Gadgets to Get You Into--and Stay--in Shape
Everyone has a million excuses for not staying in shape, which is probably why fitness gadgets are so hot this year. These gadgets are a big step up from your old pedometer--they don't just track what you do, they motivate you.
Some inspire you with goals (such as the Nike+ FuelBand, which lights up green when you reach your daily goal), others motivate with music (such as the Motorola MotoActv, which analyzes your daily activity and determines which songs get you moving), and others use a good old-fashioned shock (such as the Jawbone Up, which vibrates when you've been sitting still for too long).
Read on for 15 gadgets that will help--nay, motivate--you to get into shape and stay there.
The Fitbit Ultra is a tiny little gadget shaped like a clip that tracks just about everything you do in life--whether it's walking, sleeping, climbing stairs, or eating (it's a calorie counter as well).
Additionally, the Fitbit automatically syncs your data wirelessly whenever you're near a computer, so you can keep track of everything you're doing (and, ideally, tweak your routine to be more fit).
Fitbit Ultra | $99.95
Motorola's MotoActv isn't your average fitness tracker: It does track your time, distance, speed, and calories burned during workouts, but it's also an MP3 player and personal DJ.
The MotoActv analyzes your workout data and "learns" which tunes motivate you, and then creates a special high-performance playlist so you can go the extra mile.
Motorola MotoActv | $249.99
The Nike+ FuelBand doesn't just track your daily activity and workouts--it attempts to motivate you by giving you goals.
Here's what you do: Set your daily goal and then throw on your FuelBand. The FuelBand tracks your daily progress, lighting up from red to green--red means you have yet to reach your goal, and green means you've made it.
Nike FuelBand | $149.00
The Jawbone Up is a stylish wristband that works in tandem with an iPhone app to track your daily activity and "inspire you to live healthier."
The Up tracks movement, sleep patterns, and meals, and even vibrates if you've been sedentary too long. Plus, it's water-resistant up to one meter.
Jawbone Up | $99.99
Striiv Smart Pedometer
The Striiv Smart Pedometer tracks, well, how much you walk throughout the day. But Striiv motivates you in a more creative way: with charity.
The Striiv Smart Pedometer lets you participate in an ongoing walk-a-thon sponsored by real charities. All you have to do is walk, and charities will donate money as you hit milestones and goals.
Striiv Smart Pedometer | $99.95
Iqua Beat Headphones
Not all fitness trackers are clips, watches, wristbands, or gadgets--some of them are just earbuds. Iqua Beat headphones aren't your average earbuds, though. These headphones have a built-in pedometer and use infrared sensors to measure your heart rate.
The Iqua Beat headphones will work with an iPhone app to track your movement, heart rate, and workouts, and they will also work as, well, headphones.
Iqua Beat Headphones | Price not determined
Timex Health Tracker
The Timex Health Tracker may look like your average Timex wristwatch, but it's a watch with a secret: It's actually a fitness gadget.
The Health Tracker tracks your movements, distance walked, and calories burned, and even features a "Diet Diary" that lets you input the calories you consume (secretly, of course). This is perfect for the obsessive calorie-counter.
Timex Health Tracker | $65.00
BodyMedia Fit Link Armband
The BodyMedia Fit Link armband is, you guessed it--yet another movement tracker. The Fit Link tracks your activity, calories burned, and sleep patterns, and syncs all of the data to an online Activity Manager.
The Fit Link armband features Bluetooth, and can sync wirelessly to your smartphone.
BodyMedia Fit Link | $199.00
YurBuds Sport Earphones
These YurBuds earphones aren't a fitness gadget all on their own--rather, they're earbuds designed for athletes.
The YurBuds Sport Earphones are sweatproof and designed to be comfortable for long periods of time and "never fall out"--and they work. They stay in place and offer great sound quality while still letting ambient noise seep in (in case you're, you know, running in traffic).
YurBuds Sport Earphones | $59.99
If earbuds aren't your thing, you may want to check out AcousticSheep's RunPhones. RunPhones are headphones built for runners--they're thin, removable speakers encased in a Polartec headband, and they come in winter and summer versions.
The speakers allow ambient noise to seep in, so runners don't get clocked by traffic, and the headband doubles as, well, a headband.
AcousticSheep RunPhones | $34.95
So far all of our gadgets have been for land-dwellers, but what if you're a swimmer or a surfer? If you are, check out the Finis Swimsense--a waterproof fitness watch that tracks distance, stroke rate, and calories burned.
The Swimsense comes with software that lets you track your progress and analyze your workouts.
Finis Swimsense | $199.99
Fitbit Aria Smart Scale
The Fitbit Aria Smart Scale isn't your regular scale--it tells you not only your weight, but also your BMI and body fat percentage. In addition, the Aria Smart Scale tracks those numbers over time and uploads the data to your computer--so you'll know if you gained 10 pounds over winter vacation, or if you're slowly getting fatter because you've been skipping the gym lately.
The Aria Smart Scale also can be set up to automatically recognize up to eight different users and track their numbers individually.
Fitbit Aria Smart Scale| $129.95
Fitocracy Social Network
Fitocracy isn't a gadget--it's a social network.
This fitness-oriented social network offers up points for working out, quests for exercising, and badges for reaching fitness goals.
Plus, you can connect with your friends, challenge them to fitness tests, and badger them about going to the gym. Everybody wins!
Fitocracy | Free
Sportiiiis Heads-Up Display SP100
Who needs $1500 Google Glass glasses when you can have your very own sporty heads-up display from Sportiiiis?
Sportiiiis' heads-up display attaches to any pair of regular sunglasses (or regular glasses) and uses a built-in speaker and colored LEDs to let you know whether you're reaching your targeted speed, heart rate, pace, cadence, and power.
Sportiiiis Heads-Up Display SP100 | $149.00
Aftershokz Bone Conduction Headphones
If headphones aren't really your thing, you may want to check out Aftershokz headphones.
These headphones don't go in your ear. Instead, they wrap around your head, sit in front of your ears, and deliver sound through your cheekbones.
This means they're not only more comfortable than headphones that go in your ears, but they also let you hear other things going on around you, so you don't get owned by a car while you're running.