If you’re a time poor mum on the run who can’t squeeze in a regular trip to the gym, you may be surprised to discover you’re doing more exercise and burning more calories than you realise.
Wearable health-tracking devices are one of the hottest fitness trends this year, and they keep track of what you’re doing even if you’re too busy to.
You can monitor everything from your activity to your heart rate, and scientists are working on devices that can measure cells and nutrients in your blood.
Here are some of the ones making the biggest headlines:
1) Basis Health Tracker
Basis is a smartwatch for tracking your activity, sleep and stress.
It not only measures steps taken and calories burned, but your heart rate, skin temperature, perspiration and sleep. It can also detect the difference between walking, running and cycling.
The popular Fitbit health tracker syncs wirelessly with your smartphone and lets you see how you are tracking against your daily goals.
The app lets you compare your progress with (and compete with) friends. You can also log your diet to calculate nutrition via its extensive food database, and can set up a personalised calorie plan.
Available either as a wristband or a pendant (and in a glamorous gold model!)
3) Jawbone Up
The Jawbone tracks steps and activity as well as sleep, and has a new ‘Insight Engine’ that learns about you over time and teaches you how your day, night and food affect one another.
The app lets you log workouts and set reminders (the band will vibrate to remind you) and log all your nutritional information.
The Misfit Shine is good choice for swimmers as it’s fully waterproof up to thirty metres – it can even survive a washing machine cycle.
It’s a tiny round aluminium-clad device with 12 tiny LEDs to indicate the time of day and your progress.
It can discern between walking, running, swimming, and cycling.
You do need a mobile phone to sync with it, as it doesn’t currently have a web app or computer sync function.
5) Apple Watch
The Apple Watch isn’t released yet, however this smartwatch is billed as an “a health and fitness companion that never stops thinking of ways for you to be more active and fit”.
Its sensors can track your heartbeat as well as your total body movement and how far your moved.
This will link up to a health app that generates activity reports for you.
As well a range of coloured straps there will be a solid gold model: estimated to cost thousands of dollars though!
This high tech sleep sensoris still in prototype but should be out soon.
A device that monitors the quality of your sleep environment, from temperature to noise and air particulates, it also comes with a “sleep pill” that clips to your pillow and monitors your sleep throughout the night.
Sense is good for people suffering insomnia or those with allergies.
If you want something even more comprehensive, get ready for fully smart exercise gear. Athos has developed smart clothing that can monitor muscle movement, your heart rate and breathing.
It’s supposed to transform your workouts, but you can’t wear any underwear with it, as the sensors have to touch your skin. It gives instant feedback about whether you’re exercising enough.
And if you don’t want a separate device, there are apps that can turn your smartphone into a health tracker. Breeze is billed as a “smart companion” that acts as a walk tracker, activity log and movement coach. You can share data with friends, and it’s also designed not to run your battery down.