I’ll admit it – through the winter, I can get pretty lazy…Idon’t want to go outside to exercise, and when I’m at home it’s too easy tojust sit in front of the TV with a bag of chips. So, of course, I always windup putting on a few pounds through the winter.
Now that spring’s around, it’s time to start thinking ofgetting back into shape. Instead of paying money on a gym membership (which Iknow I’ll never end up using), it’s much easier to take advantage of somethingthat I already have in my pocket: my smartphone. Teamed with my willpower –plus a handy hardware accessory or two – and I’m ready to start getting into shape again.
MapMyRide GPS Cycling
Now that every smartphone has a GPS built right in, it’s fairly easy tohave your phone keep track of your exercising patterns. For me, the easiest wayto get regular exercise is by riding my bike to work. Thankfully, there are anumber of free apps you can use to track your rides; the best of them offer notonly basic tracking capabilities, but also the ability to network with friendsand other riders. Both MapMyRide and EveryTrail can show you your progress on amap, and then upload your ride to their site after you’re done your ride. Both willalso track your progress over time, so you can see if you’re improving yourspeed and time. Add some of your friends who also use the app, and you’ll haveincentive to ride home the long way every so often.
Biologic BikeMountfor Android
During my rides with my smartphone, I found it extremely helpful to have aproper mount for the phone. With a handlebar mount for an Android device, notonly does it allow me to monitor my progress in realtime thanks to have thescreen right in front of my eyes at all times, but it also allows me to stopworrying that my phone is going to fly out of my pocket onto the pavement.Dahon’s Biologic BikeMount system has an Android-specific mount ($45) thatcomes with interchangeable inserts ($10 each) that fit a limited number ofAndroid phones.
Fitbit Zip / One
Tracking your bike trips is all fine and dandy, but a lot of people get a lotmore exercise from walking than they realize. Fitbit is a clip-on hardwaredevice that measures just how much you walk around each and every day; all youhave to do is clip it to the edge of your pocket, and it’ll measure each andevery step you take. The Fitbit Zip ($60) and the Fitbit One ($100) both comewith a USB dongle you can plug into your computer to syncing stats to theFitbit website, but you can also connect the Fibit directly to your Androidphone using Bluetooth, and sync using the FitBit app. The Fitbit app canmanually track your food intake, your weight, and how much water you’ve hadduring the day. And, of course, there’s also a social component – you can linkup with your friends on the Fitbit website, and use their stats as incentive todo better. (My boss Mark probably walks about ten kilometers every day justwhile he’s talking on the phone, so I’ve got a long way to go to catch up.)
Withings WirelessScale WS-30
Feeling good is important, but for a lot of folks the whole business ofgetting fitter boils down to hitting a target weight. But let’s be honest: youraverage scale is pretty boring, and logging your weight every day can betedious. The Withings Wireless Scale ($100) automatically connects to your WiFinetwork every time you stand on it, and uploads your current weight to yourmyWithings account. (If you have more than one person keeping track of theirweight in the house, the scale is designed to recognize multiple users in thesame house.) You can access your current weight and weight goal at any timeusing the Withings Health Mate app (which you can also use to do the initialconfiguration of the scale, via Bluetooth). The app is also designed tointerface with the RunKeeper or BodyMedia FIT apps, if you want to add in yourphysical activity, or the Zeo app, if you want to track your sleep (note: requires Zeo headband hardware); you canalso manually track your blood pressure.