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Get fit with hi-tech kit: activity trackers, fitness apps, games and more

How the latest tech gadgets can help you to get fit and lose weight

We continue our feature on fitness gadgets with a look at fitness equipement for cycling, swimming and even a fork that helps you eat more slowly.

Fitness gadgets: cycling

If you don't have a smartphone, or at least not one that's compatible with all the apps we've mentioned, there are still plenty of other fitness gadgets available.

For cyclists, there's the range of Tacx VR trainers. Unlike a regular turbo trainer, which many cyclists use to build up or maintain fitness throughout the winter, a VR trainer removes the boredom.

Tacx VR Turbo Trainer

You can take part in races, which are displayed on your laptop or PC's monitor, along with Google Earth maps and elevation / speed graphs. It's similar to the Kinomap app we mentioned earlier, but it provides more realism thanks to the use of a motor brake which varies the resistance according to the gradient you're currently cycling.

This means hills are as tough to climb as in real life, and your rear wheel will spin on downhill sections.

Such systems aren't cheap: they range from around £500 to £1500, and you'll pay more if you want to buy more virtual routes to cycle. Multiplayer versions are available to provide more entertainment.

Amazingly, you can buy an exercise bike which will work with a Samsung Smart TV, PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii and provide entertainment for the more casual rider.

BigBen's Cyberbike can be picked up for as little as £100 if you hunt around, but make sure you buy the right version for your games console or TV (you'll need a Samsung Series 6000 TV or above from the 2012 or 2013 ranges if you don't have a Wii or PS3).

Bigben Cyberbike

Instead of recreating real-world routes, the Cyberbike is all about entertainment. In Cyclobooster you can ride through a village, canyon or forest avoiding obstacles (steering using the handlebars) and collecting coins. Popstar run off is even wackier: you control a popstar being chased through a city by crazy fans. Finally, there's a game where you control an ostrich and have to find its eggs.

When the weather is good enough to ride in the real world, one of the best cycling satnavs and activity trackers is the Garmin Edge 810. As well as providing all the functions of a normal bike computer, the 810 works with wireless sensors (such as a heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor) and can record your ride. It works with the free iPhone app, too.

Garmin Edge 810

You can also use it as a traditional satnav for calculating routes and directing you, or you can plan a route in advance and upload it wirelessly to the 810. It has a 2.6in colour touchscreen which, unlike smartphone screens, is easily readable in direct sunlight. It's also waterproof and costs around £450 with the sensors.

Garmin Edge 500

If you're not bothered about wireless connectivity and apps, the Edge 800 is almost identical and costs closer to £300 with the sensors and basemap. You'll need a more detailed map for it to be any use as a satnav, though, and you have a choice of City Navigator street maps or using free maps from the Open Street Maps project.

There are also cheaper models in Garmin's Edge range, including the Edge 500 which has a mono screen and is available without sensors for £150.

Fitness gadgets: watches

For runners and swimmers, there are a variety of watches available which will track your activity. Some work with heart rate monitors and also have GPS trackers, while others are cheaper and have more basic functions.

Polar's RCX3 watch, below left, comes with a heart rate monitor and costs around £125. It aims to help you train at the right intensity to hit your goals - typically training for an event such as a marathon - and is compatible with most of Polar's sensors including GPS (a bundle is available for roughly £250).

Polar RCX3 and Garmin Forerunner 10

Garmin also has a range of watches including the Forerunner 10 (above in black) which includes a GPS receiver for under £100. It can track your speed, distance, calories burned and more.

Garmin SwimGarmin also has a watch designed for swimmers called, appropriately, Swim. It costs around £130 and will track your distance, pace and stroke count and estimate calories burned. You simply set the pool length and it automatically detects which stroke you're using and records your lengths and calculates your swolf score. When you're finished, you can automatically sync the data with your computer and upload it to Gamin's website (just as with the Edge 810 cycling GPS and Forerunner watches).

One of the more bizarre fitness gadgets is the HappiLabs HapiFork. It's one of the strangest we've seen, and claims to help you eat more slowly in order to aid digestion and weight loss. The idea is that you will end up eating less as you feel full before you've eaten too much.

Happilabs HappiFork

Using vibration alerts and LED indicators, the HapiFork will let you know when you're eating too fast by accurately detecting when you bring the fork to your mouth. You can upload the data via USB to the website and keep a track of how long it took to eat each meal, intervals between "fork servings" and enter other data such as your sleep and physical activity. The HapiFork can be washed as normal (even in a dishwasher) and costs around £100.

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