9 of the Best Fitness Tech Items That We Tried This Year, All In One Place

As far as I’m concerned, we’re all living in The Jetsons—except, rather than casually owning flying cars, we’re all flying on techy treads, strapping devices that measure our heart rates on our wrists, and taking yoga classes from a magic mirror on the wall. The future is now, folks. So if you have someone on your holiday list who lives the sweat life, we’ve rounded up the best fitness technology buys you can wrap in a bow and feel confident they’ll love.

From smartwatches to wireless earbuds to next-level recovery devices, we’ve rounded up the gifts that just keep on giving—many of which are on sale right now. You can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose, so let’s get shopping, shall we?

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© Photo: Stocksy/Marco Govel; All Graphics: Well+Good Creative

1. Fitbit Versa 3, $230

a close up of a device

© Provided by Well+Good

Photo: FitbitThe Fitbit Versa 3 arrives packed with cool features. Perhaps most notably, the device records your “active zone minutes” that buzz when you reach your desired heart rate during exercise. That means when the burpees hit just right, you’ll get a little buzz to say “good job.”

Shop now:  Fitbit Versa 3, $230

© Photo: Peloton

There are few things I wouldn’t do to own this treadmill. After running on one years ago at the Peloton Tread+ studio in New York City, I instantly started a “Peloton” fund to save up for the day when I would purchase this baby and run it into the sunset. Alas, I’m still saving—but we’ll get there. One of the techy features that makes this treadmill all the rage is the fact that you can use easy-access knobs to adjust your speed and incline in seconds, but there’s so much more in store, fam.

Shop now: Peloton Tread, $2,495


© Photo: Amazon

Ah, the Airpods Pro. I’ve written about them so many times because they are worth every word. With noise-cancellation that literally transplants you to a new world, nothing will disrupt your workouts ever again.

Shop now: Apple Airpods Pro, $250

a computer mouse

© Photo: JAXJOX

Who needs five different kettlebells when you could just buy one adjustable one? This device can adapt from weighing 12 pounds to 42 in less than three seconds and uses artificial intelligence reporting to record your reps, sets, and workout as a whole.

Shop now: JAXJOX Kettlebell Connect 2.0, $199


© Photo: Powerdot

When you gift someone a Powerdot, you’re gifting them a future of home massages. Just strap it onto any sore muscle group and you’ll feel its Smart Muscle Stimulator get to work on repairing those muscles so you can get out for your run, bike ride, or HIIT workout again soon.

Shop now:  Powerdot 2.0, $199

© Photo: Oura

Ask any expert—a trainer, a makeup artist, a sleep doctor—and they’ll tell you that eight hours of sleep is essential for doing all the things you love. The Oura Ring pays attention while you sleep and delivers a morning report that gives you

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Combining Mixed Reality Tech With Brain Signals Could Improve Rehabilitative Medicine

A new headset and software platform allows researchers and developers of mixed reality programs the opportunity to incorporate signals from the brain and body into their technology, something that has wide potential for use in rehabilitative medicine.

Virtual and augmented reality has already been used to treat patients with a range of psychiatric disorders including ADHD, PTSD and anxiety, but this tech could help improve how effective it is.

“You can use virtual reality to put people into those environments and throttle how intense the experience is, but if you could know how intense the reaction is that someone is having, you can decide whether to dial it up a little bit, or dial it down a little bit just to make sure that they’re not overwhelmed by the immersion,” says Conor Russomanno, CEO of OpenBCI, a Brooklyn-based startup that developed the Galea headset.

Another application of the technology, is to give people with spinal injuries or other forms of paralysis more freedom and to allow those who have lost limbs the ability to better control prosthetics.

There are different types of brain-computer interfaces and many involve actually implanting electrodes into the brain or spinal cord to either give people the ability to control a computer, or an artificial limb. However, the OpenBCI technology relies on external, non-invasive electroencephalogram readings to monitor brain activity (taken from sensors on a cap).

“The amount of control and the fidelity you have, obviously increases with the signal quality, and the best signal quality you’re going to get is by putting electrodes down into the brain,” says Russomanno.

“But, a lot of the magic happens in the classification and the machine learning on a case on a person by person basis. And so, this is where I think that BCI technology is going to be used for personalizing control.”

There are of course big attractions to the non-invasive nature of this technology. If the artificial intelligence and machine learning side of the software can make up for the reduced signal then it has great potential to help people in need of this technology.

Russomanno set up OpenBCI with one of his professors after leaving grad school 6 years ago. The company is unusual in that it has been developing inexpensive, non-invasive, open source brain-computer interface technology for the last 6 years.

It’s unusual as most tech companies keep the technology behind their products under high levels of secrecy. “I think it’s super important that that innovation takes place in the public domain, in a way where people have a variety of backgrounds and disciplines can contribute,” emphasizes Russomanno.

“It doesn’t take place behind closed doors where the incentives of what’s being put into the world, and what’s being used by the users, can be misaligned with the best interest of the users themselves.”

Since the company started, many tech companies and researchers have used the OpenBCI tech to develop

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‘I’m a Cardiologist, and This Is the One Piece of Fitness Tech I Use for Every Workout’

Cell phones tend to get a bad rap. They’re blamed for keeping us up at night and interfering with our relationships. But contrary to what the Internet may lead you to believe, that tiny screen is helping us with a whole heck of a lot these days when it comes to wellness. According to Jennifer Haythe, MD, a New York City-based board-certified cardiologist (who also happens to be an avid marathon runner) it’s the most important piece of tech for fitness that she relies on every day.


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“I love to run and my favorite tech is pretty simple: My iPhone equipped with the RunGo and Strava apps,” she says. “RunGo lets me map out a run wherever I am with mileage and even suggests routes that work for my desired distance, and Strava lets me know my pace, splits, and elevation.” These apps are both easily available in the iTunes store, and make logging miles a cinch—once they’re downloaded, all you have to do is keep your phone with you while you run. RunGo gives you the option of being voice coached through your route, so you never have to worry about getting lost, and Strava measures your performance and allows you to share it with a community of other runners using the app.

a woman talking on a cell phone: tech for fitness

© Photo: Getty Images/

tech for fitness

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© Photo: Amazon

Shop now: Apple iPhone 12, $884

In addition to the data that these running apps deliver, the iPhone puts some other pretty important health intel in the palm of your hands. Its built-in Health app allows you to track your daily activity (aka your steps), your menstrual cycle, and your bedtime. For more intensive information, you can connect it to an activity tracker—like an Apple Watch or FitBit—or to third-party phone apps that transmit their data directly into your health dashboard, giving you a full picture of your nutrition (MyFitnessPal), sleep (SleepCycle), and mindful minutes (Breathe). In other words, from the same screen where you can stalk your exes, you can also gain a full picture of your health metrics.

Gallery: I’m a Trainer, and These Are the 5 Fitness Gadgets I Can’t Live Without (PopSugar)

So while doom scrolling in bed when you should be sleeping isn’t great for your health (Seriously! Turn on the Bedtime function immediately), there are plenty of other ways to use your iPhone for the sake of your wellbeing. A cardiologist says so.

Dr. Jen is also a fan of the Apple Watch. Check out the video below to see what she has to say about it. 

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Health systems are seeking long-term health tech tie-ups

  • Hospital CIOs are currently eyeing health tech partners for the long haul.
  • And health systems that demonstrate clear ROI, like Amwell and Health Catalyst, are in a solid position to win deals.
  • Insider Intelligence publishes hundreds of insights, charts, and forecasts on the Digital Health industry with the Digital Health Briefing. For a limited time, you can try the Briefing for a full week for just $1!

Health system leaders think health tech companies have long-term potential, and they’re starting to see value in these companies beyond a COVID-19-colored lens: A survey of 20 health system CIOs and innovation leaders shows over 60% are interested in investing in platforms that target patient experience, telehealth, and operational efficiency.

US health systems most coveted digital health solutions

Health systems are eyeing health tech partners.

Business Insider Intelligence

The coronavirus pandemic severely impacted health systems’ budgets, which fast-tracked health system-health tech partnerships: 

  • Health systems faced steep financial losses, leaving them scrambling for ways to restore revenue. From March 1 to June 30 of this year, US hospitals and health systems lost nearly $203 billion, per the AHA. These losses can be largely attributed to lower patient volumes, cancellations of elective procedures, and the costs of additional logistics, support, and PPE supplies. Despite a $175 billion relief package from Congress, health systems still had to invest in care solutions and resort to furloughing or laying off employees for some financial padding.  
  • To contend with newfound healthcare delivery and operational woes, health systems quickly turned to digital solutions to stay afloat. Virtual care became a go-to healthcare delivery option almost overnight—telehealth vendors secured millions in funding from health systems’ VC arms as they looked to implement digital health solutions to recoup revenue. For instance, Genesis Health System invested in Bright.md to virtualize and streamline its healthcare delivery operations—which allowed it to reach patients amid widespread stay-at-home orders and optimize its provider workforce. 

Health tech startups that prove they have ROI potential will usher in a wave of tie-ups with eager health systems. With health systems already struggling to hold onto their shrinking budgets, startups will have to prove clear value to reel in health system customers: 50% of health systems think their budgets will not normalize for at least one year, per Dreamit Ventures-MedCityNews.

A 2020 Center for Connected Medicine survey of 130 health system executives shows telehealth tools and virtualization of administrative tasks produced the highest ROIs—which will likely capture the interest of health systems.

For example, Northwell Health, one of the largest health systems in the US, reported a $1.2 billion financial loss due to the pandemic—yet in August, the health system partnered with health data company, Health Catalyst, to leverage its analytics capabilities to boost precision medicine efforts and reduce spending on extraneous tests and procedures. 

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Could a career as a biomedical engineer tech. be for you?

Retiring baby boomers and pandemic-induced worker shortages have created a surging demand for biomedical engineering technicians, industry experts said in a recent virtual panel discussion.

Hosted by Houston Community College’s Global Energy Center of Excellence, panelists included Dr. Mehmet Argin, dean of Global Energy Center of Excellence; David Echols, HCC Electronics Engineering Technology Program advisory board chairman and field administration for AEI Medical Equipment Services, Rajan Sharma, vice president for Sunbelt Medical Corporation, Ronald Robb, assistant director of biomedical engineering with Texas Children’s Hospital, and Tim Tatum, director of biomedical engineering for Harris Health Hospital System.

What does a BMET do?

BMETs, also known as biomed techs, operate, repair and maintain essential medical equipment at hospitals. It is a rewarding and high-wage career, said Echols, and can be a springboard to other opportunities. Sharma called it a growing field, poised to see employment growth over the next decade.

“Most people who are in biomed have been in it for 35 plus years,” said Ecchols. “There’s a transition that’s going on right now, because baby boomers are moving out, older people are retiring.”

Biomed technicians know the outline of the hospital, Ecchols said, and the different ways each department uses the equipment.

“If a defibrillator or monitor goes down, they call biomed,” said Ecchols.

The coronavirus revealed the need for frontline workers in emergency medical services. Tatum said a more accurate term would be “healthcare technology” instead of “biomed technology.” A BMET is not someone who works in a lab.

Certifications and salaries

Most BMETs earn a two-year associate’s degree from an accredited medical technology school.

“However, there are some that do the four-year college and get a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, so that’s also an option,” said Sharma. “You can go further with more training and certifications and get to a higher level.”

The starting salaries, for those straight out of school with no experience, are in the $40,000 per year range, panelists said.

“There’s lots of room for growth, we have quite a number of our techs doing well over $100,000 a year based on experience and skill levels,” said Robb.

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Fitness tech company JAXJOX raises $10M as it gets ready to ship AI-enabled workout system

The JAXJOX InteractiveStudio exercise system. (JAXJOX Photo)

JAXJOX, the Redmond, Wash.-based fitness technology company, has raised $10 million in a new funding round to help pay for the research and development of its signature InteractiveStudio workout equipment.

The Series A round included investors Dowgate Capital Ltd. and entrepreneur Nigel Wray, and brings total funding to $17 million for the 3-year-old company.

JAXJOX is getting set to release its InteractiveStudio smart gym, a home fitness system that includes digitally adjustable weights, AI-enabled connected tech built into the equipment, and live and on-demand classes.

With connected tech built into individual pieces of free-weight equipment, such as a smart kettlebell, users don’t have to stand a certain distance from a screen to have form and motion tracked.

“By monitoring performance metrics and using AI, we can give users a more holistic view of their health and provide recommendations on improving their wellbeing,” founder and CEO Stephen Owusu said in a news release. “We believe that, for users, tracking power generated while lifting will become as important as tracking your heart rate while running.”

The InteractiveStudio is available for pre-order on the JAXJOX website and retails for $2,199 with a $39 monthly subscription. The system will also sell as part of an exclusive retail partnership this fall with Best Buy.

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