5 Ways to Reach Your Health and Fitness Goals this Year

Fitness  / 

Whether your new year's resolution is to get in shape, stay in shape, or do just enough to be able to face yourself in the mirror every day, the best way to get there is with a little help. And you're in luck: You happen to be living smack in the middle of a technology boom where everything from your laptop to your phone to your watch can offer up some assistance, from tracking your daily steps to counting your calories to helping you shed stress. Here are the coolest health and fitness tech products to help you reach your goals this year.

Fitbit Activity Tracker

Depending on the type of Fitbit you buy (they range from $60 to $250), you can track not just your daily steps, but also your sleep, exercise, daily food intake, weight-loss goals, heart rate, and calories burned, often by doing nothing more than wearing the device on your wrist. If you want Fitbit's latest and most cutting-edge creation, you can pre-order the Fitbit Blaze, it’s newest model ($199 pre-order), which takes aim at the Applewatch with features like being able to take calls and play music, all on a color touch screen and a very long battery life of 5 days.

InsideTracker Blood Biomarker Analysis

Sure you know you should be eating right and working out, but the number of diet and exercise plans out there is dizzying, as we're sure you already know. (Sigh.) So just how far off are you from being a picture of health, and what should you be eating/drinking/doing differently to get there? The good news is you can get a pretty extensive idea through a company called InsideTracker without even seeing a doctor. The bad news is you're still going to have to get blood drawn. Within a few days of sending in your sample, the company will email you your results which, it turns out, can be really interesting and helpful. The feedback is based on testing for a variety "biomarkers" that can both affect your health and are modifiable. (They test for more or less biomarkers depending on which plan you choose, with prices ranging from $49 to $499.)  And the results reveal things you may or may not have known about – from high cholesterol to a Vitamin D deficiency to how your liver is functioning. But best of all they also send along personalized recommendations, including an individually tailored nutrition plan, suggestions for which foods you should be eating more of and which you should avoid, along with an exercise program you can track on their site. What have you got to lose? Oh wait.

Meditation Apps

While meditation seems like the last thing you'd need technology for, it actually makes sense, and there are plenty of apps out there to get your ohm on. Buddhify ($4.99) contains 80 guided mediations that you can pull up depending on what you're feeling (Stressed? Tired?) and what you're doing (Walking? On a quick work break?) with stats and graphs to track your progress.  Mindfulness Daily ($1.99) is made for those who are too crazy-busy to meditate. (Know anyone like that, by chance?) The app helps you get just a few minutes of meditation in when you first wake up, again at mid-day, and finally before you go to bed. It also serves as a (very calm) cheerleader, letting you know how many days you've completed in a row and encouraging you to do more. Headspace, meanwhile, is for those of us who have no idea how to get started. Self-dubbed as a "gym membership for your mind," its Take10 free app shows you how to practice some easy techniques through "bite-sized" guided meditations. From there, users can buy paid subscriptions for fancier features like custom sessions, educational content, and access to a buddy system for extra meditation motivation. 

The Apple Watch 2

If you haven't taken the plunge and purchased an Apple Watch yet, don't … at least not until the new version – the Apple Watch 2, slated to be released later this year – hits the market. Though its new features are shrouded in mystery (as is its price, though the current model starts at $549), some experts have speculated that it will include a much better battery, a camera, and more functionality during times when it's not connected to an iPhone. But the existing health and fitness capabilities will remain, if not improve, and that means a super-cool visual snapshot of daily activity, showing you how often you took breaks from sitting, how much brisk exercise you're logging, and how many calories you're burning. You can set goals, get progress updates, and see activity updates. The watch is also smart enough to make suggestions for what kinds of goals you should set. Hey, better your watch than your husband.

Polar's Smart Scale

You've been weighing (or avoiding weighing) yourself for years on your bathroom scale, figuring you're on top of the lb situation- right? Nope. Not anymore. Enter the new Polar Balance ($99.95 available now), which takes your weight and BMI and using Bluetooth LE, wirelessly sends that data to the Polar Flow app or a Polar wrist-based device, like a Polar Loop, or a Polar M400, or a Polar V800 where you can use Polar's Weight Loss Speedometer, to show you how quickly you're losing, or gaining, weight- thereby (inescapeably) helping you reach your weight goals.

Happy (and healthy) New Year

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