Like a fitness gadget but not sure what to get? Well never fear, Gymbox is here! Fitness writer Georgina Spenceley of Fitcetera helps navigate the way with her top 5 current faves in fitness tech for 2015.
Well, my swotty nature may just come in handy, as I've rounded up 5 of the best new fitness tech you can lay your hands on. Ok, so one's not so new, but I think you'll forgive me.
Jawbone UP3 Activity trackers
Probably the biggest thing in fitness right now. Everyone has one. Oh, you don't? Where have you been? Jawbone first brought out the UP band in 2011 and it, unfortunately, failed to meet expectations. A few years later, and with better technology available, the UP3 has some of the smartest functionality you can get in an activity tracker. Using a tri-axis accelerometer, which detects static and dynamic forces, the UP3 figures out exactly how the device is moving (creating a 3D measurement) to track your movement throughout the day. This is the same technology used in the UP24, which I have already found to be very accurate. However, in addition to this already sound technology, the UP3 comes with bio-impedance sensors, enabling the device to monitor heart rate, respiration, and galvanic skin response (changes in the electrical properties in the skin, linked to sweat levels – the basis of touch screen technology). This allows the UP3 to monitor sleep more accurately than the UP24, giving a better indication of wake, light, REM and deep sleep. The bio-impedance sensors also allow the UP3 to monitor your resting heart rate, and provide feedback through the app on how to look after your ticker. Available very soon for $179.99, the UP3 is definitely one to watch.
SmartMat Yoga Mat
Gone are the days of yoga mats just being foam things you roll about on the floor on – the yoga mat has just gotten smarter. 2015 sees the release of the SmartMat, who's designers raised an impressive 289% of their crowdfunding goal at the end of 2014. Piezoresistive sensors detect changes in electrical resistance, allowing the mat to identify your foot, hand and whatever-else-might-be-touching-the-mate placement. Able to recognise 62 of the most popular yoga moves, the mat tells you how to achieve the "perfect pose" through adjustments in limb positioning, balance and alignment. And amazingly, it's still only 6mm thick and can be rolled up just like a standard yoga mat. The mat connects to your device via Bluetooth, with an app that can be used as a guide for your poses, or even to follow a full yoga class. Currently patent pending in the US, it won't be long before the SmartMat hits UK shores. Keep an eye out at SmartMat.com. But at a pre-order price of $297, it don't come cheap. Until then, you can buy the Liforme yoga mat with an intelligent asana alignment "Alignforme" guide etched into the surface for the bargain (comparably!) price of £100*.
FitBit Wifi Scales
Who said that scales are just for weighing?! The new FitBit Aria WiFi Smart Scale allows you to track and monitor your weight, body fat and BMI (ok, ignore that last part) via a seamless WiFi upload to the accompanying app! Body fat measurements through bio-electrical impedance are nothing new, and in fact I'm a little disappointed to see that FitBit haven't included segmented analysis (using hand held sensors in addition to the sensors located on the foot bed), but it's a small gripe. They are still more and more accurate as we learn more and more about the body, and certainly a lot cheaper than an MRI! What's really smart about this set of scales, is the ability to automatically upload your stats to the app, allowing you to see graphs of your progress. The scales also automatically recognise up to eight users… yes, automatically. You can also password protect your account so you can control what you share. Compatibly with apps such as My Fitness Pal, the scales could become a bathroom staple in any health-conscious individual's home. Get one here for a sale price of £93.32*.
GoPro Hero 4 Black
There's no getting away from it, the GoPro video camera is definitely the in-thing when it comes to adventure photography. And no, the "selfie stick" you got in your Christmas stocking just isn't going to cut it. GoPro are back with their biggest (figuratively) and bestest camera ever. The HERO4 Black. I can hear the gasping from here. With improved image quality, and a much faster processor and 2x faster video frame rates, the latest from GoPro is a gadget lovers must have. The step-up in resolution came with the HERO3 Black edition, but with a faster processor and frame rate, the professional image quality of the GoPro range is now sharper, richer and more detailed than ever. The HERO4 Black also has increased functionality for still shots, with 12MP Burst photos at 30 frames per second, and Time Lapse mode capturing at intervals of 0.5 to 60 seconds. There's even a long exposure setting allowing a shutter speed of up to 30 seconds for those night-time shots. There are far too many features to mention in a single post, but check out the full feature list, and get yourself your very own HERO4 Black here for £359*.
A must have for anyone serious about form an technique, Ubersense has been around for a while, but in terms of fitness apps, it's probably still THE one I would recommend. You can use this app to record and replay your workout, or a selected move, in HD and then analyse it using super slow motion (1/4, 1/2 or 1/8 speed), side-by-side views, or frame-by-frame (stop motion style). You can also zoom and pan videos to access every detail, and use drawing tools to measure angles, torque, etc. and to highlight technique. The Ubersense app also allows you to upload video footage from your existing gallery, or from third party apps like Google Drive and Dropbox. Future developments include voice-over recording, as well as the ability to watch and download videos sent by coaches and athletes, and to access a library of pro-athlete videos. This app is an absolute must for those wanting to analyse their weightlifting technique. You can download it for Android here, or iPhone here. And the best bit? It's FREE!