Health experts recommend that adults ages 18 to 64 get at least 30 minutes of “moderate intensity aerobic exercise” — meaning walking or jogging quickly enough to break a sweat — five days a week, plus strength training twice a week. Kids 6-17 should get 60 minutes — mostly aerobic — every day. Unfortunately, most people don’t come anywhere close. Fortunately, you don’t have to do all of your daily minutes in one session. Instead, you can divide them into more manageable chunks — 10 minutes or so — and spread them throughout the day. Here’s a look at three products than can start you and your kids on the right track.
• Activity Trackers: Fitbug Orb and Fitbit Zip.
An easy way to tell whether you’re getting enough exercise is to track the number of steps you take. Shoot for 10,000 every day. These two trackers do that — and a whole lot more — and are great for people just starting a fitness program or getting back into one after a long break.
The Fitbug Orb and the Fitbit Zip are very similar — in more than just the company name (not surprisingly, there’s a lawsuit pending). Both are attractive, lightweight, come in a variety of colors, and can run 4-6 months on easy-to-find, replaceable watch batteries. Both track calories burned, distance covered and total number of steps, including high-energy steps, which Fitbit calls “very active” and Fitbug calls “aerobic.” Both wirelessly sync data to a smartphone or PC, but Android compatibility is limited. Best of all, they’re both cheap enough that you and the kids can each have your own, which can add a bit of friendly competition — and incentive — to your family’s fitness plan.
There are, however, a few important differences. The Fitbit Zip has a display so you can track your progress, but the device is available only as a clip-on and can’t track your sleep. It’s compatible with more popular third-party apps such as MapMyFitness, and you can enter your food consumption through the mobile app. The Zip is also easier and more intuitive to set up. $59.95. www.fitbit.com
The Fitbug Orb eases you into fitness by helping you set reasonable, gradually increasing goals, and electronically nudges you if you’re not hitting your targets. You can wear your Orb on a lanyard, a wristband or clipped to your clothes or underwear. Online, you can manually enter workouts such as cycling, martial arts, yoga, and weight training. The Orb also can track your sleep and shows you (on the website) how well — and how long — you’re sleeping. Unfortunately, the Orb doesn’t have a display, which is inconvenient if you want to check your progress but aren’t within Bluetooth shot of your iPhone or iPad. $49.95. www.fitbug.com
• Gorilla Gym.
We’re no strangers to home workouts, so Gorilla Gym’s claim that it’s “the world’s most versatile home gym” raised a few eyebrows around here. But after living with it for a few weeks, we have to agree. And we’d add that it must also be the world’s most solidly built piece of home exercise equipment.
The basic gym weighs just 8 pounds and takes about a minute to install into any standard-size doorway, where it’s certified to hold up to 300 pounds — without holes or sheetrock-cracking pressure mounts. What makes the Gorilla Gym so unique are all the plug-and-play attachments, including air straps, indoor swing, rings and ladders. As the weather gets colder, having a Gorilla Gym means you’ll no longer have any excuse for not exercising — or not having fun. $59.95 for the core unit. http://gorilla-gym.com/