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As many of us in various parts of the country still can’t go to the gym, or to our favorite exercise class, here are a few high-tech and no-tech trends and ideas that will help keep you moving.

The Computerized Workout

The “smart gym” has become more popular in recent years, and in the time of coronavirus is even more in demand. Artificial Intelligence is here to help you get fit without leaving the house or cluttering up the living room with gym equipment. Here are two that take up no space.


If you want to stream live and on-demand fitness classes into your house, this does it. It looks  like a large wall mirror but is actually an LCD screen and is operated using an app on your iPhone or Apple Watch. A Bluetooth heart rate monitor is worn around your waist and tracks your heart rate throughout the workout, as well as how many calories you have burned. A smaller image of the instructor is also onscreen with you. If you described an injury in your initial set-up your routine will be modified taking that into account. There are over 70 live classes added to the app each week including cardio, boxing, strength training, yoga, barre, Pilates, boxing, HIIT, and more. The levels range from beginner to expert. Price tag is $1,500 and $39.00 per month.


This system also sits flat on the wall but functions as a large touch screen rather than through your phone. It has fold-out side units with pulleys that are part of a digital weight system using electronics and magnets. This system offers dozens of workouts and the “personal trainer” experience. If the computer senses you are struggling with a too heavy weight it will lighten it automatically until you improve your form. It also plays your Apple Music playlist. This system will set you back $2,995 with a $49.00 monthly fee.

There are others on the market such as Echelon Reflect Touch and Tempo Studio. Cover that camera when not in use!

Free and No-Tech

HILIT (High-Intensity Low-Impact Training) 

More acronyms! First there was HIIT (High Impact Interval Training) which did burn a lot of calories, but the over-50 crowd and those with spine or joint problems found the impact too much. So HILIT is a newer version with low impact but lots of intensive strength building and cardio. Here is an example of a moderate intensity, low impact, 20 minute workout.

What is Functional Fitness?

This is fitness that helps you function in daily life. The thinking is that doing bicep curls with a 10lb. weight is not a motion we do much except in the gym. The same is true of many of the motions repeated using weight machines. Functional Fitness seeks to build strength, flexibility, and balance by combining exercises that challenge groups of muscles rather than isolating just one. This is to help us better navigate our daily activities with improved strength and without injury. 

The basic Functional Fitness exercises involve:

  • squats
  • lunges
  • side to side glide
  • knees up marching
  • overhead arm stretches

This will help us in daily life when we are: 

  • Getting up out of a low seat or off the floor
  • Pushing open a heavy door
  • Lifting grocery bags, or putting luggage in the overhead
  • Climbing stairs
  • Hauling a toddler out of a car seat!
  • Bending and crouching to pull weeds and do other yard/house work

Here is a Functional Fitness video to get you started. I just learned about this and it really helps with stretching!

Inspiration for Exercise in the Great Outdoors

  • Go for trail hikes in small and large parks and wetlands.
  • Do your Functional Fitness outdoors or a chi gung or tai chi practice.
  • Try SUP- Stand-Up Paddling. Don’t lock your knees!
  • Start roller skating or rollerblading, it’s a great low impact exercise.
  • How about canoeing on a quiet lake or through epic whitewater?
  • Challenge yourself with a surfing lesson.

I’d really like to hear from you and what you’re doing to stay in shape and stay healthy.

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