Health hacks: our favourite performance-boosting fitness accessories.
Humans are constantly measuring their progress. We keep an eye on our social media follower count, we track growth and sales analytics at work ... as kids, we even mark our height against the doorframe as we grow taller!
These numbers help us stay on target, while allowing us to situate ourselves within the larger context of our lives. Where do we stand now compared to one year ago? How close are we to reaching a new personal best?
If you're not tapping into these insights when it comes to your health and fitness, you're seriously missing out. Accountability is one of the most powerful motivators out there, and a fitness tracker holds you accountable to the most important person in your life: yourself.
Why should I monitor my health and fitness?
Observing your wellness trends over time is the best way to paint a holistic picture of where you're at right now. Have your steps been lagging behind? It may be time to incorporate a daily walk. Is your heart rate spiking at certain times of the day? You might want to keep a close watch on what’s triggering your stress.
Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, tracking these variables is a great “first line of defense” to detect small but noteworthy changes to your body’s healthscape.
Track like a pro
Health is a complex mosaic, so you’ll need a fitness tracker that tracks every box – like the Xiaomi Smart Band 5. It all starts with understanding your sleep patterns, from how much time you’re spending in REM to the quality of your midday nap. Trying to live a healthy lifestyle without proper rest is like building a house on a rotting foundation, so monitoring your sleep is absolutely essential.
When it comes to exercise, you can snap this tracker into 11 different sports modes – including running, yoga, cycling, and jump rope – to monitor and analyze your heart rate, pace, and calories burned. If you’re tracking a swimming workout or rinsing off after a jog, don’t sweat it: this tracker is water-resistant up to 50m, so you can bring it into the pool or shower worry-free.
One of the coolest things about this tracker is its unique women's health module, which keeps tabs on the user’s menstrual cycle and sends helpful notifications throughout the month. Peace of mind at its finest!
Choose the right workout buddy
Nothing shatters your focus quite like getting tangled up in your earbuds’ errant wires. Preserve your full range of motion and keep your eyes on the prize with a pair of wireless buds – we promise you’ll never look back!
This budget-friendly model is big on bass, equipped with noise-cancelling technology and handy controls for picking up a quick phone call between sets.
Nail the cooldown
Stretching after exercise is kind of like flossing: you know it's good for you, and you know you should be doing it on the daily, but you only get around to it once in a while. If you're a chronic non-stretcher (or just someone who loves a little self-pampering), how about treating your sore muscles to a different kind of recovery?
A heated massager tackles post-workout recuperation from two key angles: applying heat to muscles promotes healthy blood flow while decreasing inflammation, and a light massage is great for stimulating the body's natural healing process. Massage also helps flush out lactic acid, which is associated with delayed onset muscle soreness. This model is designed to loosen up the neck with three different spa-worthy settings: deep kneading shiatsu massage, soothing vibration massage, or a combination of both.
If you’ve just crushed a shoulder and back workout, you’ll probably need a little more coverage. A massage pillow serves up all of the same benefits, but in this case, you’ll also deliver soothing heat and vibrations to the entire upper back area.