Technology: Your Workout Partner, Coach and Personal Trainer

Technology and fitness go hand-in-hand. From the first "sport" Walkman to the current iPod Nano and its built-in-pedometer, music has long been a workout partner for many people. But inspirational beats were just the beginning. Portable electronics can now act as coach and personal trainer for your workouts. There are a number of new products, plus numerous accessories and apps for smartphones and MP3 players, that can track your progress, guide your workouts and monitor your health.

Whether you're into running, biking, swimming or walking on the treadmill, you'll want to check these out.

General Fitness
Fitness-tracking devices are perfect for monitoring calorie intake and expenditure, exercise duration, distance traveled and even sleep quality. One example is the Fitbit Tracker, a clip-on accelerometer that lets you track your motions and activity level throughout the day. Similar devices from Philips, Adidas, Garmin and others are all great tools for monitoring all the metrics of your daily routine. And don't overlook the equipment you already own. Dozens of apps for smartphones and iPods offer you seemingly unlimited health and fitness, like yoga poses and weight training guides, nutrition and calorie tracking and even social networking and support.

Running and Walking
Hitting the trail? There are miles of tech products and accessories geared for runners and walkers, from sport headphones that stay put in your ears and wick away moisture as you run, to special protective cases swallow your smartphone/MP3 player, keys, money and ID while you move. Track your performance with an accessory pedometer or heart rate monitor that communicates with your smartphone or iPod. These add-ons use the GPS and movement sensors built into most smartphones. Finally, browse your smartphone or iPod's app store to find dozens of apps geared for running and walking.

One of the most popular tech accessories for bikers is a handlebar mount for your smartphone or iPod. Mounted to your handle bars, a portable GPS, smartphone or iPod becomes a full-featured trip computer and bike GPS. Bike-mount speakers are another great biking accessory. Safer than headphones, these speakers are rugged and provide plenty of volume. Popular smartphone/iPod apps include imapmyride and ibicycle, which track your speed, distance, location and other metrics.

Are you more at home in the water? You don't have to leave your music or swim-related podcasts in the locker room. Waterproof swim cases and headphones let you take iPhones, iPods and Android devices safely in the pool. Stand-alone performance monitors, like the new Swimsense wrist strap, measures your laps, times, stroke counts and other data and enables you to download it to your PC to analyze and track your workouts. Smartphone and iPod apps like GoSwim can teach you new strokes, help you keep motivated and connect you with other swimmers in your area.

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