The start of the year is always a bit of a slog: Christmas over-indulgence is still fresh in the memory, pay day is a long way off, and as for those new year fitness goals? Please.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a bunch of gadgets that can help with your waistline, making you healthier, happier and instilling good habits. Because the best fitness regime is the one you stick with.
We’ve got wireless earbuds to get you running, a smartwatch that can track all your fitness activities while looking smart enough for after-work drinks, a magic mirror to correct your posture, and even a lightbulb that can keep tabs on your vital signs. God bless technology. Now if only it could bring payday a little closer...
Jabra Elite 4 Active
When it comes to headphones, true wireless earbuds are very much in fashion. Because there are no wires whatsoever, just two earbuds you pop in your shell-likes, they’re ideal for exercise, as there’s no cable to get your arms caught in. Hence there are plenty of fitness focussed-pairs that aim to be your workout buddy, of which these are some of the best to launch recently.
Why? Because they block out unwanted sounds using active noise cancellation, are waterproof to survive a downpour, and pack handsfree controls using Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant. They’re made by Jabra, who has been in the fitness headphones game for as long as we can remember. And they cost a very reasonable £120. They’re your one-way ticket to fitsville.
Get the Jabra Elite 4 Active
Garmin Vivomove Sport
If you want to get fit, or just monitor your health, a smartwatch is a must. The wrist-worn devices are always with you, so they give a more accurate step count than a smartphone app. And because they have direct contact with your skin, they can give insights into your heart rate and even blood oxygen levels, too.
Garmin is one of the biggest players in the space, and the Vivomove Sport is one of its best offerings yet. For a start, it doesn’t scream ‘gym bunny’ – its hybrid design combines the style of analogue hands with the smart skills of digital tech. Touching the watch face reveals the hidden touchscreen, and as well as tracking your activities, it gives you notifications for texts, calls, calendar and more. It’s a way to get fit without looking like you’re trying too hard. And it’s smart enough to wear out in the evening after a workout.
What kind of shape are you in? You might feel fine, but chances are certain muscles are tight, others are undeveloped, and as for your posture, forget it.
This mirror can help. By analysing your movements and posture, and using a skeletal recognition system, it can determine the strength of specific muscle groups, posture, flexibility, endurance, and sense of balance. It will tell you which muscle groups are too tight or not strong enough, then suggest exercises that will sort you out, whether it’s reps that need doing or just that you need a massage (fingers crossed for the latter).
It then plays a video to demo the exercises, and suggests movements to avoid to prevent exacerbating the problem. So if you want to sort your body out, just turn to the man (or woman) in the mirror.
JBL Reflect Flow Pro
The original Reflect Flow were some of the best wireless earbuds for exercise, and this Pro variant adds some very useful features indeed. Your £160 gets you a dust-tight, waterproof build that will withstand all the blood, sweat and tears that come its way, noise cancellation for blocking out unwanted sound, and some more advanced modes.
Such as? Ambient mode lets you let in some of your surrounding noise so you’re more aware of your environment (handy when you’re out running), while TalkThru lets in outside noise completely, but only temporarily, so you can hold a conversation without taking the earbuds out.
It’s a lot of tech for not much money. Pop them in and get moving.
Get the JBL Reflect Flow Pro
Independa telehealth app
If you thought watching TV was bad for your health, think again. LG announced recently that all of its TVs for this year and 2021 now come with the Independa telehealth app preinstalled. That means you can schedule and conduct doctor’s appointments through your TV.
Most of us have got used to having video appointments on our phone or tablets, but the big screen of a TV can be helpful if you’re suffering from poor eyesight. Plus it makes for the more relaxed setting of a lounge – how long can you hold a smartphone before your arm starts to ache?
You have to pay for each appointment, unless you’re covered by health insurance, so it’s a very different proposition from our trusty old NHS. Nevertheless, it could be the way things are going...
Sengled smart bulb
No, this one isn’t out of place on a round-up of health and fitness gadgets. Because while it is a smart home device, it also has added health benefits.
Namely heart rate tracking. The Smart Health Monitoring bulb uses radar technology to keep tabs on your ticker, monitor your body temperature and to track your sleep. It can work alone or as part of a mesh network, and can even work out if someone has fallen.
Its exact uses are a bit vague at present, with a launch date pencilled in for the end of the year. But it’s certainly a lot less obtrusive than wearing a wearable device or stashing a sleep monitor under your mattress.
Get the Sengled smart bulb