5 Technologies That Will Take Your Health And Fitness Routine To The Next Level

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- A participant in the 2011 Afghan Games power snatches the weighted bar at the Boardwalk Sept. 10, 2011. During the second workout of the day, participants had to perform 50 burpees and as many power snatches as they could in a 10-minute period. Afghan Games is an annual Kandahar CrossFit event held to test the physical fitness levels of participants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman David Carbajal)
Photo by Senior Airman David Carbajal

The slew of new fitness and sports-performance technology increases with each passing month. From devices to apps to treatments to clothes that read your body, I’m sifting through all the products available on the market. The following five tech innovations can get you bigger, make you faster, evaluate your hydration, and get your skin glowing on the path of least resistance.  

1. GYMWATCH Sensor

Half-assing your workout with poor form will get you nowhere fast, or maybe to the doctor’s office. This wearable gadget precisely measures the full motion of exercises the user inputs through the smartphone app, ensuring proper form of each rep and recording expended strength. The real-time feedback ensures you don’t fall short. Two sensors can be used simultaneously in a duo, either on arms or legs, if you want to track left and right at the same time. The app uses algorithms to analyze and factor together your goals, personal and collected data, and plans a personalized training plan for you.

2. Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds

Jabra Sport Pulse is a set of earbuds and heart-rate monitor in one. Will the traditional, and annoying, chest strap HRM go away? The heart-rate tracking sensor is housed in the left earbud and both earbuds are encased in carbon fiber and connected by a reinforced black cable behind your neck. Overall, at 16 grams, these are lightweight and have been built to high-shock, sand and dust standards. They’re also sweat and rain proof. The app is advanced but understandable and you can even customize the display to put what’s important to you front and center. Sound quality, customizable voice updates, and post workout analysis are reportedly 99.2% accurate, and the inclusion of a resting heart rate test and VO2 Max test, which is the measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use, brings the value of this gadget up twofold.

3. Thermal Vision Training Shirts

These shirts use space-age (seriously, developed by NASA), patented thermal-vision technology in its clothings’ fabric to help you visually monitor your exertion levels. Remember hypercolor t-shirts from the early 1990s? Well instead of being an utterly useless one-hit wonder, these shirts offer a thermo-chromatic visual of how hard each muscle is working by converting your bioenergy into color change. Vascularity and blood flow are seen as a pattern on the shirt and you literally watch the color change as you reach maximum exertion. This is the only athletic apparel in the world that allows you to visually monitor real-time exertion without the use of batteries or a digital device. Get ready to see those pits glow.

4. Breathometer’s Mint

Breathometer, a company that got a huge jumpstart after appearing on Shark Tank, has already rocked the blood alcohol content breathalyzer with the little blue “Breeze” device, and now it has repurposed that technology for “Mint.” In addition to detecting bad breath, the Mint device can tell if you’re dehydrated at any time of day. This is valuable information after a workout, ruck run, or obstacle course on a hot day. Rather than blow into the sleek green device, it uses a small fan to draw air from only your mouth, detecting humidity levels among other readings. The device is paired with a smartphone app and wireless Bluetooth connection. Tracking hydration is no joke for any athlete, and for the record, if you’re putting all those hours into crushing weights in the gym, you must take pride in your presentation. Don’t you want to make sure you don’t have awful breath? But that’s none of my business.  

5. OKU Skin Health Sensor

This skin coach provides fitness for your face. Skin health is an indication of internal well-being. OKU’s optical health sensor is used once or twice a day to check epidermis readings such as moisture, texture, oils, wrinkles, and pigmentation. The data, interpreted from dermoscopy technology, nanotechnology and spectroscopy, is sent to a smartphone app that then assigns your face a “skin score” and advises you on how to proceed, whether that means a dietary, hydration or lifestyle change. I spent a lot of time over in the sandbox and found out after the fact that I should have been using a much stronger sunscreen. Don’t be caught slipping. This gadget will do the work for you.

Depending on your goals, either out in the field, in the gym, or just living life, one of these could very well be your new best friend. There’s no shame in using technology to edge out the competition.

U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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