Thanks to the pandemic, the pace of at-home fitness innovation has clearly accelerated over the past several months. Products like Apple Fitness+, a new, rotating Peloton and countless screen-based workout platforms are just a few examples.
But even with all those launches, the fitness cupboard was hardly bare at this week's virtual Consumer Electronics Show, which showcased not only some excellent at-home fitness tech, but also promising releases for shaping up (wait for it) outside.
Here are some eye-catching trends and items with the potential to have a big impact on your fitness ambitions in the coming year.
It's CES, so of course there are loads of new audio options. But the ones that most catch our attention from a fitness perspective are Bose's new Sport Open Earbuds, which stand out by not going inside your ears, but rather sitting right on top. OpenAudio tech keeps the tunes flowing with a more natural listening experience that still allows you to hear your running or cycling friends — not to mention the horn of that truck barreling through a red light.
Not one but two new home-based innovations are focused on smoother movement. First is Taiwan's Wondercise, which syncs with both the Apple Watch and Garmin wearables, offers a wide range of expert-led classes and distinguishes itself with Motion Matching technology. A tracker band and proprietary algorithms combine to compare your posture, pace and movements to an on-screen trainer, adjust your score accordingly and gamefy the whole affair.
The second innovation is a bit more of an Easter egg. The Samsung Health Smart Trainer is built into most the brand's new QLED and Neo QLED TVs. It features video and interactive training via voice control, plus the ability to count reps, estimate calories burned and, critically, monitor your posture and form to offer feedback like a personal trainer might.
A Smarter Face Mask
The AirPop Active Plus, coming to the UK next month at a cost of about 150 pounds, has a bit more going on than most face masks. That little disc called the Halo pairs with an app on your smartphone to monitor your own breathing habits and also pollutants around you. TMI? Possibly. But it just might be worth it if helps you figure out which of your running routes have the cleanest, safest air.
The utility of the Apple Watch sinks the moment your hands aren't really free — or are otherwise comprised by movement or sweat, like when you're running, biking or lifting weights — a problem the Mudra Band seeks to solve. Drawing its name from the word for a symbolic or ritual gesture or pose in some Eastern religions, the band uses sensors to lets you control the watch with finger movements rather than taps. The GIF above kinda says it all, and the accessibility applications are exciting, too.
While it may not be as sexy, another product called ArcX boasts a wider range of uses — and doesn't require an Apple Watch. It's a little silicone ring that can sit on your finger or, say, the handlebars of your mountain bike. The ring features a little joystick that, via Bluetooth pairing, becomes a remote control for action cameras, wireless speakers or your phone — even when it's safely stashed in your pocket as you schuss down a ski slope. The ArcX will be available in May for $99.
A Dirt-Cheap Tracker
At $99.99, Amazon's Halo Band is cheap. But Huawei's new Honor Band 6 is coming soon to the US at a fraction of that price: around $35. It's a heck of a deal for a fitness tracker with a 1.47-inch AMOLED touchscreen, two weeks of battery life and NFC connectivity for on-the-go payments. Oh, you also get 10 workout modes, heart-rate monitoring, remote music playback and more.
A Slick New Fitness App
What if MasterClass, but for fitness? That's the question this new app seeks to answer by recruiting the likes of CrossFit star Kara Saunders, celeb trainer Kris Gethin and fitness model David Morin to lead its video-based classes. The platform's biotracking is integrated into the Apple Watch, enabling you to track metrics like heart rate and calories burned during various workouts. Ultrahuman also boasts yoga, mindfulness and sleep programming for those who favor a more holistic approach.