11 Best Fitness Gadgets Slideshow
11 Best Fitness Gadgets Slideshow
The Basis is a sleek watch that's loaded with sensors that capture all kinds of biometric data—blood flow, movement, perspiration and skin temperature—round-the-clock, in real time. It even records how well you sleep each night. The point of collecting so much data is to measure how activity affects your body and, over time, to instill healthy habits, like getting more sleep, moving more during the day, going to sleep and waking up at the same time, and even just wearing the watch each day. As it monitors you, Basis finds small changes you can make to your everyday that make a big difference toward leading a healthy lifestyle.
The Flex is a wristband version of the award-winning FitBit One. Like its predecessor, it measures steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, hours slept and quality of sleep. Over time, you can use the app to create improvement goals for yourself—12,000 steps each day, say, or eight hours of good sleep—and the Flex will tell you in real-time how you're doing, helping motivate you to strive for your daily goals. In a sense, it's the gamification of life, where winning makes you a healthier person.
The electronic HAPIfork is an eating utensil that monitors how much and how fast you eat, with the goal of combating weight gain by slowing both down. Originally developed for clinical use, the sensor-laden tool measures how many "fork servings" (forkfuls) you eat in each meal, how many you eat per minute, and how much time passes between them. It uploads all of that data, via USB, to your computer or phone, so you can track—and rein in—your eating habits. The creators cite recent research that suggests eating too fast doesn't give the body the time it needs to feel full from more moderate amounts of food. As such, indicator lights will flash to let you know you're eating too quickly. Pre-order now available.
The Alpha is a highly accurate wristwatch-style heart rate monitor for runners and cyclists that eliminates the worst part of every other heart rate monitor—the suffocating chest strap. For something as high-tech as it is, it's refreshingly pared down, and keeps only the functions necessary for heart rate-based training, including a stopwatch, a clock, continuous heart rate and programmable heart rate zones with visual and audio alerts. Of course, all of that data can be uploaded, via Bluetooth, to your computer or smartphone for tracking purposes.
Motorola's MOTOACTV is a super-versatile wearable fitness device, with built-in GPS and (with a chest strap) heart rate monitor good for tracking nearly any kind of workout—running, cycling, skiing and even cricket! Beyond that, it's a "smart" mp3 player that holds up to 4,000 songs and, through some feat of electronic wizardry, "learns" what kind of music motivates you and can DJ your workouts accordingly. Beyond that, its functionality can be upgraded by simply downloading apps onto it.
$150 (8GB), $200 (16GB); motorola.com
The FuelBand is the latest activity tracker from Nike and, like others, it tracks activity from walking, running and other sports and everyday activities, as well as calories burned. From there, though, it vastly simplifies all that data into a somewhat mysterious metric called "NikeFuel." You can set daily goals and strive to reach them by simply being active. This isn't a good solution for the type-A, metrics mean everything athletes. But for someone who wants to simplify fitness, this may be the answer.
The Striiv takes the hardest part of exercise—motivating yourself to do it in the first place—and turns it into a sort of game. Sure, it logs your walking, running and stair climbing, but it also gently nudges you toward more of each activity by setting regular, within-reach challenges that are based on your current activity levels. In exchange, you earn badges, play games and even donate (corporate-sponsored) money to charity by redeeming points awarded for meeting your goals. It doesn't have as many hard metrics as some of its peers, but the Striiv definitely makes exercise more fun.
The Armour39 purports to measure performance rather than simply monitoring activity, and will go so far as to score your workouts on a 0-10 score—WILLpower—that Under Armour says is "the first true measure of an athlete." The chest strap-worn gadget tracks heart rate, calories burned and real-time intensity (which is a comparison of your exercising heart rate versus your baseline resting heart rate). It uploads exercise data to a mobile app in real-time, so you can check out how you're doing throughout a workout (handy if you've set a WILLpower goal for yourself). And what's the juju behind WILLpower? A proprietary algorithm that combines certain heart rate measurements, your user profile (sex, age, weight, etc.), body positioning and workout duration. Due for release March 20.
This fancy schmancy scale tracks your weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, heart rate and indoor air quality every time you set foot on it, and uploads all of that juicy data directly to your computer via WiFi. Use it to track your health and progress, set realistic goals for yourself or, if you need some serious motivation, turn your followers into Weight Watchers by automatically tweeting your data each time.
This little device works on the premise that the other fitness trackers here don't tell the whole story of your heart health, and goes a step further in measuring it by measuring not only your heart rate, but also your breaths per minute and blood oxygen saturation. The easy-to-use Tinké attaches to your iPhone with an adapter, and takes at-rest measurements through your fingers. Overall, it's a handy health meter, though it doesn't give you incentive to improve your fitness, or take measurements during exercise.
This wristwatch device is perfect for poolhounds because, unlike most swim watches, its sensors can actually tell what type of stroke you're using while you swim. This helps it give you more accurate readings on distance swam, calories burned, speed swam and exactly how you broke up your workout. The data can be uploaded to your computer for later analysis, helping you get the most out of each pool session.