Spring has sprung and that means summer is right around the corner. If you still haven't worked off those extra winter pounds, it's high time to start before swimsuit and tank top weather cruelly arrives. Luckily, there are new mobile accessories that harness wireless technology, competitive behavior, social media, and other online tools to help couch potatoes catch the exercise bug.
Even if your goal isn't to become the next Ironman Triathlon winner, getting into a regular exercise routine can be a challenge. In today's digitally amped-up, always-on, yet increasingly sedentary age, simply dropping what you're doing and taking a 15-minute walk is difficult. A slew of new products from sports heavyweights such as Nike, experienced mobile manufacturers like Jawbone, and spunky startups like Fitbit plan to slyly use this ultraconnected world to spur you into action.
The game becomes the goal
I guess it's no surprise that the gamification craze, collecting badges and touting achievements to taunt Facebook friends and Twitter followers, should hit the personal fitness market, too. Kids naturally know that exercise and gameplay are two sides of the same coin and that friendly competition can make any sport more fun. Perhaps it's time we adults embraced our inner child. We at CNET reviewed these cutting-edge gadgets and love how they strive to make having fun a way to get fit.
The undisputed king of motivational slogans, Nike has made a compelling fitness device that wins points for style and doubles as a watch with a wild LED display. The Nike FuelBand slips around the wrist and displays your exercise stats on its slick-looking screen. It also pushes users to earn NikeFuel points by being active and encourages ribbing of FuelBand-owning friends over Facebook and Twitter. The FuelBand connects wirelessly to iOS devices via Bluetooth, but if you're devoted to Android you're out of luck. Read the full review of the Nike+ FuelBand.
A powerful, versatile, and comfortable fitness tracker
Fitbit's latest fitness tracker, the Flex, is our all-around favorite for its flexibility and comprehensive list of features. It straps to your wrist to measure the steps you take, calories burned, and even the quality of your sleep. The Flex is also light and easy to wear around the clock, plus it syncs data wirelessly via Bluetooth with PCs, Macs, iPhones, and compatible Android phones. Read the full review of the Fitbit Flex.
Track fitness and sleep with Jawbone's updated Up
Newly redesigned and now capable of syncing with Android handsets as well as iOS devices, the wrist-style fitness tracker is more compelling than ever. The device may not be quite as comfortable to wear as the Fitbit Flex but comes in a close second, plus it's durable and easy to slip on and off. While the Up lacks the Flex's wireless syncing abilities, its battery goes longer between charges. It's also capable of recording steps, calories burned, and how well you slumber. Read the full review of the Jawbone Up.
A fitness tracker for all
If you'd like to get in on the personal fitness-tracking trend but want to keep costs low, Fitbit's Zip may be more your speed. At $59.95, it features many of the same features found in the company's pricier gadgets but for less cash. Like the Fitbit One and the Flex, the Zip records steps you make and the calories you power through. It also syncs with PCs, Macs, and phones via wireless Bluetooth connection and is water-resistant. Read the full review of the Fitbit Zip.
Compare these fitness gadgets head to head.