Golden Shirt Awards: Health and fitness

Technology seems to beget too many sedentary hours in a day, making it easy for us to sit on our backsides in front of monitors and TV screens while little but our thumbs get a workout on consoles, remote controls, tablets, laptops and smartphones.

The following gadgets go against the trend by supporting efforts to get up and do something, and through encouraging our collective pursuit of becoming healthier people.

Jawbone Up

A bracelet that tracks what you’re doing? That’s the concept with the Jawbone Up, a flexible water-resistant bracelet that you wear to help monitor how much you’re moving, walking, running, and even sleeping.

There’s an app to let you track your eating habits and receive support from other friends using the Up, through social networks that allow you to share your success with the world. You can even use the Up as a wake-up alarm in the morning – it will buzz on your wrist when it thinks you’re done with a sleep cycle.

Check out our review…


Sunbeam Slow Juicer

Slow juicing is the new rage in fruit juicing, with its claim to waste less and provide more vitamins. We test drove a couple of Slow Juicer appliances in 2013, and Sunbeam’s Slow Juicer (JE9000) stands tall as the affordable option, at $299. Seems a lot, until you consider the alternative is $500.

Check out our review…


ActivLife Sports Med

Electricity entering your body in large doses – such as those from a taser – is very painful, but in small amounts it can help relieve  tension.

Australian company ActivLife has been testing the concept with an at-home device called a TENS machine, with the TENS standing for  “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation”. The tiny flat box is capable of sending small electrical impulses to a part of your body, with the aim of relieving pain and strengthening muscles. And it looks nothing like a taser.

Check out our hands-on…


Magellan Echo watch

Smartwatches (and wearable technology) are set to be the big new thing in 2014, and many of these  devices will connect with fitness apps. Magellan’s Echo already performs in this way, and provides some insight into how forthcoming wearable tech may work.

A digital sportswatch that links wirelessly via Bluetooth to an iPhone, the Echo works with an app to report how far you’re walking or running, and provide data on elevation and pace. It even lets you wirelessly control music from your iPhone’s playlist which, if you have Bluetooth headphones, makes for an entirely cable-free music system for your workout. Oh, and did we mention it’s showerproof and ruggedised against accidental drops and knocks.

Check out the Magellan system…


Bissell AirRam vacuum with calorie counter

Vacuum cleaners are not a weight loss device. Or are they?

The battery in select Bissell stand-up models is equipped with a a USB port that logs the movement of your vacuum session to track how many calories you have burned.

The feature is not yet active – and we don’t know when or if it will be unleashed on the Australian market –  but it may just add some motivation to the thankless task of cleaning floors.

Check out our hands-on with the Bissell vacuum…