We love gadgets for work and play and even to help understand our sleeping habits. Now a whole new generation of fitness tech has come of age, to help deliver results with a smarter and more efficient interface than ever before.
Remember when everyone was exercising with a Wii and doing “Dance Dance Revolution” in their living rooms? Now you can get out of the house without ever leaving the living room, via a variety of apps you pair up with a virtual reality headset. Beat Saber is like the game Fruit Ninja, but you’re slicing through music beats; Hot Squat gets you standing and squatting in an alternate universe; and Nature Treks VR takes you on a hike through any of 300 scenes, including serene forests, snow-dusted meadows and even underwater. Amp up your experience with some specialized equipment from Icaros that can intensify the feeling of free-falling, diving and flying.
Move over cheapo earbuds, hello Halo Neuroscience Sport’s next-level headphones. These more-than-meets-the-eye models send a specific electrical signal to the brain for “neuropriming,” which, during physical training, increases strength, explosiveness, endurance and muscle memory.
The USA Cycling team first test-drove these Solos smart sunglasses, which give feedback on your biking or running performance. You can see how well you’re doing in comparison to past training sessions; analyze per-lap data; and navigate turns with a map and/or audio and visual cues. You can even share results on Twitter and Facebook and pipe in your own music.
Under Armour’s HOVR mesh cushioning system promises an “energy web” that better cushions the foot on impact and “returns” the energy to the body for more endurance and comfort. There’s also an embedded sensor that connects with the MapMyRun app to wirelessly collect information such as stride length, distance and shoe life. There are two versions, the Sonic (a mid-top) and Phantom (a low-top).
Sensoria athletic bras and shirts have heart-rate monitors built right in. They also couple with proprietary and third-party apps to add functionality, while they wick away moisture. And upping the ante on “smart wool,” the company’s socks are designed to count steps and calories, keep track of speed and even coach the wearer on safer ways to run.
Be your own best teacher: Nadi X offers self-correcting yoga pants that have sensors in the hips, knees and ankles that gently vibrate to guide you into the best possible positions during your practice, which you can do with an accompanying app.
Nestled at the intersection of an Apple Watch, an iPod and a Fitbit, the Garmin Forerunner 645 wearable has capacity to store 500 songs and can track performance, capture your heart rate and relay payment information so you can leave cash and cards at home. The watch synchs to your smartphone and is compatible with running (indoor, outdoor or treadmill), biking, swimming, paddle sports and lots more.
This is just a small sampling of smart gear on the market—if you’re serious about shopping and want to take a deeper dive, visit Tom’s Guide for a wealth of information. You can also head to the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 to be the first at the gym or on the track to discover the most innovative products, some of which are still only a twinkle in their inventor’s eye.