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Technology for staying in shape

Over the last few years, more and more people have been using technology to help get in shape, watch their weight, or otherwise monitor their health. First there were “active” video games, which were originally inspired by the Wii but which now seem to have found a more permanent home with Kinect for Xbox 360. And more recently we have seen a slew of workout and weight-watching apps, which attempt to turn your smartphone into your fitness coach.

Now, further advances in technology have given rise to a wave of “smart” fitness devices, including activity trackers, workout watches, and more. These devices can be stand-alone or they can combine with web sites and mobile apps to provide a comprehensive health and fitness program, including tips, feedback, a support network, and even motivational music. Here are a few of our favorites:

MotoACTV Bluetooth Smart Health Tracker & Music Player

The MotoACTV is a GPS fitness tracker and smart music player combined into one small, wearable device. All the details of your running, walking or biking workout are tracked and stored online, including your speed, distance and calories burned. The music player holds multiple playlists and “learns” what music motivates you. The MotoACTV is sweatproof, rain resistant and scratch resistant. The MotoACTV Training Portal even allows you to set up races with family and friends!

RRP: from $149.99

FitBit Ultra Wireless Activity Tracker

The new FitBit Ultra tracks your complete daily activity, including number of steps taken, distance travelled, floors climbed and calories burned. It can also measure how long and how well you sleep. All information is wirelessly uploaded to Fitbit.com, where you can log food intake, workout specifics, and more. The FitBit Ultra syncs with an increasing number of nutrition and fitness apps like LoseIt!, RunKeeper and MapMyFitness. Includes a clock and stopwatch.

RRP: $99.99

Scosche Fitness Bundle

The perfect accessory bundle for the serious workout enthusiast. The Scosche Fitness Bundle features an adjustable armband to house virtually any smartphone, iPod or other device; a pair of sweatproof and water resistant earbuds, featuring the slideLINE to manage music and video playback; and an integrated microphone for hands-free conversation and voice commands. The armband includes reflective accents for outdoors running. There is also three months free gold membership to MapMyRUN.com.

RRP: $59.99

Polar RS100 Heart Rate Monitor

A perfect device for beginners, the Polar RS100 provides accurate heart rate read-outs as well as the number of calories burned. The OwnZone feature allows you to set up your own heart rate targets and offers guidance on how to train at the right intensity. The Polar RS100 comes with the Polar Uplink Tool, which allows you to edit and transmit your own settings. Includes date and calendar features for use as a regular watch.

RRP: $119.95

Withings WiFi Body Scale

And finally, the ultimate fitness truth – the bathroom scale! But this isn’t just any scale. The Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale allows you to record all your weight readings to your own secure web page, including body mass index (BMI) and fat/lean mass ratios. You can use any web browser (or free iPhone or Android apps) to access your data, as well as health and workout tips to help stay motivated. Comes in black or white and the automatic recognition feature tracks up to 8 users per scale.

RRP: $159

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