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High-tech training gadgets help users get buff

May 04,2010
Left: Adidas’ miCoach Pacer / Right: Sony’s W-series Walkman
Now that the weather is warming up, many locals will hit the gym in an effort to shed extra pounds they put on over the winter and slim down ahead of summer.

But you don’t have to shell out big bucks to personal trainers to get fit. Today, some advanced gadgets can be as effective as personal help - and perhaps not as pushy.

For amateur runners who aren’t sure how fast or how far they should run, Adidas has launched its miCoach Pacer, a device you can strap around your arm to receive real-time audio coaching through earphones.

In line with its ad slogan “every runner is different, every heart is different,” people can input their physical profiles on miCoach Pacer’s Web site (www.miCoach.com) and set workout goals. The device then measures heart rate, pace and calories burnt, among other information, as users run and provides guidance as well.

The device works in conjunction with a heart rate monitor, a stride sensor and earphones. It is also compatible with most MP3 players so runners can enjoy music while breaking a sweat.

“The miCoach Pacer coaches runners according to their physical profiles and conditions. It can also prevent amateur runners from suffering the side effects from excessive running,” said Ji Yeong, a manager at Adidas.

Nike also features a similar product, the Nike+ Sensor. Runners can insert the sensor in Nike+ running shoes. The device measures the distance and pace of a walk or run and sends that information to the Nike+ Sportband, an iPod or an iPhone 3GS.

It’s not just sportswear and equipment makers introducing these personal training gizmos. Samsung Electronics added a workout measurement function to its Popcorn Yepp U5 MP3 Player. The device audibly tells users how long it’s been since they began working out and how many calories they are burning.

Iqua, a Finland-based maker of headsets and hands-free devices, also rolled out its BHS-603 SUN, which it claims is the first solar-powered Bluetooth headset. As it can be charged with sunlight, it’s especially useful for outdoor activities.

Sony’s earbud-style MP3 player, called the W-series Walkman, is another audio option, as it doesn’t hinder movement.

For those who like to hit the links, LG Electronics, the world’s No. 3 maker of handsets, is featuring a golf-friendly touchscreen phone, the LG SB210. With built-in golf course info, an electronic compass and GPS, the handset guides golfers through the course.

If you are into mountain climbing or biking, Samsung Electronics’ Anycall Extreme phone comes with a built-in electronic compass, altimeter and a device that measures strides.


By Moon Byung-joo [hkim@joongang.co.kr]



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