By Ted Vickey
These eight apps and gadgets may very well change the way you approach fitness, nutrition and overall health in 2015.
1. ResMed s+
This system essentially monitors everything going on in your room—and in your body—that affects your sleep. It detects breathing patterns, ambient light, noise, temperature and how much you toss and turn. Record what you eat and what kind of exercise you do. The goal is to paint an overall picture of your sleep patterns and to pinpoint what might be interrupting them.
Pact encourages users to make healthier choices by putting money on the line. You can make weekly pacts to exercise more or eat healthier, or log your meals on MyFitnessPal.com. Every day you break your pact, you lose $5 or $10. But live up to your word, and you earn anywhere from 30 cents to $5 per week—courtesy of those who broke their pacts.
3. LG’s Heart Rate Earphones
Track your heart rate, listen to music and make phone calls via Bluetooth—all with the same set of earphones. The audio quality is good (if not outstanding), and the earphones can send data to LG’s Lifeband fitness band, the LG Fitness smartphone app or both.
4. Apple HealthKit
Apple’s Health app works as a fitness tracker, assessing movement throughout the day. HealthKit presents this data, along with data from a variety of apps, all in one place. Working with the Mayo Clinic, HealthKit also aims to connect users directly with doctors, keeping users updated on wellness plans, and doctors updated on their patients’ health data.
5. Microsoft Band
Microsoft Band fulfills all the functions of a wearable fitness tracker, but adds the functions of a smartphone—notifications on incoming calls, Facebook updates, calendar alerts and more. It includes a GPS system, tracks sleep patterns and works with just about any existing phone.
6. Google Fit
Fit works as a health and fitness tracker, but also brings together data from third-party platforms—such as popular apps like Withings and Runkeeper. Fit is adding more partnerships, aiming to be compatible with a wide variety of apps and gadgets, making it the go-to source for users (and health specialists) to outline virtually any pattern, set any goal or track any plans.
7. Jaybird Reign
Should all forms of exercise be judged by the same standards? The Jaybird Reign doesn’t think so. It’s a fitness tracker that uses different settings for activities like running, swimming and cycling. It also works as a sleep tracker, and can tell you when your body is ready to exercise, when you can continue moving and when it’s time to take it easy.
8. Muse Headband
The Muse Headband, based on EEG technology, detects brain signals during three-minute sessions of focused attention. It’s like a heart-rate monitor for your head. Muse connects to smartphones and tablets to display mental patterns, such as stress levels and attention span. The exercises serve to enhance your mental fitness and ability to relax, which is important to overall health.