised treadmills that have become the mainstay at most gyms across the world.
Some self powered treadmills have an additional feature too; these convert your kinetic movement into energy that is sent back into the electrical system to power the treadmill.
I have tried one of these treadmills before, at the Virgin Active gym in Singapore, and they take some getting used to, if you are accustomed to the motorised treadmills. It is quite easy to slip off these as you are getting the hang of the treadmill, but once you are used to the movement and sensation, I think that it makes for some rather interesting running that is certainly different to working out on the standard treadmills. However it is still not completely the same as running outdoors, unfortunately.
This looks and works like an activity tracker, but it can also do so much more. The wellness key at any machine at Technogyms and can show your full workout programme including the sequence of exercises that you need to complete.
As well, if the equipment that you normally use is not available, then it is also smart enough to make adjustments to your workout programme and alter your prescribed exercises, if a certain piece of equipment is not available for use. So such devices can be quite flexible, too.
This is a virtual cycling competition where you can compete against others in your spinning class. Your workout is projected in a race simulation type programme onto a large screen and you can see your progress against everyone else in the class. This can be used to track your fitness progress over time.
I have tried a similar type of technology at an Athlete Lab indoor cycling class in Singapore, and I must say that it is quite interesting to experience. The virtual reality aspect of the session can make you feel that you are cycling on a renowned cycling course around the world, with the elevation to match, such as possibly the Tour de France. As well, everyone is represented by an avatar and you can see how fast or slow you are moving in comparison to the others. But it has a downside; sometimes though it can feel a bit depressing, if you are amongst the back of the pack!
Position adjusting eliptical machine
This machine would be able to sense your movement and in turn, would adjust its stride depending on whether you are walking vertically, running or sprinting. As such, training efforts become more optimised and your calorie expenditure will be equivalent to your perceived effort.
The feature thus allows you to alternate between workouts, such as hard sessions versus easy endurance cardio based workouts. I think that this is good, because it is not right to do hard sessions every day and sometimes, easy sessions may turn out harder than intended. So this allows you to focus more on your training, and work out according to the intensity level that you are targeting for the day.
These are basically smart suits that measure body fat, body mass index, temperature and lactic acid and use the readings to help your body achieve an ideal balance when you are exercising at the gym. For example if your body is very warm, then the suit will help to cool it down, or if you are producing a lot of lactic acid, then the suit can emit oxygen rich air to clear the lactic acid.
Such smart technology in turn, allows you to exercise more safely and for a longer period of time.
This article has been brought to you by Fitness Boutique, a gym in North London, England.