Get in Shape: 6 Fitness Products to Improve Your Workout
Ever since the Fitbit totally revolutionized my approach to being active, I’ve been more than just a little curious about other fitness products and how they can impact a workout. We spoke with founder of The WellNecessities, Lisa Hayim, MS, RD, a Pilates Mat instructor whose master’s degree is in nutrition and exercise physiology, about her top fitness gear picks.
1. Foam rollers
More like foam rollers, 2.0. “By now you have heard of the foam roller and its ability to painfully help with muscle recovery, but chances are you haven’t heard of the new HyperIce Vyper,” says Hayim. “This is the new cutting-edge fitness and recovery roller that uses pressure and vibration to improve the body’s overall performance. It’s excellent for self-massage, warm up and to work on tight muscles in order to improve your body’s physical capabilities and prevent injury.” Not sure what moves to try? Check out the 5 exercise moves that saved Nate Lawrie’s NFL career.
“If you’re a runner, chances are you want to improve your performance and track your personal metrics,” says Hayim. Yes. Yes, we do. “RunScribe is a tiny pod that sits on your shoe that gives you a 3D view of how you’re running — your foot’s pronation, your stride length, your pace, your foot strike time, and a ton of other mechanisms that affect how you run.” This kind of helpful info can help you train smarter and avoid injury. A not so fun stat: Up to 65% of runners are injured on any given year, according to RunScribe’s website.
3. X Bands
“These resistance bands are easy to travel with, and come in a variety of different strengths and sizes for working different body parts. A meta-analysis of many studies has shown that participation in resistance training positively affects sports performance,” says Hayim. “The founder of X Bands has over 11 years in the military and created his own bands after doing years of resistance training on his own and wanting to expand his resistance band collections. The main advantage of resistance bands is they progressively accumulate tension. As a result, the muscles have to work harder and more intensely to slow down the ‘resistance.’ Compared to traditional weights, this results in a faster gain in strength and muscle mass.”
4. Spiky Massage Balls
Bye bye, Mr. Tension. “Spiky Massage Balls are perfect for massage and sensory therapy. These spiky massage balls ease away tension and release muscles throughout the body,” suggests Hayim. “It is a great tool for self-myofascial release. Myofascial release, also known as trigger point therapist, is a type of massage technique that focuses on pain believed to come from the myofascial tissues, which are the tough membranes that wrap around and connect your muscles. The research shows that performing self-myofascial release may increase range of motion, improve power, and reduce muscular fatigue by enhancing blood flow.”
5. Shakti Mat
“I simply cannot pry myself away from this mat! This Shakti Mat is an awesome acupressure mat,” says Hayim. “Some studies suggest that acupressure can be effective at preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which helps speed up muscle recovery. The mat is designed to help back pain, by encouraging circulation, muscle recovery, and muscle relaxation. It’s a lot less painful than it looks, and the release of muscle tension is immediate.” So lie back, relax, and prepare yourself for happier muscles.
6. Pilates Magic Circle
Pilates newbie? It’s OK. This fancy-sounding exercise method is surprisingly straightforward: Focusing on the core region, the exercise technique uses low-impact flexibility moves along with strength training. “The Pilates Magic Circle adds resistance into Pilates workouts. With the ring, you can target the upper body, the core, or the lower body, depending on where it is placed (between the arms or between the legs),” explains Hayim. “When the body puts pressure on the ring, it may trigger difficulty balancing. Here, the weaker core muscles are responding and getting the higher level of attention they need. This circle is light and easy to travel with, and instantly turns a regular Pilates workout up a notch.”
Follow Perri on Twitter @66PerriStreet.