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Can High-Tech Gadgets Get Us in Shape?

Smartphone cartoonThink of all the excuses you give yourself not to exercise:


Now counterbalance that with all the reasons why moving your body should be as automatic a part of your day as brushing your teeth:


One of the biggest reasons why people stop exercising too soon is that they don’t see results quickly enough. That makes them give up before they’ve barely gotten started. It’s a catch-22 that has dollar signs swimming before the eyes of marketers of everything from gym equipment to exercise gear to diet books.

Jawbone UP24 wristbandsRather than promoting old-fashioned discipline (eating less) and the fitness basics that truly work (walking, running, push-ups), companies are offering technological marvels — such as the Fitbit, the Garmin Vivosmart and the one I’m sporting this moment on my wrist, the Jawbone UP24  (above) — as “magic bullets” for improved fitness and health. Never mind their cost, which can be north of $100; what you want to know is Do they work?

Well, maybe.

I enjoy deliberately working out, but some days zoom by so fast that when evening rolls around I realize I haven’t gotten any exercise other than walking the dog and doing errands. It bums me out — until I glance at my iPhone and see a different story. Thanks to my Jawbone UP24 wristband — which calculates steps taken, calories burned and a whole lot more — I’m  able to view a complete record of my day’s activity, which often shows that I actually moved my body quite a bit! This comforts me that even on a non-workout day, I still managed to get around. It also encourages me to keep moving my body, even in non-concerted ways, because I know my wrist gadget will “give me credit” for it.

Whether or not you use a high-tech gadget in your fitness regimen, here are some tips on how to live a healthier life:


>> Get discounts on electronics with your AARP Member Advantages.

I can’t deny it: I love my fitness wristband! The end of the day finds me either gloating (look how many steps I took!) or goading myself to do better tomorrow.

Looking for last-minute gift ideas for the techie in your life? Check out the special “Tech 2015” section in the December/January issue of AARP The Magazine. Or watch the video below, where I mention a few of my favorites:

Photos: © Larry Rains/istockphoto; Clubic

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