By Sarah Finley published
During the pandemic, we all found new ways to exercise - whether that meant annoying your downstairs neighbours with home workouts or finding new running routes in your local area.
But with gyms closed and for those used to working out with others in group classes or running groups working out became a little lonely.
So, even with gyms back open and some group exercise now allowed, we're excited to hear about Strava's update, which means we can compete against friends and family in virtual challenges.
Some of the best fitness apps have functions where you can compete against other people, so the new feature, which was launched on Global Running day last week, will be a plus for many - especially those who are already fans of the popular fitness app.
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So, how will the new feature work and how will it affect your workouts?
Strava syncs with some of the best fitness trackers and is great for tracking your route, speed and distance. And while the app already had monthly challenges the challenges couldn't be personalised with friends - and were open to all Strava users.
But the new free feature means Strava users, once they have updated the app, can optimize their workouts and start or join a virtual challenge with up to 24 friends for some friendly competition. So whether you want to all run 100K in a month or cycle from one side of the country (virtually of course) to the other, you can set the challenge up and create a leader board.
Of course, this means that, whether you are a runner or cyclist, then your workouts may get a little competitive, especially when you're trying to keep up with friends who are creeping up the leader board.
You can also set challenges with friends for 'the fastest effort' or the 'longest single activity' - which will record your longest distance across any sport that supports distance.
Not signed up to Strava yet? You can create or join up to three challenges without signing up.
Another updated feature on the app is a revamped maps tab - which helps you plan your ride or run, especially in an unfamiliar area.
Sarah is a freelance journalist who writes about fitness and wellbeing for the BBC, Woman&Home and Tech Radar. During lockdown she found her love of running outside again and now attempts to run around 50 miles a month. When it comes to other fitness, she loves a sweaty cardio session – although since she’s been working out from home she’s sure her downstairs neighbors aren’t too happy about it. She also loves to challenge herself - and has signed up to do hiking holidays, intense bootcamps and last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddle boarding around deserted islands in Croatia. On her rest days, she loves to recover with a simple yoga flow session – the perfect antidote to her active fitness schedule.
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