Tired of the same old workout? Exercise and nutrition scientist Kathleen Alleaume uncovers the best fitness devices to give your workout that extra ‘oomph’.
A pedometer is a great way to increase your activity levels since it makes you more conscious of just how much you’re moving — and it will improve your chances of taking a few extra steps each day. This is all you need to keep track of your daily activity and keep you motivated. For as little as $30 you can find them at most sports stores and department stores.
A virtual program called Nike+ lets your iPod nano talk to your Nike Sports Shoes with the wireless Nike+ iPod Sport Kit. Your iPod’s display screen will give you information about your workout such as the time lapsed, distance completed and calories burned. You can buy the program through the online Apple Store. Nike+ iPod Sensor, $40, plus the shoes from $140.
If you have limited time (and space) for exercise, a jump rope may be just the thing for you. It’s portable, cheap and can be done anywhere. Just 10 to 20 minutes is enough to burn 490kJ to 980kJ, improve your cardiovascular fitness, tone your muscles and achieve an entire-body workout. Prices start from around $15 and jump ropes can be found in most major department stores and sports outlets.
Heart rate monitors
This user-friendly device can help you find the right pace and intensity of exercise to achieve your goals. It monitors the rate of your heart during exercise to ensure you stay within your target heart rate (THR) zone: the desired heart rate that allows you to exercise safely while getting maximum benefits from your workout. Training in this zone (usually at moderate intensity) has been shown to reduce body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol, and has a low risk of injury. Prices start from around $120. Available at most sports stores.
Resistance band training is very beneficial for people who are looking for simple, inexpensive fitness equipment that can be handled easily. Lightweight and compact, the bands provide continuous resistance throughout each movement, making it an effective way to build muscle and burn fat. Prices start from around $30. Available from most major sports outlets and www.amazon.com.
Best fitness apps
A free app to coach you through your workout in any sport.
Run Mate (US$3.99)
Design your own running program or use one of the pre-programmed workouts.
All-in Fitness (US$1.29)
HD video, photos and audio clips detailing more than 700 exercises and yoga poses.
*Note: Prices are approximate and may vary due to time, vendor and availability.