From gadgets that encourage you to exercise and track your progress, to websites that motivate you, technology offers a number of ways to help you get fit. We've rounded up our pick.
Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009 (Wii)
We've heard good things about Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009, a game that uses the Wii console with the Balance Board. Michaels is a fitness expert who features on US reality TV weight-loss show called The Biggest Loser. The game features 11 activities (with light, medium, and hard intensity levels) and offers durations ranging from 10 to 60 minutes.
They're categorised in four major workout modes: Weight Loss, Strength Training, Intervals and Hill Climb.
You also get fitness, diet, and lifestyle tips from Michaels herself. In keeping with the TV show, multiple players can compete against each other, cycling through the various workout regimes to see who burns the most calories at the end of the game. Like Wii Fit, Fitness Ultimatum provides a wealth of exercise and progress data (distance, time, intensity levels, and more) throughout the workout. Its currently only available in the US, and no UK launch dates have been released.
Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS device
Okay, now for some real-world exercise. The Garmin Forerunner 405 is the svelte descendant of a line of larger, forearm-encircling models that have long pleased runners interested in GPS-based stats like speed, distance, and pace. In our tests of a Forerunner 405 equipped with an optional heart-rate monitor, the unit offered speedy satellite acquisition, accurate vitals monitoring, and lots of detailed running data. The device's touch-sensitive bezel can be problematic, and its battery duration isn't the greatest, but the watchlike 405 should be a great motivational tool.
The Nike+ iPod Sport Kit
Nike and Apple have teamed up to integrate the running shoe with the audio player to create the Nike+ Sport Kit - a simple yet powerful system for keeping you informed and inspired during your workouts. The kit includes a pedometer that fits inside 'Nike+ ready' shoes and wirelessly reports your time, speed, and distance via your iPod nano.
You can opt to have this information appear on your nano screen; or you can obtain an audible update of your time, distance, and speed by pressing the center select button on your nano. What I like best about the system is being able to put that special super-psyche-up song in my mix, and select it at the point in my workout where I need an extra blast of adrenaline to complete the final brutal few minutes of my cardio.
To get the whole experience, you'll need to have the following pieces in place: an iPod nano, a computer, a pair of 'Nike+ ready' shoes (usually priced at around £70), and maybe an armband to hold the Nano and receiver. So it's not a cheap option.
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