Holiday fitness gifts trend from high-tech to basic


"You'll view the exact route and experience the same terrain again," Logan explained. Devices, gadgets and apps proliferate as tech-savvy fitness becomes more accessible, according to Jessica Matthews of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

"There's a lot of interest in on-body monitoring devices as ways to motivate and track progress," she said.

"They run the gamut from basic devices to track hours, steps, and caloric expenditure to full-body tracking."

Nike+ Sportsband has a series of small lights on the wrist band that change from red to green as the runner nears his goal, while the BodyMedia FIT Armband tracks everything from the number of calories burned to the quality and quantity of sleep. ACE also studied fitness DVDs released for the holidays.

"We evaluated them for quality of instruction, safety, effectiveness and design of workout," Matthews said.

Among the best were "Amy Dixon's Breathless Body Vol.2: The Edge." Matthews called it a challenging cardio workout best suited to those on your list with "an established base of fitness."

"Jessica Smith's 10 Pounds Down Better Body Blast" also got a thumbs up for its well-rounded routine and clarity of instruction. For people seeking a mind-body approach, Matthews praised

"STOTT Pilates Intense Body Blast: Pilates Interval Training: Level I," which she said is accessible for someone new to fitness.

"They do a great job queuing movements and creating flow," she said.

Richard Cotton of the American College of Sports Medicine suggests giving the fitness novice the gift of a personal trainer.

"The best is human assistance," he said. "Another way is a beginner group exercise class."

He also suggests a gift certificate for shoes at a running store equipped with a treadmill.

"You need shoes that fit your gait," he said. "People should always get their gait analyzed."

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