New innovations in health and fitness technology



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The fitness market is crowded with gadgets. It’s tempting to buy tons of toys and trinkets when you’re establishing a healthy lifestyle, but it’s important to know which ones are worth your time. Check out some of the latest tech toys for fitness fanatics.


Stashing your stuff


Whether you’re running outdoors or heading to the gym for a session with the elliptical, chances are you’re going to have to carry some things with you.

Say good-bye to bulky fanny packs and bulging pockets. FlipBelt streamlines the fanny pack concept with its slim tube design in which the entire belt can hold your items, including a phone, cash, keys and much more. The FlipBelt is made of lightweight Lycra and micro-poly fabric and can be worn with the openings facing inward to help secure your stuff. This belt comes in a range of sizes. Unfortunately, the belt isn’t waterproof, which may pose a problem. According to the website, Lycra dries quickly but putting your electronics in plastic bags before stowing them in your belt will help keep them safe and dry.


Perfectly plated


Fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand when adhering to a healthy lifestyle, as we showed a few months ago when we argued that you can't sweat away a bad diet. A recent report from the New York Times agrees, stating that eating less is more important for weight loss than increasing exercise. Measuring cups and spoons have helped portion control enthusiasts for ages, but new technology seeks to update the process.

The Orange Chef Prep Pad is a device that promises to take the guess work out of portioning your meal. The Prep Pad is a scale that works in concert with an iOS-compatible app, Countertop, to help you balance your meals by calculating correct portions based on USDA recommendations. It also works with the Jawbone UP device. Several factors such as your height and weight come into play when customizing your profile, so the data fits your needs.

There are some really interesting features to the Orange Chef Co. Prep Pad and the Countertop app. You can search for foods manually or use the barcode scanner feature via Countertop. The app has a visually appealing display that updates the balance of your meal as you add or subtract food to the pad and provides a comparison between your actual meal and the goals you set based on your profile. There’s also the option to see a full nutrient list, and you can calculate the nutritional value of recipes. You can also save your meal breakdowns and even share them via social media and email.

That’s not to say the Orange Chef Prep Pad system is foolproof. According to a review in PC Magazine, the Countertop app’s food database is limited, which can make searching for a particular item frustrating and time-consuming, and logging multiple foods can be confusing. PC also points out that the pad isn’t portable, but this seems like a handy kitchen tool for those learning about portion size and proper nutrition.


Winter warmer


Layering is the go-to technique for staying warm in frigid temperatures, with down fill vests and jackets being a classic option. One company, however, has employed exciting technology that eschews down fill altogether in favor of compressed air. That’s right, with NuDown, all the warmth you need comes courtesy of an air pump hidden inside the pocket of each garment, offering adjustable insulation. NuDown’s line of outerwear for men and women comes in three styles: The Mount Whitney Vest, Squaw Peak Jacket and Mount Tallac Jacket, all of which are available in a variety of attractive colors. Each utilizes NuTech, an air pump technology that allows you to inflate the garment when you need more warmth and release air when you need less. NuDown outerwear, which was tested at the Institute for Environmental Research at Kansas State University, is made from durable, weather resistant Polartec fabrics and PrimaLoft Gold microfiber insulation. The garments offer four-way stretch and breathable linings to keep you dry.

All of this innovation comes at a price. Items range from $450 to a whopping $800. Also, as Gear Patrol mentions in their largely positive review of NuDown’s Mount Whitney Vest, “there is the risk factor that you’re relying on a mechanical pump for your warmth, and perhaps your survival, and pumps can break at the worst times, leaving you cold.” However, the eco-friendly and personalized approach to insulation is intriguing.

Health and fitness technology is evolving every day, from the way we dress to how we eat. Which of these would you try?