7 digital exercise ideas to help boost your fitness goals

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us went online for things we used to do in person, and some of the virtual versions of life are sticking, including on-demand and live-stream fitness workouts.

Thanks to technology, it may be easier for you to enjoy the benefits of a group studio class. No more commute. No more arriving early to get a good spot. An array of fitness options can now come to you, virtually anywhere and anytime.

If you’re looking for ideas to launch or switch up your exercise game, consider seven online fitness classes that may help with your wellness goals:

  1. High-intensity interval training: Commonly called a HIIT workout, high-intensity interval training is alternating short bursts of intense activity with intervals of less intense exercise. HIIT can be part of stationary cycling, treadmill running or walking routines. The health benefits of these time-efficient workouts may be as good or better than endurance training.
  2. Elliptical: This popular workout machine can be a great option for a high-calorie burn with low impact. Because running on an elliptical puts less stress on your joints, back and hips, it may be a good choice for someone who is new to online fitness, is carrying extra weight or has arthritis or knee pain. 
  3. Strength: Strength training with resistance bands or weights may help to maintain and increase muscle mass, which tends to decline with age. Strength training may also increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories and possibly shed pounds. It may also be beneficial for your joints, bone density and overall balance.
  4. Core: Your core is a group of muscles that stabilizes and controls your pelvis and spine. Core exercises train these muscles to work in harmony, while also helping to create better balance and stability. Strong core muscles can make it easier to do all kinds of physical activities and may help alleviate back pain.
  5. Yoga: Yoga classes generally emphasize physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation. The intensity of classes can vary greatly from gentle practices to physically demanding poses. Yoga may offer physical perks, such as strength, balance and flexibility, and mental benefits like improved mood and alertness.
  6. Rowing: While it might look easy, rowing can be an intense, full-body workout that boosts cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. And the more you row, the tougher you can make your workout by upping the resistance and the pace. Just remember: Posture is key, especially when you increase the intensity.
  7. Dance: Besides the calorie burn, which may be a couple of hundred calories in just 30 minutes, dance-focused exercise may strengthen your muscles and improve your balance. Plus, you might pick up a few new moves for the next time you hit a real dance floor.

If you’re looking for a way to help maximize your virtual fitness, a new program may offer a solution. Eligible UnitedHealthcare members in most states who own an Apple Watch and are enrolled in fully insured plans may now be able sign up for Apple Fitness+ and get a 12-month subscription at no additional cost. Eligible members in self-funded plans may get access to a similar offer starting in 2022. This is the first such offer for Apple Fitness+ by a health insurance plan.

For people with Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+ brings studio-style workouts and guided meditations to iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, providing the first fitness service built entirely around Apple Watch.

Besides the calorie burning or muscle building that may come with regularly participating in these online workouts, there may also be a financial benefit. When this digital exercise is part of a wellness program through your employer or health plan, you may be able to earn financial rewards for participation.

For instance, UnitedHealthcare members who have access to UnitedHealthcare Motion® can apply program earnings from meeting certain daily activity goals, which can total more than $1,000 per year*, toward an ongoing monthly subscription of Apple Fitness+ or toward the purchase of an Apple Watch. 

Check your health plan for wellness programs that may be available to you. 

*Financial incentives may be less due to limits under applicable laws.