NPR took a close look at a handful of running apps, and the verdict: You can get pretty addicted to the real-time data. The reporter was particularly fond of Adidas's miCoach and the friendly female voice telling her to speed up and congratulating her at the end of the run. Downsides? Well, most of the app's start at $10 and if you want a fancy GPS watch, that's another story. So they're not free. But other than being slightly poorer, there's this: You might end up like the reporter. "I'm the person you see coming down the trail with a GPS wristwatch on one arm, an MP3 player on the other, water bottles strapped to my waist and compression socks pulled up to my knees," she says. Technology is a slippery slope, people.
What's a "Smart Bike"? Not 100% clear, but that's the name of the new bike tracking and communication system Apple filed a patent for last week. The basic gist is this: It's a little like Nike + iPod. The patent filing leaves some of details fuzzy, but using your iPhone or iPod Touch, the new system will let you trick your bike out to electronically communicate with other bikes, sharing data about everything from distance, cadence, and heart rate, to altitude, elevation, and incline. Apple already has some pretty cool cycling tracking apps, so you gotta figure there's even more awesomeness in the smart bike than they've outlined in their patent filings. New launch dates or prices available yet, but we'll keep you posted. (via Outside via Wired)
Lance Armstrong whispers sweet nothings in your ear when you run courtesy of Nike + iPod. But what about swimmers? Don't they need in-ear encouragement? Enter the AvidaMetrics system. You strap incredibly light weight sensors to your wrists and ankles and one to your head, which is also connected to an ear bud. As you swim, the system zaps data on your pace, stroke count, stroke tempo, distance per stroke, basically everything, to a laptop on the pool deck.More...
Last night, Microsoft debuted their new motion control system, Xbox Kinect, at a splashy Cirque du Soleil event in L.A. Cnet reports the whole event felt a little like a religious revival, but nonetheless, the driving, dancing, hurdling, and yoga games, all without any sort of balance board or controller, were fairly cool. Full details on the system will be out later today. We'll let you know if there's anything particularly rad you should know about.
PC World is out with a list of the best and brightest new fitness tech. Their picks (a few of which you could totally give your dad for Father's Day, which, reminder, hits next weekend):
- The Philips Activa ($130). Plays media player and radio, also tracks your calories burned and distance traveled, plus has a "TempoMusic" feature that picks songs to match your speed.
Outfitted with gadgets galore, our intern Juliet tracks all the nitty gritty numbers of her college life.
I’m determined to become a certified personal trainer before the end of the summer. In order to do that, I needed to take a CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator) course. Little did I know that CPR/AED class is a surprisingly strenuous workout: 561 calories burned. Who knew it was so hard blowing rescue breaths into a mannequin! Most of the class was videos and discussion, but the last hour was action-packed. Here’s what that last hour looks like:
We've outfitted our intern, Juliet, with gadgets galore, and each week she mines the onslaught of personal tracking data for our collective benefit.
This week, I hit up Urban Jam, a cardio dance class the instructor described as “like Zumba, but on steroids.” Think Zumba-moves plus hip-hop and Bollywood. Rumor has it people burn 700-1,000 calories in an hour of Zumba. If UJAM is any indication, that's probably not true. I burned 499.87. But I felt like an absolute star, flitting from one side of the room to the other doing hip hop and salsa moves like nothing else mattered. And the music — so good that for an hour everything else in my life seemed like an afterthought.
Around here we believe in fitness tracking. Also, prizes. So what could be better than a watch with a built in motion detector that tracks your activity and then sends you discount codes for things like movie tickets and electronics stores? Behold, the "Switch 2 Health" S2H Replay. Bright colors, $20. Though we're already seeing downsides. First this review from an SH2 Replay user in North Carolina: "As a watch, it loses about 30 minutes a week...and I logged more than two hours of running, run/walking, and vigorous hiking. The Replay, however...registers less than six minutes of activity." Tough. But perhaps the real trouble: What if the coupons incite you to spend money you wouldn't otherwise? Instead of the regular workout wealth effect, every run will get you closer to being a Best Buy junkie.
It's tax season. Yesterday, the new accountant came to look over the books. We talked about exercise and stress. He said he'd gotten up that morning realizing he might actually need the Hammacher Schlemmer Biofeedback Stress Relief Coach. He'd seen the device in the catalog and always thought it was a joke, but suddenly he was open to anything. Hammacher says the device helps you to "synchronize your breathing with your nervous system..."More...
Custom mouthpieces are supposed to make you breathe better, relax, recover faster, and generally unleash your most beastly athletic potential. So go the claims. Outside Magazine assigned their "Gear Junkie" to test out an Under Armour Mouthpiece for four months. His report back:
"I wore the Under Armour mouthpiece skiing, cycling, climbing, running, and during a handful of endurance-sports competitions. Bite Tech has dozens of testimonials and claims of immediate strength increases or gains in flexibility and speed. For me, the effect was not immediately apparent."
He goes on to say that maybe it kept him from grinding his teeth, and he kind of liked how it felt. Though the words "placebo effect" definitely make their way into his writeup.