Getting fit is no simple task. (With 60 million Americans characterized as obese by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, that fact is clear.) But while the standby prescription for shaping up—regular exercise and eating a healthy diet—hasn’t changed, a new crop of high-tech tools has sprung up to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Thanks to specific advances in technology, these devices have become increasingly user-friendly. First, the sensors that collect your data—like skin temperature and heart rate—are now small enough to fit inside a wristband or a pair of headphone earbuds. The Basis B1 Health Tracker, for example, packs an accelerometer as well as temperature and galvanic skin-response sensors into a wristwatch.
The ability to transmit data wirelessly to a smartphone is a welcome perk, and means that many products no longer need display screens. That makes today’s fitness-minded gadgets sleeker, less expensive and simpler to use. (The Nike+ Fuelband uses a Bluetooth connection to wirelessly shift data.)
Another technological development that’s a boon for fitness gadgeteers is GPS—and runners and bikers aren’t the only ones using it to map workout routes and measure times and distances. Golfers increasingly rely on devices with GPS range finders to navigate courses. The WiFi-enabled SkyCaddie SGXw allows for smarter club selections so players can hit fairway landing areas and greens more consistently.
You don’t even need to break a sweat to get fitness feedback. The hated bathroom scale has gotten smart, with some models, like the Fitbit Aria Smart Scale, able to wirelessly relay each morning’s weigh-in to your smartphone, iPad or computer. How’s that for accountability?
Here’s a closer look at some of the new fitness devices available now.