When it comes to health, not all technological advancements are created equal. While plenty of new technology aims to eliminate physical work or keep users glued to a phone screen, there are some fascinating new gadgets out there that actually make it easier and more fun to stay active, especially for those willing to pay a pretty penny. Here are some of the coolest fitness gadgets on the market right now.
FitBit may be the most widely known step-counter and all-around fitness tracker, but the market has plenty of options for consumers looking to track their daily accomplishments. The Apple Watch ($250, apple.com) is a seamless choice for any iPhone user, while GPS trailblazer Garmin has launched its line of vívo-fitness wearables ($120-plus, garmin.com), which monitor fitness activities and deliver brief phone and messaging notifications. Try the sleek, minimal Jawbone ($100, jawbone.com) for all of the basics without the bulk, or stay under budget with the Xiaomi MI ($15, mi.com/en).
Underwater MP3 player
A good playlist can make or break a workout, so why leave the jams behind when diving in for a swim? Underwater MP3 player FINIS Duo ($120, finisinc.com) lets swimmers listen to music without even worrying about headphones. The device uses "bone conduction audio transmission" to deliver audio to the inner ear via the cheekbones, and swimmers simply secure the Duo to their goggle straps and hit play. With a charge that lasts seven hours, even high-endurance swimmers will be grooving all the way to the final lap.
Scale that's not scary
Stepping onto the scale is almost never something people look forward to doing, but for those who must track their weight for health reasons, fitbit's Wi-Fi enabled Aria scale ($130, fitbit.com) makes the process less of a drag. The scale itself tracks weight (duh!) along with body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and lean mass. It plays well with others, too, coordinating with fitbit wearables and apps to help connect the dots between calorie counting, fitness tracking and the weight milestones en route to the finish line.
Yoga mat that teaches, too
There's no substitute for the sense of community and growth to be found in a neighborhood studio or from a knowledgeable instructor, but that doesn't mean technology can't help yogis nail their downward dogs, too. Smartmat ($350, smartmat.com) is a yoga mat equipped with sensors to guide a practice by leading the student into proper placement and balance. Billed as the "world's first intelligent yoga mat," this futuristic gadget is available for pre-order, but will surely help those yogis with stage fright feel more confident tackling inversions and other intimidating feats for the first time.