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Tag Archives: Fitness

PowerWheel Bike Wheel Ironically Designed To Make Your Ride Slower

PowerWheel Bike Wheel (Images courtesy SlowWheel)
By Andrew Liszewski

With a device called a PowerWheel attached to my bike I’d expect to be easily pedalling my way up steep mountain courses, or even towing cars out of ditches. But instead of making your ride easy, the PowerWheel is designed to do just the opposite. It’s a complete wheel designed to replace the standard one on your bike while you train. And thanks to a specially engineered hub, pedalling, even at slower speeds on a level road, becomes far more strenuous.

As to how strenuous is up to you, since the PowerWheel can be adjusted between 7 different levels of resistance, or completely disengaged when you’ve had enough. It’s even clever enough to automatically disengage when you’re riding slower than 6mph so the bike is easier to handle at slower speeds. And the same happens above 30mph, to prevent the resistance mechanism from overheating. Pricing and availability are still TBA, though, a simpler version known as the SlowWheel will also be available. While it only has 3 resistance settings, it’s also designed to be more affordable for those not training for the next Ironman race.

[ PowerWheel ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

FitDesk – Another Exercise While You Work Solution

FitDesk (Images courtesy FitDesk)
By Carole Sinclair

I’m just as un-keen on exercise and work as the next… well… everybody. So picking off these two birds with one stone is always the dream. Our desk-based work days have been blamed for their fair share of our oft-lamented ‘sedentary lifestyles’, and solutions like those office-chair-bouncy-ball-thingys don’t suit everyone’s tastes. (*Rubs tailbone*) We’ve probably also all seen other uber-fit solutions like working at a computer while walking on a treadmill. But doing that for 8 hours straight can be grueling at best, and a safety hazard at worst.

Enter the FitDesk. It’s an exercise bike with a usable desk attached where you’d normally find the handlebars. You’re technically still sitting and working while using it, but you’re also pedaling, building muscle and burning calories throughout the day. With a treadmill workstation, when you decide to stop walking you’re either left standing and working for hours at a time, or risk admitting that you’ve abandoned yet another exercise endeavor. But when you take a break with the FitDesk, you’re still comfortably seated, leaving you plenty of endurance to keep exercising and building up the strength to eventually win the rat race. (Or at least place respectfully.)

The resistance of the pedaling can be adjusted for a more intense workout as desired, and the whole unit folds up so it can be stashed away in a closet if used at home. Unfortunately I don’t see a way to secure the laptop, which is a little worrisome given it sits perched pretty high, and an untimely fall from your sweaty hands could easily be its demise. I guess that’s where duct tape and bungee cords come in. It’s also $229, which is kind of expensive for a pretty basic exercise bike. Even with a built-in ‘desk’.

[ FitDesk ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

The RoundTail Bike’s Circular Rear Frame Provides A Far Smoother Ride

Tortola RoundTail Bike Frame (Image courtesy Tortola)
By Andrew Liszewski

Bikes designed for off-road trail riding feature thick tires and robust suspension systems to cushion the rider from all the bumps and vibrations they encounter. But road bikes, which are designed to be low-profile and light, are lacking such amenities. And unless you exclusively ride on a perfectly smooth track in a velodrome, you’re still going to encounter pot holes and other bumps on a road. The traditional bike design we all know and love features a triangular rear frame, which unfortunately is quite effective at transferring vibrations and bumps from the road to the rider. Which can lead to fatigue and soreness. So inventor Lou Tortola (who hails from my hometown) started to rethink the traditional road bike design.

What he came up with was a pretty simple, but radical improvement on their design. Instead of keeping the bike’s overall diamond geometry, he replaced the rear part of the frame with a set of circular rings. It changes nearly nothing about how the bike goes together or how it operates, but has a dramatic effect on how it rides. With the RoundTail frame, vibrations and shocks from the road are transferred to the two metal circles, where the energy follows along their circumference until dissipated. Instead of traveling up to the rider. In tests, the RoundTail frame has been found to absorb 60 times more vibrations from the road than a standard frame, allowing riders to spend more time riding before they start feeling any discomfort.

[ Tortola RoundTail Bike Frame ] VIA [ Popular Science ]

Scosche myTREK Measures Your Pulse Without The Need For A Chest Strap

Scosche myTREK (Images courtesy Scosche)
By Andrew Liszewski

Typically, the only way to get an accurate measurement of your pulse while exercising was to have a monitor strapped to your chest, which was then connected to some kind of display for monitoring your performance. But Scosche’s new myTREK does away with the chest strap, instead moving it to your forearm where it’s more comfortable to wear. It’s also completely wireless, connecting to your iPhone or iPod over Bluetooth (with a range of ~30 feet) feeding information about your pulse and motion to an accompanying free myTREK app.

And it’s that app that will probably make the myTREK system appealing to persons who are very serious about their physical fitness. Besides displaying your pulse, the app also tracks everything from calories burned, distance run, speed and pace (when used with a GPS-equipped iPhone) over time. So you can go back and compare your results and stats to previous workouts to see how you’ve improved. And while exercising, the app even lets you set specific workout goals, like a target heart rate, complete with voice prompts letting you know how close you are to reaching it. Available now for $129.99.

[ Scosche myTREK ]

Ultra Portable Digital Bathroom Scale

Ultra Portable Digital Bathroom Scale (Images courtesy Infmetry)
By Andrew Liszewski

If netbook designers applied their miniaturization skills to bathroom scales, you’d end up with exactly this. An ultra portable digital scale for people who are worried about their weight, even when traveling or away on vacation. It’s got the smallest footprint of any step-on scale I’ve ever seen, though it makes me wonder if users have to stand on their toes for it to provide an accurate measurement. It has a maximum capacity of up to 330lbs, and your actual weight is displayed on a pop-out LCD screen. It’s just $29.99 from Infmetry too, who, like Sony with their original Vaio P Lifestyle PC, are trying to convince us that it’s easy to carry around in your back pocket.

[ Ultra Portable Digital Bathroom Scale ]

Wrist Worn Bite Counter Keeps Track Of Every Forkful

Bite Counter (Images courtesy Clemson University)
By Andrew Liszewski

Exercise is an important part of being physically fit, and step counters are a useful way to ensure you’re getting enough physical activity in your life. But eating healthy is just as important, so two researchers from Clemson University have created a bite counter, which basically works like a pedometer for eating. Since there’s no impact when eating with utensils, the bite counter, which looks like a fairly mundane digital wristwatch, tracks the wrist-roll motion of someone eating with a fork or spoon to keep track of every bite they take.

The device, which can be easily started and stopped at the beginning and end of a meal, has been found to be more than 90% accurate when it comes to counting bites. But, the researchers still aren’t sure how it can be used to help with weight loss, given there’s currently no way to determine how many calories or what amount of food has been consumed in each bite. So the device will continue to be tested and used in additional research as to how this collected data can be used to benefit the eater. And if you’d like to help out, you can actually purchase one here for just $799.

[ PR – Clemson University researchers are making every bite count ] VIA [ CNET ]

BodyVib Vibrating Dumbbells

BodyVib Vibrating Dumbbells (Images courtes Pro-Idee)
By Andrew Liszewski

Apparently just lifting dumbbells isn’t good enough any more. Like those crazy exercise belt-driven fitness contraptions of yesteryear, these BodyVib weights actually vibrate at 36Hz (or 2,160 vibrations/min) with an amplitude of 1.2mm, which is apparently more than enough to ‘intensify’ your training by up to 50%. The idea behind the vibrations is that it causes the muscles in your hands and arms to quickly contract and relax in response, burning more energy in a shorter period of time, and resulting in a longer afterburn time.

After a 30 to 50 minute charge (yep, it’s one more thing vying for power bar access) the dumbbells will vibrate for up to 2 1/2 hours. And to prolong the battery life they use a sensor to only start the vibration motor once you grab the handle. If it works as they claim I don’t see why everyone shouldn’t upgrade to vibrating weights… except for the price. Available in 3.3, 6 and 10 pound pairs, the BodyVib dumbbells sell for a whopping ~$1,060 (£649) to ~$1,190 (£729) on Pro-Idee.

[ BodyVib Vibrating Dumbbells ]

Core Yoga Mat Organizer

Core Yoga Mat Organizer (Images courtesy Quirky)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m fairly certain that half the people I see walking around carrying rolled-up yoga mats, and dressed head-to-toe in lululemon garb, are just doing it to be stylish. I have my doubts they’re actually headed to, or from, a yoga session. So whether you’re a yoga poser trying to keep up with the joneses, or actually enjoy a regular workout, this clever Quirky concept will make it easier to carry your mat and other paraphernalia.

The Core is a combination water bottle, carrying container and strap that you wrap your yoga mat around, making it easier to keep everything you have to carry together. The Core even has a rounded, yet slightly triangular, design so that it doesn’t get away from you while you’re wrapping or unwrapping your mat. At the moment it’s unfortunately still a Quirky concept though, waiting for enough support to make it a reality. But for just $20.99 you can make a pre-sale commitment so the project can reach its goal of 800 and go into production.

[ Quirky – Core Yoga Mat Organizer ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

ProForm’s ‘Tour De France’ Training Bike Automatically Raises And Lowers To Match The Actual Tour Route

ProForm Tour De France Training Bike (Image courtesy ProForm)
By Andrew Liszewski

It might look pretty run-of-the-mill as far as stationary bikes go. But there’s a reason ProForm’s ‘Tour De France’ has been named the official training bike of the actual race. And it’s not just because of the yellow highlights that match the famed yellow jersey. Thanks to its Google Maps-powered iFit Live Technology, you can virtually ride on any road on the planet. Including the official Tour De France route, which is one of the 24 pre-mapped and pre-programmed courses it comes with. (You can create your own too.)

But watching yourself following a virtual route on a tiny scrolling map isn’t that interesting. Or challenging. So the ‘Tour De France’ will automatically incline and decline to match the contours of the route you’re taking, making it feel like you’re riding up and down on the actual mapped terrain. Still not enough for you? The friction on the rear wheel is also automatically controlled to recreate your body’s wind resistance. When you climb on the bike and adjust it for your body, its onboard computers will calculate your height and weight, and apply the same amount of resistance you’d experience from the wind out on the open road.

It’s also got built-in wifi for syncing your performance results to iFit.com, is compatible with Polar’s chest-based pulse monitoring systems and even includes the necessary hookups for connecting and listening to your iPod. All for just $1,299. And let’s just hope you can avoid looking like this after a particularly gruelling ride.

[ ProForm Tour De France Training Bike ] VIA [ Mobile Magazine ]