With social distancing being the new normal, there is technology readily available to help us all remain active and stay connected. If you haven’t already thought of them, these four suggestions may be helpful.
Whether you’re working from home or home from school, one excellent way to connect with coworkers, family and friends is to take advantage of video conferencing tools. A variety of video chat solutions are available via social media or free video conferencing services. Using tools such as Skype, iOS FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger are easy, free ways to hold that phone conversation while also using video to see the person you’re connected to. Another cool app helping people stay busy is House Party. It lets you video with up to 8 people and even allows the group to play games (like Chips and Guac) with each other.
Video conferencing, using any of the above-mentioned tools, can be enjoyed with virtually any smart phone, tablet, computer or laptop. If helping someone who is older get on the video chat bandwagon, then there are devices such as Facebook Portal and Echo Show that can remain on a counter and intuitively connect you to anyone via video chat.
For business, solutions such as FreeConference and Zoom, allow anyone to schedule conference calls and video chat with ease. The best part is the entry-level option is free. For those needing more options, an upgrade to the more premium service can be done for a reasonable monthly fee.
Full-body and virtual gaming
An excellent way to pass the time when stuck in the house (practicing social distancing) whether alone or with family, is to engage in full-body gaming. Started a few years ago by the Nintendo Wii Fit and continued with solutions such as the Xbox Kinect, many of today’s video games now offer virtual reality options for a full immersion experience. Compatible with PlayStation VR or Oculus platforms, the Oculus Quest headset allows gamers to get off the couch and get into the action. Similarly, the Vive Cosmos series puts gamers directly in the action. These VR systems can be played alone or with a team of others, and helps us feel not so isolated.
Social media offers more than memes and breaking news. Between Facebook Live workout sessions from your favorite gym or Yoga time with your instructor on Instagram, there are folks out there innovatively helping you stay physically and mentally fit. If none of those social media workout options interest you, you can always participate in a quick and fun pushup challenge: See 10/Do 10. Drop and give them 10 (on your Story) and then nominate a friend!
If it’s in your budget, Peloton (is one of the recent pioneers marrying exercise equipment with interactive apps designed to engage and motivate during a workout. The Peloton Bike helps anyone get their spinning class in, complete with an encouraging instructor and thumping music. The treadmill offers the same experience but with additional strength and cardio classes.
Not to be outdone, NordicTrack offers treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and strength training equipment along with a streaming service designed to get anyone motivated. Their iFit membership gives the user a variety of instructors tailored to whatever fitness goals suit you.
For those not yet ready for the Peloton or NordicTrack experience, the Apple TV device offers a myriad of fitness apps that are easy to download and view on your television. Choices include DailyBurn, with yoga and Pilates options, and Beachbody on Demand, featuring challenging, intense workouts.
Movie night together, even if you’re apart
Because movie night with a house full of friends is out, Netflix Party is in. This Google Chrome extension allows groups of friends to convene virtually in order to watch Netflix titles on their computers simultaneously. The extension also features a chat room, so you and your friends are able to share comments as you watch the show. All that’s needed is a Google Chrome browser, a Netflix subscription and a visit to netflixparty.com.
No matter which option you choose, at least one of the above-mentioned options can do wonders to help you stay connected and feel less isolated. Do you have any helpful tips? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.