Mark Harris
10 BEST FITNESS GADGETS - The Independent, 20 Jan 2004

Technology expert Mark Harris puts the latest health and exercise gadgets through their paces…

Bullworker X5 £70
The original gym-in-a-stick is back with a range of new exercises, giving over 70 in total. This latest incarnation combines sophisticated resistance technology with solid chrome-plated steel construction and has a program to suit everyone, whether you want to build muscle or just tone up and improve your stamina. Ships with an instructional video and wallchart.
Bullworker (0800 200 8797,

Reebok Personal Heart Monitor £49.99
One of the first gadgets that any keep fit fanatic should invest in is a heart rate monitor. This wrist-mounted model displays highest, lowest and average heart rate without the need for an itchy chest strap. While it can double as a chunky watch, avoid wearing it to interviews and dates unless you want to reveal just how nervous you are.
Reebok (0800 698 5678,

Tanita BF-662W Body Fat/Total Body Water Scales £79.99
If you’re exercising regularly, you need to watch more than just your weight. These scales reveal exactly what proportion of your body mass is fat and whether you’re drinking enough water to keep yourself healthy. They can track up to four different people, displaying how your readings compare to the ideal for your age and gender.
Tanita (0800 731 6994,

Talking Pedometer £14.95
A gadget that not only walks the walk, but talks the talk, too. Clip it to your belt before you go for a stroll and this pocket-sized pedometer will count and announce the total distance travelled. Given half a chance, it’ll also play shrill electronic melodies in synch with your walking or running speed.
Boys Stuff (0870 745 2000,

Slendertone Flex Max £150
When it comes to weight loss, there’s no such thing as a free inch. Slendertone offers the next best thing: an abdominal belt that produces muscles contractions by electrically stimulating your nerves. When used in conjunction with an exercise programme, the Flex Max belt can tone and firm up those tricky to reach muscles around the tummy, thighs and bottom.
Slendertone (0845 070 7777,

Tanita Calorie Jump £12.99 – BEST BUDGET BUY
Although traditionally practised only by little girls and beefy boxers, skipping is a superb way for anyone to raise their cardio-vascular rate. This high-tech, twist-free rope comes with a built-in computer to count exactly how many calories your game of Double Dutch has burnt off. Pigtails and mouth guard not included.
Tanita (0800 731 6994,

PowerLung Trainer £55.99
You’ve pumped up your quads, your pecs and your abs, but what about the muscles that drive them all? The PowerLung Trainer specifically targets your respiratory system, promising to improve endurance and help your diaphragm work more effectively. Although we like it because it’s the one piece of exercise equipment you can use while watching telly on the sofa.
Fitness Network (020 7924 5590,

Orbit Competition £700 – BEST LUXURY BUY
For an unbeatable full body, cardio-vascular workout, break a sweat with this modern elliptical cross-trainer. There are six preset programs, constant heart rate and effort control and a built-in fitness test. The Orbit’s compact, fold-away design should appeal to both regular exercisers and annual dabblers, especially if previous home gym purchases have ended up as expensive clothes hangars.
Orbit (0115 981 0205,

Reebok Cyberrider £249 --- BEST BUY
If you love exercise but can’t stand the boredom, jump on the Cyberrider. This exercise bike plugs directly into your PlayStation 1 or 2, allowing you to cycle your way through your favourite games by leg power alone. Speed data is transferred from sensors on the flywheel and the handlebars have all the other controls you need. Currently ships with six free PlayStation racing games.
Cyberrider (0800 093 1563,

Timex Bodylink £335
This ultimate tool for monitoring all types of exercise consists of a heart rate monitor, watch, data recorder and a GPS satellite tracking unit. Strap all of these to your body before you train (a workout in itself) and your coach can analyse your performance on a PC and even tell whether you stopped for a breather in the middle of a run.
Timex (0208 326 6900,

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