The 10 Most Exciting Health and Fitness Gadgets for 2016
It’s a new year, and for many that means it’s time to think about new fitness gear. Getting (and staying) healthy and fit tops most people's list of New Year’s resolutions, so we’ve rounded up some gear that can help. Here are 10 of the coolest, newest gadgets that will keep you looking and feeling great this year.
The very idea of stepping on the scale may send you fleeing in fear. But anyone who knows anything about fitness will tell you that the number on the scale isn’t a true reflection of your health or well-being. That’s where the QardioBase Wireless Smart Scale comes in: It doesn’t even display your weight when you step on it. Instead, it gives you a gentle buzz to let you know it’s recorded your data — your weight, body-mass index, muscle mass, body-fat percentage and water and bone composition — and rewards you with a digital smile if you’re staying on track.
Information is displayed and tracked via the Qardio app (Android and iOS), which lets you see your progress toward your goals and how you’re trending over time. The QardioBase can’t work out for you, but it does almost everything else. It’s available now for $150.
2. Withings Thermo
Taking your temperature used to be something of an invasive experience, but not anymore. The Thermo from Withings takes your temperature without requiring that you stick anything anywhere in your body. This high-tech thermometer requires just a gentle touch to the forehead for its 16 sensors to go to work, providing an accurate temperature reading in just two seconds. The device connects to its companion app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, allowing you to track your temperature over time, along with any medication and/or additional symptoms. It’s expected to be available by spring 2016 and will retail for $100.
Chronic pain is a real, well, pain for a lot of people. But painkillers aren’t always healthy or helpful. Now, there’s a gadget — yes, a gadget — that can help. The Quell is a small device that is worn on the leg below the knee that uses wearable intensive nerve stimulation (WINS) to block pain. NeuroMetrix, the company that makes Quell, says 67 percent of Quell users reported a reduction in their consumption of pain medication after incorporating the device, which is slim enough to fit under most clothes. Quell can be worn around the clock (even while sleeping), and you can use it to track your sleep quality via Quell’s mobile app. Quell is available now for $249.
4. Under Armour Health Box
Just the name Under Armour is enough to get people interested in a product, but even without its brand name, the Under Armour Health Box is worthy of attention. This “connected fitness system” comprises a fitness band, heart-rate monitor, connected scale and a mobile app, which all work together to plan and analyze your health and nutrition.
The UA Band tracks your sleep, resting heart rate and steps, while the UA Heart Rate Monitor tracks your heart-rate zone and the intensity of your workouts, displaying real-time info on the UA Band. The UA Scale lets you see your weight and body-fat percentage. All of the devices sync with UA Record, the mobile app that lets you analyze your data, share it with others and create challenges with friends. The UA Health Box costs $400.
5. Jabra Wireless Sport Earbuds
Getting ready for a workout can mean grabbing a lot of a gear: clothes, sneakers, fitness band, heart-rate monitor, phone and headphones.
If you’re looking to lighten your load, consider Jabra’s line of Sports Audio products. It includes the $150 Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless, which is designed for runners and features an in-ear biometric heart rate monitor; the $120 Jabra Sport Coach Wireless, which offers in-ear audio coaching for cross-training and features a motion sensor; and the $70 Jabra Sport Pace Wireless, which let you plan and evaluate workouts using Jabra’s own Sport Life app. All of the headsets are available now.
6. Misfit Ray
The Misfit Ray doesn’t look like your average fitness wearable — because it’s not. Like any decent fitness tracker, the Ray tracks steps, distance traveled, calories burned, sleep and sleep quality. It also lets you tag specific workouts, such as yoga or biking. It’s waterproof to 50 meters, so it can be worn while swimming, and it features a battery life of about six months, so you rarely have to take it off.
If that’s not enough, the Ray delivers vibration alerts for calls and texts and connects with Misfit’s Link software, which lets you control things around you. That means you can use the Ray to turn lights on and off, take a selfie and change your music. It also does all of these things while looking more like a piece of jewelry than a fitness gadget. The Ray is made of aluminum and comes in black or rose gold. It features a tubular design that can be worn on the wrist or as a necklace. It will be available this spring for $100.
7. Skulpt Chisel
If your fitness goals center on losing fat and increasing muscle, the Skulpt Chisel is the gadget for you. You hold this small device — it’s about the size of a thicker, squatter smartphone — against your body, and it will measure your body-fat percentage and muscle quality.
But the Chisel doesn’t have a display; all information is delivered via Skulpt’s mobile app, which can track detailed data about as many as 24 different muscles. The app also lets you track your progress over time and share info with friends. The Chisel is available now for $99.
Anyone who’s ever tried to lose fat knows just how frustrating — and mysterious — it can be. LEVL, a fitness gadget unlike almost anything else, attempts to remove some of that mystery for you. This device lets you know whether or not your body is burning fat by testing your breath. (Yes, the breath that comes out of your mouth.) You breathe into LEVL and it measures the acetone concentration of your breath. According to Medamonitor, the company behind LEVL, acetone in your breath is a sign that your body is in a state called ketosis, when it is burning fat for energy. LEVL lets you see how your diet and exercise affect your body’s fat-burning capabilities and connects to a mobile app to track your progress over time. LEVL is expected to be available by summer 2016; the price has not been set.
9. Altra IQ
In what might be a sign that technology has completely taken over, Altra Running has announced the Altra IQ, a “smart” running shoe. These sneakers, which the company calls “a running coach in a box,” feature a multisensor system along the length of the midsole. They measure the speed of your cadence, how hard your foot strikes the ground, which part of your foot is striking first and more.
All of that information is synced to Altra’s mobile app (Android or iOS) via Bluetooth, where you can analyze your gait and more. The app offers real-time coaching and feedback on how to improve your running technique in order to better your time and avoid injury. The shoes are expected to be available in March for $200.
Any nutritionist or trainer will tell you that what you eat is just as important — if not more so — than how hard and long you work out. But knowing what’s in your food and keeping track of it if you’re trying to lose weight is no easy task.
Enter the DietSensor, an app and gadget that work together to scan your food and tell you what it’s made of. The DietSensor scanner uses sensors that scan the molecules in your food without having to come in contact with it, telling you the nutritional value of what you’re about to eat. It’s designed to help you make healthier choices before you begin to eat. The DietSensor is expected to be available in mid-2016. Pricing has not been announced.
Looking for more information on the above products? LIVESTRONG.COM's sister site Techwalla.com can help you research these gadgets — and many others— and directly compare all the top fitness bands, smartwatches and more.