Fitness freaks can be tough to buy for, but luckily, technology has entered the workout world, bringing with it new gadgets that every active man or woman drools over.
Watches monitor a runner’s distance and speed via GPS satellite, tiny cameras record every exciting turn and jump in a mountain bike adventure, and several contraptions massage away post-workout pain.
These seven gifts may not help your fitness lover get faster or more fit, but they can make exercise more comfortable, exciting and memorable.
Garmin Forerunner 220, $250
Watches with GPS tracking can accurately record a runner or walker’s pace and distance, and all data can be uploaded to a computer to analyze and share. The Forerunner 220 can also monitor heart rate and organize a runner’s workout. It chimes every mile, and it can be set to implement an interval workout combining walking and running.
“If you want to run three minutes and walk one, it will beep so you know when to run,” said Sherri Bickham, a sales associate at Fleet Feet.
For a less serious runner, the Garmin Forerunner 10 offers fewer bells and whistles at $139.
New Balance 1400, $89
Flashy shoes are a top trend in running fashion. The 1400s, a lightweight training shoe, draw attention in the daytime or the dark. With 10 minutes of charging in the sun or artificial light, the 1400s will glow.
“Right now visibility is one of the biggest things,” said Brett Dismang, manager of Baton Rouge’s New Balance store. “People want to be seen.”
Fitbit Force, $129
Today we can easily collect data on every second of our lives — even the quality of sleep. The Force records calories burned, steps taken, floors climbed and nearly every other aspect of an active day.
All that data can be uploaded to a computer for analysis and sharing.
Roll Recovery R8, $119
For the amateur athlete, regular massages can get expensive. A series of self-massaging tools have cropped up to rub pain and stiffness from muscles after a tough workout.
One of the easiest to use, the Roll Recovery R8 clamps onto the calves or thighs, and its wheels rub out the pain. The gadget is a favorite for the staff at Varsity Sports in Baton Rouge. Like a good massage, it’s a bit painful at first.
“After a run we’re all in here using it, making faces,” said Lizette Nesom, a sales associate at Varsity Sports. “It’s great after a run, but you can do it anytime.”
Moji 360, $39
The Moji uses steel balls to massage the feet. It’s recommended for active people with plantar fasciitis, or any other type of “-itis,” Nesom said.
“This allows you to roll your foot on it and it allows you to get to those places you can’t always reach,” she said.
GoPro Hero 3+, $329
These waterproof, lightweight cameras have been used to document everything from surfing and bicycling to capturing a pet’s view of the world.
Andrew Abbott, a mechanic at Capitol Cyclery on Essen Lane, used one to record mountain bike rides and a bicycle tour of Europe.
“It gives you another set of eyes,” he said.
Camelback Groove, $20-$30
A stocking stuffer (it might fill the entire stocking) for anyone trying to drink more water, the Groove filters out the chlorine, tastes and odors of tap water. Its replaceable filter can clean about 48 gallons of water.