Time to make up for December's bad habits by doing better in 2012. Here are the best tech tools to help you shape up and keep healthy. Who knows? You might actually keep your new year's resolution this time around. Sure, Basis can tell you time, but if you want to know your blood flow, motion, temperature, heart rate, sweat level and blood oxygen level, it'll tell you those too. With a plethora of sensors, the monitoring watch keeps an eye on your vitals, giving you an overview of health, sleep and exercise habits. Basis is an honoree for the upcoming CES Best of Innovations Design and Engineering Awards in the health and wellness category. Available for pre-order for $199. This article is part of a series about getting fit in the new year. Check out the entire Man up! feature here.
MotoActv Heart-rate Monitor
The MotoActv wants to be your personal trainer. This tiny device tells when you reach or leave your target pace, heart rate or PowerZone based on your programmed profile and goals. And to keep you going, it creates a performance playlist, pulling songs that you burned the most calories to. It also takes on a few personal assistant duties, including fetching your incoming calls and displaying on-screen text messages. Begins at $249.99.
Withings WiFi scale
For better or worse, scales don't lie. In fact, the Withings WiFi scale tells you the cold hard truth: weight, body fat percentage, and BMI. Each time you step on, it registers these stats and sends them over your home wireless network to a private Web interface. The dashboard keeps tabs on your progress with static and interactive charts. You can share this information with your doctors, personal trainers, friends and family. If you feel so inclined, you can even tweet your progress to the entire world. Available from ThinkGeek for $164.99.
BitGym Fitness Games
The average American household has 1.15 cardio machines according to the San Francisco-based health startup BitGym. But overwhelmingly, they're left to collect dust. Get ready to use the treadmill again because BitGym's iOS games are designed to keep you going. One of them, Trail Runner, shows inspiring landscapes as you're on an exercise machine, speeding up or slowing down based on your real-life workout performance. Game prices vary, but lite versions are available for free.
If you prefer to run outdoors, Runtastic is an app that tracks your location, distance, time, pace and calorie consumption. It has charts that show your speed, altitude, pulse and training history. The pro version includes voice feedback, live tracking, cheering, pulse-reading, geotagging, workouts, competitions, and an integrated music player. Its iOS and Android apps have the most functionality, but Runtastic is also available on BlackBerry, Windows, and bada phones. Prices vary by device.
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JayBird Freedom Earphones
The JayBird Freedom was designed for the gym rat. It uses Bluetooth connectivity, so there aren't long cords to trip over. The sound is big -- great motivation when your power track comes on. Plus, it's got enough variety of ear cushions, tips, and hooks to make sure you find the right fit; one that stays on when you're on the go.
Fitness Technologies Underwater MP3 Player
Music can motivate runners to go longer distances, why not apply the same principle to swimmers? Generally electronics and water don't mix very well, but Fitness Technologies' UWaterK7 was built for just that. The compact waterproof MP3 player debuted in the fall and will be making an appearance at CES in January. Also expected to make an appearance: the company's line of HD waterproof action cameras and waterproof stereo Bluetooth headsets. Available for $100.
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Mophie Outdoor Battery Extender and Maps
Grab your iPhone. You're going for a hike. Not only does the mophie juice pack plus outdoor give you extended battery life (about 2,000 mAh, or eight hours of talk time on 3G), a corresponding app gives you access to 5 million square miles of high-resolution maps covering the continental U.S. and Hawaii. Once you download them, you no longer have to worry about losing reception. Plus the app records your progress, speed, distance, elevation, and geo-tagged photos. Available for $119.95.
Drift HD Video Camera
A good workout doesn't always mean hitting the gym. Head somewhere beautiful and find a fun activity, like biking or snowboarding. Action cams such as the Drift HD can be a good motivator to go outside. They capture amazing moments in 1080p HD video, which, upon watching, will make you want to go right back outside again. The small, light camera can be mounted to helmets or strapped on wrists and can also be controlled remotely. A night mode also means you can record in dusty or dark conditions. Feeling motivated to get your workout on? Visit our Man up! feature, chock full of info that will get your heart pumping.
Think you don't have enough time for a workout that will benefit your health? You may want to think again — a new study finds that running as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day may reduce the risk of death from heart disease.
Researchers analyzed information from more than 55,000 U.S. adults ages 18 to 100 in Texas, who were asked how much they ran over the past few months. About one-fourth of the participants were runners (they reported the duration, distance, frequency and speed of their runs), and the rest were nonrunners.
Over a 15-year period, runners were 45 percent less likely to die from heart disease, and 30 percent less likely to die from any cause, than nonrunners were, the study found.
When runners were divided into five groups based on the duration, distance and speed of their runs, all of the groups had a similar reduction in their risk of death from heart disease. For example, those who ran for less than 51 minutes per week (about 5 to 10 minutes a day) had a similar reduction in the risk of death as those who ran more than 176 minutes per week. [9 Healthy Habits You Can Do in 1 Minute (Or Less)]
The findings held even after the researchers took into account some factors that could affect a person's risk of death, such as age, smoking and drinking habits, or diagnosis of certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure.
"Because time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, this study may motivate more people to start running and continue to run as an attainable health goal," said study researcher Duck-chul Lee, an assistant professor in the Iowa State University Kinesiology Department.
For healthy people, running may be a better exercise option than less-intense activities like walking, because running produces similar health benefits in terms of a reduced risk of death, in a shorter amount of time, Lee said.
"For younger individuals who are pressed for time, running is a far better option for time efficiency," Dr. Chi Pang Wen, of the Institute of Population Health Sciences in Taiwan, and colleagues, wrote in an editorial accompanying the study.
However, people who currently live very sedentary lifestyles may want to start out with walking before transitioning to running, to reduce the risk of injury, Lee said.
Lee said he was surprised that higher amounts of running did not confer a larger reduction in a person's risk of death. It's possible that higher amounts of running may have negative effects for some people, such as a risk of heart-rhythm problems or injury to muscles and bone, Lee said.
Still, some studies have found a link between running greater distances, such as more than 5 miles (8 km) a day and a decreased risk of heart problems, compared to running less than 2 miles (3.2 km) a day, so more studies are needed to determine if there is an optimum distance for running, the researchers said.
The study also found that runners lived three years longer, on average, than nonrunners. Those who took up running during the study period saw improvements in their risk of dying from heart disease, but those who ran throughout the study had the biggest benefits.
Lee said that once people start running, they "should increase their running time and speed appropriately as they become more fit." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, such as running, per week.
The researchers noted that people in the study were asked to remember how much they ran over the last three months, which they may have not always recalled accurately. The study also did not take into account people's diet, which could have affected the results.
The study and editorial are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Original article on Live Science.
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