Innovative engineering to get you in shape for 2012

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Whether a 6 a.m. jog around your neighborhood sounds like an ideal start to your day or the furthest thing from it, most techies can agree that incorporating the year’s most innovative and well-engineered gadgets into a workout is a fun way to inspire healthier choices.

Through my exposure to Arena’s customer base, which includes innovative manufacturing companies like GoPro, Square, and Sonos, I’ve come across a variety of inspired new products that are not only taking design and engineering to the next level but are also changing the way we live.

Below are a few of the pioneering new products that have caught my eye this year, and just may inspire you to beef up your holiday wish list.

The Fitbit Ultra—a wireless activity and sleep tracker to improve fitness

The Fitbit Ultra

The Fitbit Ultra tracks your steps taken, stairs climbed and calories burned.

Fitbit, an Arena customer, recently released its Ultra Wireless Tracker that provides even more incentive to take the stairs. The Ultra tracks every step you take using a super sensitive 3-D motion sensor called a MEMS 3-axis accelerometer, similar to the sensor built into a Wii controller, and provides more accuracy than traditional pedometers. The newly built-in altimeter recognizes when you are climbing or descending stairs and counts that in your daily exercise as well.

The Ultra can also calculate calories burned throughout the course of the day, giving you a complete snapshot of your daily fitness. You can even track how long and how well you sleep and automatically sync your data into the cloud to check progress over time.

Withings’s Wi-Fi Body Scale—the first personalized smart scale

Monitor your weight, fat mass and BMI with the Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale

Being a numbers junkie, the wi-fi body scale appeals to my addiction. This beautifully designed scale gives you a complete body analysis, including stats on weight, fat and muscle mass and BMI, and tracks changes over time. The silver wi-fi sensor in the center of the scale automatically sends your health stats to the cloud, where you can access the data online or through a free app on your iPad, iPhone or Android device. The web dashboard clearly displays your health information over a period of time and allows you to view any given date range. And since the data exists in the cloud, it’s easy to share your health progress with others, like your doctor or coach.

The scale is extremely accurate and can automatically recognize and remember multiple users, making it family-friendly.

RunKeeper—designed to track, manage and improve your fitness

Who says running isn’t social? Besides tracking running stats including distance, pace, calories, heart rate and paths traveled, RunKeeper creates a social community around improving your daily exercise.

Track your progress with the RunKeeper mobile app

RunKeeper is a mobile app that uses the GPS already built into most mobile devices to log your fitness runs and patterns and lets you share that information with those in your fitness community. By sharing your workouts with friends and family, you get the social motivation and feedback to push yourself to the next level.

The app is smart enough to identify patterns in your workout to help you improve the performance and quality of your workouts. Just sync up your iPod and off you go.

Strava—helping you log, analyze, compare and compete with your rides

Strava is another social fitness tracking mobile app that gives you a detailed snapshot of your fitness routine and enables easy comparison with friends around the world. You can also choose to maintain your privacy and use it for personal tracking.

Strava visualize your ride

Visualize your rides with Strava's training log

Using a dedicated GPS device or one already built into your iPhone or Android, Strava tracks and analyzes your rides or runs and visualizes your fitness history over time. Strava even takes elevation into account, adjusting your “suffer score” based on your increased heart rate during a given sprint.

One of the coolest aspects of Strava is its Leaderboard feature, which let’s you compare your pace on a given route with previous runs or with friends who have run the same ground. You can even filter through Strava users who belong to a similar weight and age class to see how you fare.

Which innovative new gadgets have grabbed your attention this holiday season? Share your find in the comments section below.

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About the Author

Alyssa Sittig
Alyssa played an instrumental role in the development of the Arena Blog and social media channels from 2011 to 2012. Joining the team with a background in public policy, Alyssa ... Read More 

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