Staying active in the middle of a pandemic isn’t easy, but when you’re stuck at home most of the time, it’s even more important. If you’re like me, the mild discomfort you feel when working out around strangers (and, you know – the pandemic) means your physical activity options are limited. Luckily, exercise doesn’t have to take place at the gym! Whether you work out in the comfort of your home, go for a walk or take a bike ride around your neighborhood, you’ve got options. Here are some products that will help you get started.
Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT Treadmill
I’ve always loved using a treadmill but never liked going to a gym and feeling self-conscious to do it. The 7.8 AT Treadmill from Horizon Fitness allows you to do it all from home, at your own pace. You can use the built-in workouts like My 1st 5K, Hill Climb, and Manual, or you can connect your phone or tablet via bluetooth and stream your favorite fitness app. With integrated speakers, USB charging, and a fairly secure, dedicated area to place your mobile device, you can tailor your workout to your preferences. Rather watch Netflix while you walk? The choice is yours!
The Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT Treadmill is a solid choice for plus size people, with an extra-large 22×60 shock-absorbing deck for running and a max user weight of 375. I’m a big guy and I’ve hit it hard as I’ve started the 5k training program. The 7.8 takes everything I throw at it in stride. Best of all, I can fold it up and move it around my studio as needed, so it is never in the way.
All the tech options and performance features aside, what I’ve appreciated most about the 7.8 AT is the fact that it gives me an option to safely stay active at my own pace, and without any of the self-consciousness I felt when using treadmills at the gym. The Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT retails for $1999.
I’m an analytics nerd. I use apps that track the places I travel to, even the different types of beer I drink! Activity tracking is just one of the many reasons the Apple Watch has become a device I didn’t realize I couldn’t live without. You can track how many steps you’ve taken, how long of a bike ride you just finished, even how many laps you did in the pool. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The default Workout app can track just about any activity you do, indoor or outdoor. Dancing, hiking, yoga, strength training, badminton, kickboxing, even table tennis – the list goes on and on. The app helps reinforce the point that activity should be fun by offering to track just about anything you might like to do.
The Apple Watch Series 6 does everything from take phone calls and control your home automation, to track your heart rate and generate an electrocardiogram. I find that wearing the watch helps keep me active (there are programmable prompts to stand, focus on breathing, and exercise) in ways that I enjoy.
Staying active can be as simple as getting out and going for a walk around your neighborhood. Sometimes, having a little inspiration can help you out. Strava is an app that offers that in spades, as a social network for activity that not only allows you to record your activity, but gives you access to new routes in your area and challenges connected to them.
I use Strava to track my routes when I’m riding my bike. It shows where I’ve been, how far I went, and popular stretches of road or trail that other Strava users frequent, called Segments. You can use Segments to challenge yourself to beat someone else’s time, or to simply track your own progress. The great thing about Strava is that you can be as competitive as you want, with yourself or others.
Another really cool thing about Strava is the Clubs section. There, you’ll find clubs started by people around the world that focus on cycling, running, triathlon, walking, swimming and more. Anybody can start a club – you’ll find microbrewery clubs, cycling brand clubs, even themed clubs (beards & bikes, anyone?) on Strava. In fact, I just started the Chubstr Plus Size Bike Club this morning. You should join!
You can join Strava for free and get most of the things I mentioned above, or you can subscribe ($7.99/mo or $60/year) and get activity analysis, route planning, goal setting, and Beacon, which shares your location in realtime with anyone you’d want contacted in case of an emergency. Strava integrates with your phone, Apple Watch, and a ton of other smart devices.
After a bad experience with a cheap bike from a big box store, I stopped riding altogether for about 15 years. Then, I found out about Zize Bikes, a company making bikes specifically for bigger people. Company founder Joan Denizot started Zize after she realized that nobody was making bikes that were safe for a person of her size. Zize Bikes are engineered to support riders up to 550 lbs.
Zize Bikes are made with wider tires, stronger spokes, comfortable, yet stable seats, and chrome moly frames for extra support. Looking for a commuter? A mountain bike? Even a trike? They’ve got it. I’ve been riding the A New Leaf 2.0 hybrid for the last year and I love it. Having the option to switch on the electric motor when taking on big hills or difficult terrain can take away some of the intimidation people might feel after having not ridden a bike in a long time. I know it made a big difference for me.
Once you get a bike from Zize, you’ll be set for life. I can’t imagine needing another bike now that I have this one. It makes riding fun again. Take a look at the recently upgraded A New Leaf 3.0 and their newest model, the beastly looking YONDER. Bikes range from $1000 to $6650 depending on configuration.
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