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New gadgets for fitness fans in your life

  • News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Published Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Maybe the best part of having a fitness fanatic on your holiday shopping list is that you likely won’t be stumped when creating your gift list.

“What do you get for somebody who already has everything?” doesn’t really apply in an industry that is perpetually producing new exercise gadgets.

Here are eight ideas to help guide you.

Magellan Echo Watch, $149. The Magellan Echo Watch links to a smartphone so you can check exercise stats with a glance at your wrist rather than fumbling with your phone. The watch is compatible with applications such as MapMyRun, Strava and Wahoo Fitness, but it is not a standalone device. The watch works with your phone via a Bluetooth connection and also allows control of music from your wrist. Magellangps.com

Stabilicers SportRunners, $39.95. For runners and walkers, icy roads and trails often mean choosing between two evils. One, hit the road and risk slipping and injuring yourself. Or, two, the dreaded treadmill. Stabilicers SportRunners are chains for your feet. These ice cleats strap to running shoes, allowing you to log miles outdoors even when conditions are nasty. You’ll have nine cleats from heel to toe on each foot designed to improve traction throughout your stride. 32north.com

Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED Vest, $44.50. Exercising outside is a great way to keep your fitness routine from getting stale over the winter. But if you run, walk, bike or do anything else that requires sharing the road with vehicles, it can get dangerous. With early sunsets and gray weather, motorists can have a hard time spotting runners and cyclists. The Amphipod Xinglet vest is designed to help reduce that risk. The vest has flashing red LED lights on the front and back, plus reflective material on the shoulders and waistband. Rei.com.

Waterproofed iPod Shuffle, $139.95. For decades, runners have used music to help pass the time during workouts while swimmers have been on their own. Waterfi’s Waterproofed iPod Shuffle allows users to clip the tiny device on their goggles and listen to up to 2 gigabytes of music in the pool. According to waterfi.com, the device is “completely waterproof down to 210 feet.” Waterfi.com

AirBac, $50-160. Whether you’re carrying a pack on a day hike or sending kids off for a day of school and sports loaded down with textbooks and athletic gear, a good backpack is important to maintaining good back health. AirBac claims its design not only reduces back stress by automatically adjusting to your body, but it will feel as if you are carrying half of the weight. I’ve used one, and I’m not quite sure I can vouch for “half the weight,” but it definitely feels lighter than I expected and very comfortable when worn properly (use both straps). Airbac.com

Workout partner, free. One of the most common excuses I hear for not working out is “I don’t have anybody to work out with.” It’s totally unnecessary, of course, but whether you are ripped or just starting down the road to good fitness, exercise always is more fun and less intimidating with a trusted partner.

Offering yourself up as a workout buddy can be a great gift for several reasons: First, it’s a cheap gift. Second, you’re bound to benefit from it too. Finally, if it works out, the person who received the gift still will be enjoying it long after they’ve forgotten about all their other Christmas presents.

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