Get Fit, Tech Fit

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Commentary | Comments Off

What do technology and fitness have in common? Initially you might think not much, but both industries are on the rise and both can be overwhelming when trying to figure out what works best for you. As these industries continue to grow they have come together in two joyous unions: apps and wearables. With so many to choose from and a wide array of functionalities, it’s easy to drown in the sea of “digital health,” defeating the very purpose of utilizing technology to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let me offer you a life jacket. Below I’ve highlighted 10 highly-rated fitness helpers that might just make it fun (and easier!) to stay on track.

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Apps

1) Runtastic Road Bike (Free)

I recently downloaded this app and despite my skeptical nature, I am impressed! Runtastic Road Bike accurately measures your bicycle rides and is really user-friendly. The app provides a wealth of information and even offers the option for real-time voice feedback when you hit mile markers. You can modify the mile markers to receive updates on your pace, speed, distance, duration, and calories burned, and even receive information on your heart rate and cadence if you use compatible devices.

2) Nexercise (Free)

Need an incentive to get you moving? With Nexercise you can track any type of fitness progress and reap the benefits via virtual badges and trophies, not to mention a chance to win actual, tangible prizes. Utilizing the concept of gamification, this app awards you with points for pretty much any type of physical activity and allows you to use those points to claim real prizes like gift cards and discounts from various retailers. You can log everything from your daily training sessions to your weekly apartment cleaning sessions (you do clean your place every week, of course).

3) Teemo (Free)

Sometimes a few friends are all you need to stay motivated. Teemo jumps on the idea of group mentality by digitizing group exercise, offering 10 globetrotting adventures ranging from the Caribbean all the way up to Everest. The app gives you the option to conquer obstacles as a lone wolf or in relay-like fashion alongside your peers. You can track your progress and even set music to the short-burst workouts. You’ll also earn in-game rewards before sharing your accomplishments with others. Go team!

4) Nike Training Club (Free)

Are you a gym rat or more of a fitness-DVD-in-my-living-room warrior? With Nike’s official app, it doesn’t matter. This well-designed app gives you specific exercises to integrate into your own personal workouts and features full 30 to 45-minute workouts, all based on your goals and fitness level. The Nike Training Club app uses photos to show users how to properly execute each exercise along with audio cues, step-by-step instructions and how-to videos. Users can also complete goals to earn rewards like celebrity training videos.

5) Fooducate (Free)

Making healthy choices at the grocery store is a whole lot easier with Fooducate, an app that uses an integrated barcode scanner (or the ‘browse’ tab) to deliver instant information on any food item you’re interested in buying. The app gives you an actual grade (A, B+, D, etc.) for each food item and offers the pros and cons are of each particular food. Fooducate will help you stock your fridge with A’s and B’s!

 Wearables

1) Fitbit Flex ($99.95)

The Fitbit Flex is a wrist-worn activity tracker that tracks both activity and sleep. During the day, it tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. At night, it tracks your sleep quality and wakes you silently in the morning. The Fitbit Flex has a removable tracker, which is beneficial because you can swap out the bracelet to change its color. It also wirelessly syncs to your computer, iPhone, or Android phone.

2) Misfit Shine ($99.99)

Misfit Shine tracks steps, cycling and swimming (it’s waterproof!). With just a tap,you can see how active you’ve been throughout the day by a halo of lights that shine through invisible micro-holes, laser drilled into the metal casing. The wearable is is just millimeters thick, making it one of the world’s thinnest wireless activity trackers so it can be worn just about anywhere. No buttons, no cables, no recharging. Bonus: just place it on your smartphone and it syncs, even in airplane mode. You can set your own goals, visualize data, and get insights tailored specifically for you.

3) Nike+ FuelBand SE ($149.00)

The Nike FuelBand SE is a sporty, hard black bangle with a rubberized texture and dot-matrix display that’s invisible most of the time. With the click of a (well-hidden) button you can access various data including steps, calories burned, the time, the number of hours that you were active at least five consecutive minutes, and “fuel,” which is Nike’s own unit of measure for activity. With “fuel” you can aim to increase your daily average and earn more fuel points. The band also syncs to your computer.

4) Jawbone UP24 ($149.99)

Slap on the Jawbone UP24 for a comfortable, lightweight tracking experience. The Jawbone UP24 monitors your sleep and reminds you to move if you’ve been inactive too long. You can even set an alarm to wake you within a time frame when you’re in light sleep. This tracker doesn’t have a display so you’ll be looking at your smartphone to view your data.

5) TomTom Multi-Sport ($199.99-$299.99)

The TomTom Multi-Sport may look like a regular watch but it will track your running, cycling and swimming information in real time and give stats at a glance. This wearable has a simple LCD screen and straps are interchangeable, and data syncing is done by docking the watch in a USB cradle.

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