Here are some devices to help you meet your fitness goals:
UA HealthBox, $400
With UA HealthBox, Under Armour wants to provide a one-stop shop for fitness tracking. The kit comes with three smart devices—a wristband, a scale and a heart-rate monitor—all of which record data that is collected in an app, UA Record.
The wristband has a monochrome touch-screen that allows you to start an activity, such as walking, running or cycling, then tap to find stats like calories and distance or to control music. The sleek scale measures weight and body fat, and the heart-rate monitor snaps to an elastic strap that is worn around the chest. Combined with the app, the HealthBox provides an accurate look at your fitness goals and progress. But all that connectivity comes at a cost; for those wanting to start smaller, the wristband, called UA Band, is sold separately for $180.
Jaybird X2, $180
It’s important for fitness headphones to have good sound and good fit, and the X2 wireless headphones from Jaybird aptly balance both. Using a technology it calls Shift Premium Bluetooth Audio, Jaybird delivers clear sound with the X2, and new ear tips improve sound isolation, blocking outside noise.
The X2 also has patented ear fins in various sizes that are designed to hug the surface of the ear and keep the headphones secure, even during rigorous activity. Jaybird says the battery lasts up to eight hours on a single charge, outlasting the longest workout. And the X2 comes with a lifetime warranty against sweat.
Wilson X Connected Basketball, $199
For those with unfulfilled hoop dreams, the Wilson X Connected basketball was created to help develop shooting skills by tracking shots in real time. The basketball, regulation size and weight, has a durable grip and solid bounce. You don’t notice the small sensor embedded inside that records made and missed shots, gauging your efficiency from different spots on the court.
The ball works with any regulation 10-foot hoop with a net, but it’s not for layups; shots have to be at least 7 feet from the hoop. The ball does not need to be charged, and Wilson says that it will last for up to 1,00,000 shots, or just under 300 a day for a year. As a bonus, the app has four training games intended to help improve your game under pressure.
Fitbit Blaze, $200
As the number of wrist-worn fitness trackers increases, it gets harder to choose the right one. The latest option from Fitbit, Blaze, is designed for an active lifestyle and tracks the usual data like heart rate, exercises, steps and sleep, which can be viewed on a colour touch-screen.
Fitbit also added three workouts from FitStar, an app maker it bought last year, that offer coaching and real-time stats during a workout and a summary afterward.
Blaze has a few smart functions, too, like notifications for caller ID, text alerts and calendar reminders. The wristband is comfortable and can be worn all day; more stylish bands in leather and stainless steel are available for an evening out. The tracker pops out for charging; Fitbit says the battery lasts up to five days on a full charge.
Sensoria Fitness Smart Socks, $199
They look odd, but the Smart Socks from Sensoria Fitness offer a lot of benefits. With textile sensors woven into the plantar area, the socks transmit data to a mobile app via anklets connected to the socks.
As cumbersome as that sounds, the socks are comfortable and the anklets are unnoticeable and stay securely attached. When used with the Sensoria Fitness app, the socks produce a wealth of real-time feedback on cadence, foot landing, pace and speed (for instance, I found out that I landed on my heel too often when I ran). A pair of socks comes with one anklet; a second anklet is $159.
Ampy Move, $75
All those fitness devices need power, and with Ampy Move you can create power for them while you exercise. The Ampy Move is a wearable battery that captures kinetic energy as you move. The device is lightweight and sweatproof. Ampy suggests slipping it into a bag or pocket to generate power throughout the day, but it’s probably more efficient to wear it while exercising (a belt clip and an adjustable sports band are available for an extra $30).
Ampy says that an hour of exercise can produce an hour of smartphone battery life. That’s hard to verify because the device has only four LED lights that show the level of power, but after a 20-minute run on the treadmill, the reading on my device jumped from two lights to three.