ARE FITNESS BANDS RELIABLE?

The information you get from “fitness” bands may be off by as much as 40 percent, according to Gregory Welk, an Iowa State University kinesiology professor, who tested seven of them. The top two bands were off just over 15 percent and the worst one was off 40 percent. There were $1.4 billion worth of these fitness trackers sold last year and the market continues to be hot. Professor Welk admits they’re still a valuable tool to achieve fitness.

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THE APPLE WATCH COMPETITION

Apple Watch reviews have been mixed. Some functions are unnecessary, and others take too long to learn. The $349 price isn’t too appealing either, and you have to have an iPhone to go with it.  We wondered what the alternatives were, so tried out three Android watches. You have to have an Android phone. Of the three, we liked the $179 “Motorola Moto 360” best. It’s half the price of the new “LG Watch Urbane” and $20 less than the new “Asus ZenWatch.” The round-faced Urbane  gets high marks for stylishness, though, with its metal rim and a handsome band. The rectangular ZenWatch is also attractive. But for Joy, our master tester, these two lost out to the less-expensive Moto […]

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NUMBERS REPORT: FITNESS TRACKERS

Forty percent of people who bought fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, stop using them within six months, according to a survey of 5000 people by NPD Group. Joy stopped using the Misfit Flash after losing it, and is only one month into the Garmin VivoFit (original version). The survey claimed people are more likely to use the waterproof and rugged versions. Joy likes how the VivoFit reminds her to get up and move around for two minutes every hour.

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GET MOVING

We read about a guy who lost 140 pounds playing “Ingress,” a free Android/iPhone game that gets you moving about in the real world (whatever that is). You the player can choose to be on the side of the “Enlightened” or the “Resistance” as you search for power nodes that connect with another universe.

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KEEP BREATHING –‘SPIRE’ HELPS COLUMNIST BREATH EASY

Joy is a mouth breather and was wondering if she breathes irregularly. So she got one these new $150 fitness tracker “Spire” to monitor her breathing and emotions — stress levels — as well as her steps. It has notions: When Joy did a backbend today, a pop-up message immediately suggested she calm down. The Spire said she hadn’t been calm for hours. “Who says I’m not calm!” Joy is demanding as we type. Spire looks like one of those smooth flat stones you pick up on river bottoms; it has a clip to attach to your shirt or pants. It goes with an app for your iPhone or iPad. (Android app coming up soon.) The app shows three flower […]

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A FLIP OF THE WRIST

The Misfit Flash we wrote about a few months ago is expanding. Not literally, of course, but the features are expanding to track and control a lot more than your fitness exercises.

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FITNESS TRACKING

The oddly-named “Misfit Shine,” our favorite fitness tracker, will be out in October in a new version, this time for $50 instead of the original $100. It’s called the “Misfit Flash.”

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BLOOD PRESSURE WILL TELL

Twenty-five percent of the world’s population has high blood pressure (we love statistics). We suspect some of it is “white coat” syndrome, the kind you get in doctor’s offices. This was once an annoyance to Joy, but her home monitor shows her pressure is normally 110 over 70, with a heart rate of 48 or 50. (Very fit, Joy.)

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GETTING SMARTER

We previously wrote about “Lumosity” for brain training on your computer for around $5 a month. Now there’s also “Fit Brains Trainer” from FitBrains.com, which is free. There’s also an app for tablets and phones.

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IT’S A BREEZE

Here’s a gadget for sailors, kite surfers, paragliders, and anyone who wants or needs to monitor the wind. The “Vaavud is a spinning wind meter that connects to the iPhone, iPad, iPod or Samsung Galaxy S2 or S3. It’s $45 from BiteMyApple.

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