cyclingintro1515.jpgCheck your watches, phones or whatever piece of modern technology you use to tell you the date in 2015. That’s right. Summer’s upon us. How are you going to spend your time outdoors on those bright early mornings or brighter late nights?

I’m the type of person who’s likelier to spend his time outdoors at the driving range or going for a walk or swim with my little one, but for those of you hiking, jogging or running this summer, think about some of the neat gadgets out there that can help you stay fit.

How can a Wearable help me stay fit?

As much as I’d like to believe there’s a magical weight loss tool I can keep around my wrist, I don’t think I’ll see that in my lifetime. Instead, a new wearable can be a great motivational tool. By tracking how many steps you’ve taken, how far you’ve run or how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, your wearable brings visibility to your daily progress and encourages you to keep improving your results. Many wearables even have social features where you can share (or brag, of course) progress with friends and issue challenges in return.

Let’s take a look at what to consider for your 9 to 5 life or for after work too.


Papago.jpgFor the Daily Grind: A new Smartwatch

Fitness doesn’t have to be trips to the gym or daily runs after work. If you’re one of the millions of Canadians who take public transit to work or school, chances are you’re doing a fair bit of walking. University students probably get a good workout just hoofing it between one class to the next. If you’re looking for something a little more contemporary that can still accessorizes well with your wardrobe, consider a Smartwatch that doubles as a fitness tracker.

I commonly associate the PapaGo company with their intuitive dashcams, but they offer up some solid fitness tracker watches too. The PapaGo Go Watch 770, for example comes with a heart rate monitor too and can monitor multiple sports tracking, including hiking, cycling and many indoor activities.

For the Outdoor Grind: Wearable Wristbands

Wristbands are the one device that most people associate most commonly with the term “wearable.” They’re the ones that get the most spotlight and as a result, the most interest. For you, this also equates to one thing: The most selection.

Best Buy alone offers more than 50 different choices, from the big names like Fitbit and Jawbone to the lesser knowns like Withings and Striiv. Even computer peripheral giant Razer has thrown their hat into the ring, so to speak.

FitbitCharge.jpgAs a Smarthome enthusiast, I’m always interested in cross-platform capabilities if you are too, trust those industry leaders Jawbone and Fitbit. Both are a part of the IFTTTand Works with Nest networks. That alone sells me on them before I go for fitness tracking capabilities, which both do very well.

The biggest difference overall between these and smartwatches are one simple thing: Functionality. When you’re buying a dedicated device like these that are made specifically for the sake of helping you map and chart your fitness activities, you’re going to get much better dedicated app support, tracking metrics and improvement suggestions. As someone who doesn’t really wear watches and is a stats junkie, I’d be more likely to wear and utilize one of these more.

What about the water?

Something I haven’t touched upon much is functionality in the water. The fact of the matter is, it’s still largely a work in progress in wearables. Pebble and most of Garmin’s watches are waterproof (so it’s a start) but you’re still going to find the majority of devices out there are focused mainly on land sport.

However, there’s one device that you might want to consider, especially if you’re just starting out. It isn’t the best in its class for any one thing, but it makes up by doing a lot of the little things (including functionality in the pool) well.

MisfitFlash.jpgBonus Pick: Something Waterproof (and introductory) – Misfit Flash

If you’re looking to dip your toes into something basic that has pretty diverse functionality and don’t want to break the bank, try the Misfit Flash Wireless Activity Tracker. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to a basic summer sports wearable and comes at a great price. While you don’t have a lot of the display features of more expensive wearables, it still syncs with your phone and has a lot of great features behind it. You can monitor your calories burned, distance traveled and even your sleep. You can even take it into the pool for a swim since it’s waterproof for up to 30 metres! You don’t even need to wear it on your wrist. With the right addons, you can clip it to your belt loops or shirt, or even wear it as a necklace. It even has a battery life of around six months, so you’ll be well into the winter by then.

While it won’t offer you the metrics and improvement advice other wearables do, it’s a fantastic start and may just be the only wearable you need. Guess what? Misfit Flash JUST connected with IFTTT so you’re set there too!

The Misfit Flash is a great option for you, or anybody you know who is curious about the idea of wearable technology, but doesn’t yet want to commit to the more advanced models just yet.

With all respect paid to Joanne McLeod and Hal Johnson of Body Break, this summer, be sure to Keep Fit and Have Fun!

Matt Paligaru
Emerging Technology
A technology nut at heart, I'm always interested in what makes our lives easier and helps us tick day to day. Whether Home Automation, toys, games (board and video) or everything in between, I'm always looking around the corner to see what drives us in today's day and age.