Keeping fit doesn't have to be a curse, a burden or the major item in your diary; with the right gear and the right approach, you'll be feeling (and looking)) better. Here are Gizmodo's favourite gadgets for giving exercise that geek touch, and Lifehacker's top strategies for staying in shape.
Exercise picture from Shutterstock
1. Jawbone Up
The Jawbone Up is a nifty little life-tracking gadget that monitors steps, food intake, calories, and most importantly, sleep. A great-looking app tracks your sleep and the quality of said shut-eye, before gently waking you up with a vibrating silent alarm. It’s designed to be worn 24/7, and doesn’t make you look like an idiot while doing so thanks to a pretty smart-looking design.
2. FitBit One
The FitBit One is the original fitness gadget. It’s a pedometer that clips onto your belt, bra, pants pocket, shirt or otherwise and tracks your steps and floors ascended throughout the day. By aid of a felt wrist strap, it clips onto your arm and acts as a sleep tracker and a silent alarm, too. It’s not as practical as the Jawbone Up, however, due to its slightly thinner form factor.
3. FItBit Zip
Need something a little cheaper than the FitBit One? Try the Zip: FitBit's lower cost alternative to its flagship. It has many of the same features, but the Zip doesn't have the ability to track the stairs you climb. Still great to help you stay aware of your fitness regime though.
4. Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor
The Mio Alpha is a revolution in heart rate monitoring. The most annoying thing about travel is the most annoying thing about fitness: fiddling with unnecessary crap. Normally, a heart rate monitor requires you to strap the thing to your chest and afterwards — if you’re travelling — you have to stick that sweaty band back in your suitcase. Gross. The Mio Alpha just slides around your wrist like a watch and gives you all the data you need in a quick and easy way. There are two green LEDs that shine into your skin on the back, and an electro-optical cell that senses the tiny changes in the colour of your skin, indicating the flow of your blood and thus your heart rate. It’s basically the same tech as medical oximeters that are used in hospitals, but miniaturised and wearable.
Runkeeper is a great app for marking and tracking your running progress. Don’t let yourself get cooped up in the hotel gym while you travel. Get out there and run around the city you came here to see, and track your progress with Runkeeper while you do it. Afterwards, you can post to Facebook that you did 20 laps around the Eiffel Tower.
Tips & Tricks
1. Schedule Exercise On Your Calendar
Say you can't find time to exercise? Make an appointment on your calendar, rather than just assuming you'll "fit it in". You don't need a massive amount of exercise to stay healthy; scheduling 30 minutes walking every other day is much better than a week of intensive gym activity followed by three weeks of faff all. Calendar picture from Shutterstock
2. Follow Our Routine
Not sure of the best way to exercise? Look no further than The Lifehacker Workout, a carefully-planned series of routines that you can follow every second day, complete with detailed video instructions. It's effective, but it won't take over your life (or your schedule).
3. Use Technology Wisely
Fitness tracking gadgets make it much easier to track your progress, but that progress still depends on you actually reaching those goals. Check out our guide to making the most of your fitness tracker without falling off the wagon. Need to choose an online tracking service? Here are our five favourites.
4. Master The Perfect Push-Up
It's an exercise classic, and it's all about technique. Follow our guide to push-up perfection and revel in your renewed strength.
5. Make The Music Matter
Creating an exercise playlist will inspire you to work out; it definitely beats putting up with whatever rubbish the gym chooses to play. Follow Lifehacker's guide to creating the ultimate exercise playlist and you'll be jumping to the beat in no time.
It's Improve Your Life Week! Throughout this week, Gizmodo and Lifehacker are joining forces to guide you through the gadgets and strategies you need to improve your life across the board.