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Tech gadgets to get you fit and healthy for the summer

Let's be honest, many of us spend far more time sitting that is good for us. I know that's true for me, so I decided to use tech to combat the problem that tech had caused.
Introduction
1 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Get fit, get healthy!

Lets be honest, many of us spend far more time sitting that is good for us. I know that's true for me, so I decided to use tech to combat the problem that tech had caused.

Want to lose weight? Keep a track of your steps or sleep? Blood pressure or blood glucose levels? There's a device here to help you with all that, and more.

Fitbit Alta HR
2 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Fitbit Alta HR

There are a lot of fitness bands out there, and it can be a bit hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. I wanted a band that tracked my steps and heart rate, ideally did sleep tracking, and had a decent battery life.

I opted for the Fitbit Alta HR.

Things I like:

  • Accurate measurement of steps and heart rate
  • Simple design
  • Easy to use (both the device and the app)
  • The "reminder to move" and silent alarm features are really useful
  • Decent battery life (up to seven days, but I get about five or six)
  • Interchangeable bands (so when the original one breaks, it's not the end of the line)

Things I don't like

  • Not rated as waterproof (although it's survived several accidental trips into the shower, so it seems pretty robust)
  • Tapping the screen to bring up the display can be a bit awkward
  • Display a bit dim for bright sunshine

Overall

Awesome bit of kit which really helped get me moving.

Price: $149.95 - $179.95

Tangram Factory Smart Rope LED Jump Rope
3 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Tangram Factory Smart Rope LED Jump Rope

The Tangram Factory Smart LED Jump Rope uses 23 LEDs in the rope connected to magnetic sensors, you can see your fitness data in mid-air as you jump. They flash at thousands of times per minute, using persistence of vision as the rope moves over you to display your fitness data in mid-air.

Two sets of ball bearings in each handle guarantee smooth, natural motion.

Things I like:

  • Smooth skipping
  • The persistence of vision trick really works

Things I don't like

  • I'm awful at skipping!

Price: $79.99

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor
4 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor

With so many things going on in the world that are likely to push my blood pressure up, I thought it was a good idea to keep an eye on that metric (because, as the old adage goes, "what gets measured gets managed").

After considering several alternatives, I settled on the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, and I wasn't disappointed.

Things I like:

  • Self-contained (no pipes and separate pumps)
  • Easy to use (both the device and the app)
  • Very sleek design
  • Comfortable cuff
  • Single button operation
  • Easy integration with the Withings app
  • Can average out three results
  • Multi-user support

Things I don't like

  • Takes AA batteries as opposed to being rechargeable
  • A bit noisy

Overall

A simple way to keep an eye on your blood pressure, and if there are any results that cause concern, it points them out clearly and simply.

Price: $99.95

Withings Body Cardio
5 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Withings Body Cardio

I've never been one to jump on the scales regularly, but it was time to get this fixed. And if I could keep an eye on a few other metrics while I'm at it, so much the better.

Also, since I'm not likely to have a pen or paper with me, I wanted something that would log the results and send them to my iPhone.

I was intrigued by the capabilities of the Withings Body Cardio, so decided to take a chance on it, and I'm pleased I did.

Things I like:

  • Sleek design
  • A snap to set up
  • Measures weight, fat mass, muscle mass, water mass, bone mass, heart rate and arterial health
  • Rechargeable (12 months between recharges)
  • Tempered glass top
  • Easy integration with the Withings app
  • Multi-user support

Things I don't like

  • Bit fiddly to initially know where you're supposed to stand for the heart rate and arterial health monitors to work

Overall

Flawless performance over the three months I've been using it!

Price: $179.95

Dyson Pure Cool Link
6 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Dyson Pure Cool Link

I don't know about you, but I like to have a fan for the hot summer days (and nights) but hate the noise (not to mention the dust) that regular fans emit. I've been looking at Dyson's offerings for a few years and this year decided to take the plunge and go for a Dyson Pure Cool Link.

Things I like:

  • Awesome build quality
  • Quiet operation (especially at low speeds)
  • Silent oscillation
  • Can be scheduled to come on at different times
  • Emits filtered air
  • Monitors the air quality and can be set to come on automatically in air quality becomes poor
  • Controllable using remote control and from the app

Things I don't like

  • Not cheap
  • Replacement filters (which last about a year) are expensive
  • Fans are much bigger than you expect them to be (I was surprised just how big to be honest)

Overall

I've always been impressed by the quality of Dyson stuff, and this is no different.

Price: $399.99

Philips goLite Blu Energy Light
7 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Philips goLite Blu Energy Light

I've noticed how if I don't get enough natural light (and since I live in the UK, that's can be quite a challenge) I start to slow down and become lethargic. On the recommendation of several people I got myself a Philips goLite Blu Energy Light and my winter blues have completely gone.

Things I like:

  • Compact
  • Simple operation (one button)
  • Three brightness settings

Things I don't like

  • Stand is a bit wobbly

Overall

I have to admit that I was initially skeptical that this would have any effect on me, but after a few days of use I was converted. Now I try to get about 30 minutes of use a day (summer and winter) in the morning just to keep me topped up.

Price: $99.00

AgaMatrix Wavesense Jazz 2
8 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

AgaMatrix Wavesense Jazz 2

I'm not diabetic (or even pre diabetic) but given that the condition runs in my family, I thought it a good idea to keep an eye on things. To handle this task I chose the AgaMatrix Wavesense Jazz 2.

Things I like:

  • Compact
  • Simple to use
  • Connects to the app easily
  • Cheap
  • Doesn't need much blood and is fast at giving a result

Things I don't like

  • It's so small that it's easily lost if you don't keep it in the carry case!

Overall

I never thought that keeping an eye on my blood glucose levels could be so much fun, and while I don't need to do this, it's interesting to note how different foods have an effect on my levels.

Price: $23.99

Muse
9 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Muse

I really didn't think that I needed a headband that could monitor my brain activity and help me meditate better, but after trying Muse a few times, I was hooked. Not only are the guided meditations peaceful and relaxing, I've noticed improvements in my blood pressure from regular usage.

Things I like:

  • It's weird!
  • Third-party app support extends the functionality
  • It only takes a few minutes a day
  • The guided meditations are relaxing and interesting

Things I don't like

  • Can be a bit fiddly to get the fitting right the first few times
  • Expensive

Overall

Come on, it's a headband that can detect brainwave activity - just that alone makes this a pretty cool bit of kit - but I have to say that I find that incorporating some meditation into my day has been good for me. Whether I need a Muse to do this is debatable, but it certainly helped me.

Price: $249.99

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