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A young girl running for exercise.
A young girl running for exercise. Jordan Siemens—Getty Images

How to Get in Shape Using Technology: 6 New Gadgets You Have to Have

Once upon a time, mashed potatoes were stick-to-your-ribs food. Nowadays, they just pile on your waist. Still, come Turkey Day, there’s no way you’ll be able to resist an extra helping, and with today’s fitness trackers, you won’t have to.

Helping people to quantify their activity and catalog their calories, the latest smart health gear doesn’t just serve up heaping spoonfuls of data, they also give you new inspiring ways to get healthy. Catapult from the couch to the gym — after your post Thanksgiving dinner nap, of course — with these six gadget-driven fitness tricks:

Stop Sucking Wind

If you’ve ever laced up and hit the pavement only to suck wind — hard — Adidas Fit Smart will help you to slow down and build your respiratory and cardio skills back up gradually. Using a color-based heart rate display that shows users how hard they’re exerting themselves (blue is resting, green is active, orange and red are pushing it), the $199 wristwatch also syncs with expertly organized fitness plans via Adidas’s MiCoach system.

Of course, when it comes to fitness trackers, people tend to overlook Adidas, but through MiCoach, they have been in the game longer than almost anyone, and their platform is full of training regimens for runners whether they are just aspirational or already highly competitive.

Comfort is Key

The biggest problem for people who use fitness trackers is finding the motivation to wear one all the time. Sure, the bigger the gadget (and the more of them) the better the data, but sometimes having the freedom to move is all about feeling free when you actually do move. Women, burdened with chest-strangling sports bras, have it worse than men — unless they don a Sensoria Fitness Sports Bra.

This $149 combination heart-rate monitor and support garment embeds textile sensors into its light, moisture-wicking fabric. The no-fuss sensor is a natural fit on the chest, and with low-energy Bluetooth technology connecting it to your smartphone, it will last up to eight months before the battery needs to be replaced. In addition, the heart rate monitor is compatible with Strava, Runkeeper, and MapMyRun, top fitness-tracking apps for your smartphone.

Get Fighter Pilot Fit

Exercise can feel like drudgery, but instead of thinking of yourself as a slob, imagine yourself as an elite athlete — after all, that’s how athletic companies think of you. For instance, Nike may have developed sneakers for Michael Jordan, but they made a lot more money selling them to aspiring ballers like yourself. So next time you suit up, give yourself some credit. Lifebeam Hat actually packs technology that has helped track fighter pilots’ vitals mid-flight. A lightweight, breathable $99 running hat, it has sensors that measure heart rate, steps, and calories burned, sending this data along to ANT+ equipped devices or to smartphones via an embedded, low-energy Bluetooth chip. And if you’d rather ride than run, Lifebeam has a bicycle helmet version, too.

Watch Your Waist, Not Your Wallet

Gym memberships are only guaranteed to make your wallet slimmer, and they could fail at helping you lose weight. And though expensive, touchscreen, heart rate-monitoring trackers are currently all the rage, they also offer that same empty promise. Meanwhile, inexpensive activity monitors like the Misfit Flash take much less investment and can offer the same immense upside.

Discrete, waterproof, and versatile, the $49-for-pre-order, disc-shaped device can be worn on the wrist, belt, or even around the neck to monitor steps, calories burned, distance covered, and sleep quality. It’s always on and has a battery that lasts up to six months, syncing to your smartphone via low energy Bluetooth. But at that low a price, Flash lacks something that other, more expensive trackers bring to the table — the guilt over how much you spent on it.

Listen to Your Heart

According to a 2014 study by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, music can help joggers shut out the world, run faster, bounce back more quickly, and heck, even enjoy themselves more. It’s all very technical, but then again you probably knew all that already — because who doesn’t enjoy working out to their favorite jams? If you want to recreate the science for yourself, pop on the LG Heart Rate Monitor Earphone. As the name implies, the $179 headphones can catch your pulse while pumping out your favorite music, beaming everything back and forth to your smartphone via Bluetooth. In addition, with a workout voice guide and a playback control remote, you can skip all the mellow stuff when it tells you how slow you’re going, and crank up the volume on your power tracks to give yourself — and your research — a little extra kick.

Make Fitness An Always-On Activity

If you haven’t said it yourself already, be assured that experts are screaming it from the rooftops: desk jobs are killing us. Whether it’s doing laps around the office or taking walks around the neighborhood, everyone needs to insert some more movement into their day and to make fitness an ongoing effort. The discrete and comfortable Garmin VivoSmart can keep you moving by counting steps, measuring other health metrics like heart rate and calories burned and helping you reach your daily goals. Like smartwatches, the slim, $169 band has an OLED display that can display notifications from your Bluetooth-synced smartphone, letting you see everything from who’s calling to the content of your text messages. But most importantly, it gives you periodic reminders to get up and stretch your legs, even vibrating on your wrist to jostle you out of your seat.

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