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In this blog, we'll teach you how to use devices you likely already own (your smartwatch or mobile phone) to record indoor workouts. We'll walk you through how to upload these activities to Strava so that you can benefit from tracking trends and progress over time.
I don’t have a fancy device to record indoor workouts
You don’t need an expensive fitness device to record your indoor workouts, in fact you probably already have the tools you need. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, we're about to walk you through how to use what’s readily available to you to record and track your activities on Strava.
I don’t think my indoor workouts are worth tracking on Strava
There are plenty of reasons (besides 's) you should track your indoor workouts on Strava. The primary reason is that these activities contribute to the big picture of your fitness journey and by excluding them you’re missing out on tracking progress towards your personal goals as well as valuable insights into your training. There are also a bunch of features that you’ll benefit from:
If you need some extra inspiration to record when you’re active, check out our blog on Recording All The Things!
Demos of those features in use
Most of us have a smartphone, and most smart phones can support fitness apps. Mobile apps allow you to easily record the elapsed time of an indoor workout. However, if you’re looking to record additional data like heart rate, cadence, distance, etc, you will likely need to pair the corresponding sensors. If this interests you, make sure to read part 04 of this blog!
Strava for iOS or Android
The Strava mobile app can record a wide variety of activities—including indoor workouts. You can check out a full list here. If you don’t see your activity listed, don’t worry because you can always use the inclusive “Workout” category.
And if you don’t have a heart rate monitor to help measure how hard you worked, you can always use Perceived Exertion. This feature lets you manually record how intense your efforts feel on a 1-10 scale ranging from “Easy” to “Max Effort.” What’s great about tracking this type of data is that it can supplement or stand in for your heart rate data and that means you can still use features like Relative Effort, Fitness & Freshness, and Fitness.
Even if you prefer to use other fitness apps to record your activity, there is usually an easy way to get them to Strava. Most popular fitness apps offer a direct syncing integration by connecting your accounts. Below is a list of popular fitness apps that let you record indoor activities and sync directly to Strava:
Hot Tip: HealthFit is an integration that can sync any activity from Apple Health to Strava. So if you can get the workout into Apple Health, you can get it to Strava!
If you have a smartwatch, you can likely use it to record indoor workouts. Below we cover a few of the most simple/straightforward options, but it's important to note there are a variety of watches, apps, and syncing services that can be used to accomplish recording/syncing to Strava.
The Apple Watch comes with a native workout app, which is very simple to use. It has a ton of sport types, records heart rate, and calculates estimated calories burned. It even reminds you to record an activity if it senses you’re working out. If you’re unfamiliar with the app, take a look through Apple’s article on using the Workout app.
To get those activities to Strava, all you have to do is connect your Strava and Apple Health accounts and future activities will be synced automatically. You can find instructions on how to do so here.
Note: There are a variety of other fitness apps you can use to record workouts on your Apple Watch, including the Strava app. If you prefer to use a different app, check our Help Center and Community Hub to see whether automatic syncing to Strava is supported.
The Strava app can be downloaded to your WearOS watch in order to record activities. The app can track elapsed time, and if the watch has a built in sensor, you can also track heart rate data. If you want to learn more about how to use the app, check out our help center article: Wear OS and Strava
When you record with Strava for WearOS, your activities will sync automatically to your Strava account shortly after you save them.
Note: There are a variety of other fitness apps you can use to record workouts on your WearOS watch, including Google Fit, the watch’s native workout app. Google Fit does not automatically sync to Strava so if you prefer to use a different app, check our Help Center and Community Hub to see whether automatic syncing to Strava is supported.
Prefer a different watch app?
No problem, there are plenty of apps that can record indoor activities and many of these offer ways to directly sync to Strava. Search our Help Center to see if your app/fitness platform is listed. If not, ask the Strava Community Hub for advice on how to sync data from your preferred app to Strava. If all else fails, we’re always happy to help if you reach out to our support team.
If you don’t have the equipment above, forgot to record, or for whatever reason weren’t able to record your workout, you can always create a manual activity after the fact. Manual activities are also eligible for Perceived Exertion, which we explained the benefits of above!
Manual activities allow you to record core details like: date & time, sport type, gear, distance, duration, elevation, perceived exertion, and public or private notes.
Learn more about creating manual activities: Uploading Manual Activities
If you’re looking to get more insights from your recordings, consider investing in biometric sensors. There are plenty to choose from ranging in price and functionality and they’ll help contribute data that can tell a more complete story of your effort.
If you can only pick one sensor, we absolutely recommend a heart rate monitor! Heart rate is core to so much of what powers analytic features and is a great way to get to know your body. We’ve even heard stories where heart rate data was used by our members’ doctors to discover important and sometimes life-changing information about their cardiovascular health. The Strava Mobile Apps for iOS and Android can both pair to compatible Bluetooth heart rate sensors.
Heart rate monitors, like most devices, range in accuracy. Optical monitors built into smartwatches have a reputation for being less precise than a chest strap. However, I personally find chest straps incredibly uncomfortable and have found a nice compromise using an arm-band monitor. Scosche’s monitors are reported to be as accurate as a chest strap, and as I mentioned, might be more comfortable for you!
Learn more about pairing sensors to Strava: Pairing Sensors with the Strava app
Other biometric Sensors
If you’re curious about what additional data you can get while you’re recording, there are other options like power meters and cadence sensors. Keep in mind that the Strava app can only connect to Heart Rate monitors at this time. If you want to use other sensors, make sure your preferred app supports it.
And as always, if you encounter any challenges, our team and community are here to help you out with advice!
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