Each week personal trainer Barb Gormley answers your most pressing fitness questions.
I like using fitness gadgets as they help keep me motivated. Do you have any great ones you could recommend for walkers and runners?
I love gadgets too, as they make working out a little more fun and that makes sticking to a routine a little bit easier. Here my top seven tried-and-true picks.
Kangoo Jumps (pictured)
Sure they’re pricey, but if you don’t mind attracting a little attention (okay a lot), check out Kangoo Jumps. Take a jog in the springy-soled shoes – they’re like inline skate boots with a curved blade on the sole that compresses and rebounds – and you’ll feel like you’re bouncing on a mini-trampoline. A friend who doesn’t like the jarring of running anymore can’t stop talking them up. If you’re not keen on bounding outdoors in public, a few ahead-of-the-curve clubs offer choreographed classes with moves like kicks, jumping jacks and rabbit hops.
Solve the no-pocket dilemma with a zipperless wrist cuff. It looks like a tennis wrist band, but its fancy folds can securely hold ID, money, a key and even a small cell phone.
If you’re pregnant, have extra pounds around your waist or are just feeling lazy, putting on your exercise shoes can be a hurdle between you and your workout. A quick solution: switch your shoelaces for the stretchy version (I get mine at The Running Room). You’ll never need to tie or untie your running shoes again. Just slide in your feet, and before you know it you’ll be out the door!
Watch with countdown timer
If you’re a runner, you’re likely familiar with the power of run/walk intervals. A watch with a countdown timer (like my Timex Ironman) lets you avoid constantly checking your wrist and doing the mental math. Instead, you can relax and focus on the scenery, conversation or your running technique and let the beeps from the watch tell you when it’s time to change your pace.
Light your way in the early morning or evening with a solar-powered running cap. Less geeky and lighter than a headlamp, a well-disguised solar panel on the brim powers two tiny but powerful LED bulbs that light up the road in front of your feet. It’s also perfect for reading in bed when you’re camping and late-night walks from the car to the cottage when your arms are loaded with supplies.
Now you can use your iPhone and iTouch to pace your walks and runs. The Cadence app browses your music collection for songs that are just the right tempo. Need help during hills? Set it to choose fast-paced tunes to pump up your energy. Planning a long, slow workout? Program it to pick mellower songs that keep your enthusiasm in check.
Snap one of these step-counting gizmos (I like the ones from StepsCount) onto to your waistband to find out just how active you really are. Before you know it you’ll be begging to walk the dog, taking an extra lap around the mall and finishing the day with a jaunt through the neighbourhood to hit the daily gold standard of 10,000 steps. Give it a try. Bet you’ll get hooked!
Barb Gormley is a certified personal trainer and a freelance health and fitness writer. You can contact her at www.barbgormley.com.