Q | There are so many fitness gadgets out there. How do I pick the one that’s right for me?
A | “Fitness gadget” is often synonymous with “activity tracker” — but there’s more to fitness technology than tracking. A lot more.
The current fitness-gadget landscape includes smartwatches, smartglasses, and smartgarments, as well as wearable 3D motion trackers and glucose monitors.
So before investing in a device, start by defining your fitness goals and the features that will best support them, such as simple biometric data like calories burned, steps taken, miles run, and hours slept, or the ability to sync with your phone, computer, tablet, or other devices.
Then set a budget, research the gadgets, and read online customer reviews. And don’t get distracted by gee-whiz functions you don’t need and will never use.
Here’s a sampling of some top-selling and unique devices that are geared for an array of interests, functions, and budgets.
Garmin VivoSmart (Tracker)
FitBit One (Tracker)
Apple Watch (Smartwatch)
Withings Activité Pop (Smartwatch)
FitLinxx AmpStrip (Fitness Tech 2.0)
Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds (Fitness Tech 2.0)
SmartMat yoga mat
Reebok Checklight Cap (Fitness Tech 2.0)
Sensoria Socks (Fitness Tech 2.0)
Gymboss Interval timer (Fitness Tech 2.0)
What are the most useful fitness apps on the market?
The variety of fitness applications for your smartphone seems nearly endless — and with good reason, experts say.
“Apps can make working out more convenient, say, with a tracking or timing function, or provide more variety to your routine,” says Amanda Vogel, fitness instructor and creator of Fitness Test Drive, a site where Vogel tests and reviews fitness gadgets and gear.
An added bonus, says Fred Hoffman, MEd, owner of Fitness Resources Consulting Services, is that many apps are free or inexpensive, especially when compared with trackers and other devices that can cost tens or hundreds of dollars. (Download the free app version first, before opting for the premium version of a new app, Hoffman recommends.)
Here are some of Vogel’s and Hoffman’s fave fitness apps.
Who: For exercisers wanting help from falling off the wagon.
Why: “For optimal success, many people need to be held accountable,” Vogel says. This app does the trick, offering gym, vegetable, and food-logging “bets.” Select one and ante up, offering to pay other Pact members a fee (that you set) if you fail to reach your goal.
How Much: Free
Who: For those who need to freshen up a stale routine.
Why: “Following along with a workout, similar to a DVD, can be more motivating than doing a DIY workout at home,” Vogel says. “Plus, it allows you to choose from new exercise options each week.”
How Much: Free to download, $12/month to access workouts on mobile after free 15-day trial
Who: For those needing an extra push to get out the door.
Why: Each mile you log while using this app will pay money from a sponsorship pool to a cause of your choice, including Autism Speaks, Habitat for Humanity, and the Partnership for a Healthier America. Bikers earn a dime per mile; walkers and runners earn a quarter per mile.
How Much: Free
— by Karla Walsh