Fitness gadgets pump up workout routines

by publicationarchive

Bryan Koci / Staff Photographer

Many students strive to be physically fit. With the help of high-tech fitness gadgets, staying active and in shape can be more exciting.

“Technology tools such as pedometers, heart rate monitors and software applications can help motivate people to establish, monitor, regulate and achieve fitness goals,” Dr. Nicole Smith, a professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, said. The following fitness gadgets can supplement most routines.

Multi-functional MP3 players
iPod Nano
This product has been loved by gym-goers mostly because of it’s size and intuitive interface. But the iPod nano is more than just a music player 8212; it also functions as a pedometer. When slipped into the pocket, this gadget will keep track of every step. Add $29 to the original price and the iPod nano can be paired with Nike + Sport Kit, which measures distance traveled, time elapsed and calories burned.
Price: 8GB, $149, 16GB, $179, www.apple.com/ipodnano

Philips Activa
This unique music player is called a “motivational” MP3 player because of its TempoMusic feature. According to www.engadget.com, this feature analyzes users’ music library to match their workout intensity using its built-in accelerometer. It can also be programmed to give words of encouragement during workouts.

Price: Projected at $129.99, worldwide release is set for April. www.activa.philips.com

Samsung MyFit
Samsung calls this device a “wellness-promoter MP3 player” because of its tools to measure stress and fat levels, and its ability to customize workouts. According to www.gizmodo.com, MyFit also has a water management option, which tells users when and how often they should drink water.
Price: Not yet released

Pedometers
Nike+ SportBand
This no-frills wristband helps individuals keep track of time, pace and distance. Just place the Nike+ sensor inside the sneakers; once the workout is done, plug it back in the USB slot and all the information automatically uploads.
Price: $59, www.nikerunning.com

Fitbit
Whether clipped on a shirt, kept in a pocket or used on an armband, this tiny gadget will keep track of every movement the user makes, just like the 3-D motion sensors found in the Nintendo Wii. According to www.fitbit.com, the device tracks the number of calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken and, interestingly enough, sleep quality.
Price: $99, www.fitbit.com

miCoach Pacer
Made by Adidas, the miCoach Pacer works as a pedometer, heart-rate monitor and calorie counter. This gadget offers real-time coaching for runners. It tells runners when to speed up or slow down in order to reach their specific goal. For individuals who need to run with music, miCoach Pacer can be synced with any MP3 players.
Price: $139.99, www.adidas.com/us/micoach

Apps
iFitness
This iPhone or iPod Touch application features more than 230 exercises with various pre-programmed workouts and nearly 100 video demonstrations. Users can pick exercises by muscle group, individual muscle or full body routine.

“It teaches, encourages and tracks your progress from start to finish,” according to the developer, www.medicalprod.com.
Price: $1.99, www.medicalprod.com/ifitness.html

Total Fitness
This BlackBerry application helps individuals manage their daily nutrition, fitness activities and health by viewing them graphically. It also allows users to view their progress on a weekly or monthly basis, and view exercise animations for varying workouts.
Price: $29.99, www.mobiteq.com

Despite all of these gadgets’ useful abilities, Smith believes they don’t replace instructors, physicians or professional services. According to Smith, all these guides are needed to teach people how to effectively use technology to monitor and regulate their behavior.

“Participation in health behaviors is complex and influenced by knowledge, skill and attitude,” Smith said.