Must Have Health Gadgets

The personal health space has exploded in recent years with heaps of cool gadgets that integrate with mobile devies to help people track their health in ever expanding ways. So I thought I would share a couple of the devices that I would love to see under my Xmas tree this year.

Withings – The Blood Pressure Monitor

Take your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to the next level with this awesome blood pressure monitor. Use it to track your  changes and share your results with your doctor or family. A great addition to a PE department to teach the theoretical basis of blood pressure and acute responses to exercise. Check the device out in action here

The Wifi Body Scale

What happens when you add WiFi to a set of scales? Introducing the Withings Body Scale which sends all of your vital statistics directly to you computer or mobile device. You can even setup your scales to tweet your daily metrics. Check out the video of it in action below.

Up

Although plagued by initial trouble on release, the UP device by Jawbone is a cool health monitoring device set to record everything from sleep to exercise and sync it to your smartphone. Users can join challenges that seek to improve their overall health. Sign up for the next release at the website.

Wahoo Blue HR for iPhone 4s

I recently purchased one of these handy devices for my iPhone 4s and it has integrated nicely into my exercise regime, allowing me to track heart rate changes as compared to other data like speed, distance etc. The Wahoo Blue HR takes exercise to the next level with apps like Endomondo and Runkeeper allowing for live online monitoring.

Swivl – Personal Cameraman

I simply cannot wait to get one of these devices into my classroom. Simply place your iPhone or other mobile device in the cradle, attach the sensor clip to your clothing and you have your own mobile  cameraman who follows your every move. A great addition to PE classes and activity analysis tasks.

Scosche My Trek

An alternative bluetooth enabled heart rate monitor that is worn on your forearm instead of your chest. The device also integrates with mobile applications to gather and record your heart rate and training metrics. A perfect choice for schools where device sharing is required. Check out the promo video here

Fitbit

This groovy little accelerometer allows users to wirelessly track their activity throughout the day. All information is then accessible via a mobile application or the fitbit.com website. Use this device to determine if students are meeting the physical activity guidelines/sedentary guidelines. Check out the video of it in action below

Zeo Sleep Managament

A cool little sleep management unit that allows you to track your sleep patterns including the different phases of sleep. Considering we spend 1/3 of our life doing it, it certainly could be a worthy investment. I would love to integrate it into sports psychology discussion in senior physical education. Check out the video of it in action here

Zephyr BioHarness

At present only available for Android devices, however word is of  a future release for iOS devices. Attach this to your mobile device and run an app like SportsTracker Pro and you can capture heart rate, breathing rate and skin temperature. Simply awesome.

Top “Apps” for PE Teachers – Part 10

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Instant Replay Camera

Finally the app I have been waiting for has arrived. An app that allows for simultaneous recording and playback. Simply set the desired “delay” and start recording. The app will record video without audio, then commence playback after the delay period has expired. The app will continue to record as it plays back the footage. This provides teachers with the capacity to setup an iPhone/iPod on a fixed position with a 10 second (or greater delay) allowing for plenty of time for students to return to the device after performance to review. Simple to use and free. A must have.

Tap a Lap

Tap-a-Lap is a useful lap counting tool that can be used to record/predict metrics during a run/walk/ride etc. Simply set the distance per lap and the distance you would like to complete. As you complete a lap/students complete a lap, simply tap “lap” to update information such as speed, distance, average speed, remaining time etc.

Fleetly Fitness

Another social fitness app that allows you to log your workouts, connect with friends and join challenges. I really like how the app provides you with an overall fitness rating as a simple number based on your workouts.

MyFitness Pal

Although this app is essentially a calorie counting tool, it does provide opportunities to teach theoretical concepts on healthy foods and exercise. The app allows for the simple tracking of all food and drinks over the course of the day, exercise can then be added to the mix to help balance consumption. I plan to use this app with my senior physical education students as a diary for them to track the food groups they consume in the lead up to competition. It will also provide us with opportunities to discuss exercise metabolism and other physiological concepts.

Instant Replay: 5 Seconds Back

A simple app, that does one thing. Records using the video camera for a designated period (5 sec – 5 minutes), followed by immediate playback.  This automated process means that students can easily film a peer’s technique, and quickly review, speeding up the time it would take to initiate playback. Simple, yet highly effective.

Kinetic GPS

This app is the swiss army knife of GPS tracking, with the capacity to be customised to however the user desires. Use it during the 12minuterun or team sports to capture the average speed and distance travelled. Use this information to inform training and discuss theoretical concepts

10K Runner

Although not a new app, it is something I am using at present to move from a comfortable 5km run to 10km in preparation for the Run With The Kids charity run in April this year. The app guides users through an interval training program of increased duration, resulting in an eventual solid 10km run. The app could be used to look at training principles or concepts such as progressive overload and diminishing returns.

The final app featured inside of the above image is “MusicWorkout” which is currently awaiting release from the app store. Expect a blog post of its features very soon.