Friday, 27 September 2013


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5 Fitness Monitors to Track Your Workout
By Liane Cassavoy,
Popular Mechanics, 25 September 2013.

The new wave of wearable fitness gadgets can tell you more data about your workout than has ever been available. Best of all, these gadgets are affordable and easy to use.

1. Fitbit Flex

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Price: US$99

The Fitbit Flex is a great way to get on the road to more movement. It's a small, unobtrusive band designed to be worn on the wrist that comes in a variety of colours and sizes. Essentially, the Fitbit Flex is a pedometer that tracks the number of steps you take and how that activity stacks up to specific goals you set in advance. Wear the waterproof Fitbit all day and all night (you'll need to charge it about once a week), and it tracks how much you move and even how well you sleep. Tap the device when you're going to sleep and after you wake up to track the hours; it judges the quality of your sleep based on your movements.

Everyday tasks, such as mowing the lawn or running to catch the bus, count toward your daily goal. The Flex syncs wirelessly to a computer or smartphone.

2. Jawbone UP

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Price: US$129.99

Like the Fitbit, the Jawbone UP is a small wristband that tracks movement via a built-in accelerometer. The Jawbone UP app tracks movement and resting patterns as well as food intake. The UP also features a timer to provide an overall picture of how many calories you've burned.

Unlike the Fitbit Flex, Jawbone's UP can't sync wirelessly - you have to plug it into your iOS or Android device to download its data. However, where the Flex is relatively stiff, the UP has a flexible, wrap-on design.

3. Nike+ FuelBand

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Price: US$149

The Nike+ FuelBand wearable wristband has an excellent display, which can show you time of day, number of steps taken, and calories burned right on the band itself. Instead of relying on calories alone, though, Nike measures activity in NikeFuel, its proprietary system that is designed to award points based on all sorts of movement.

But the Nike+ FuelBand is decidedly less tech-savvy than both the Flex and the UP in a couple of important ways. For one, it cannot sync with your mobile devices or computer wirelessly. And it does not allow you to manually add activities, such as swimming, that the band itself can't measure, which means some of your more athletic pursuits may go untracked.

4. BodyMedia FIT CORE

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Price: US$119

If you're looking to burn serious calories and lose weight, BodyMedia's FIT CORE could be the activity tracker you seek. BodyMedia's fitness tool is not a wristband. It straps to your upper arm and comes with four on-body sensors that capture skin temperature, heat flux, motion, and skin response. This data is used to calculate calories burned, activity levels, steps taken, and time and quality of sleep.

Because the device sits right on your arm, in contact with your skin, the BodyMedia FIT CORE is more accurately able to deliver these calculations, requiring less user input. It automatically determines when you're asleep, for example, based on your body orientation, motion, temperature, and skin conductivity. (Other devices require that you tell them when you're falling asleep.) It connects to desktop computers and mobile devices, where you can use BodyMedia's software to track your progress toward the goals you've set (though users pay US$6.95 per month for data access).

5. Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

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Price: US$219.95

Polar's heart rate monitors were around long before wearable fitness gadgets entered the market, and for many serious athletes, Polar products are must-have workout companions. The FT60 Heart Rate Monitor features two components: a heart rate monitor that you strap around your chest as you exercise, and a wristwatch computer that displays your heart rate and the duration of your workout. The FT60 might be as close as you can come to having your own personal trainer with you on every workout.

Top image: FT60 Heart Rate Monitor. Credit:

[Source: Popular Mechanics. Edited. Top image added.]

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