Entries in Exercise (93)


Star Trainer Tracy Anderson’s A-List Body Secrets

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s the New Year and that means its time for the inevitable New Year’s resolution: lose weight.

Celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson, who has helped everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian sculpt their superstar figures, appeared on ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday to help you jump start your weight-loss resolutions.  The trainer-to-the-stars shared her tips to get that A-list body you always wanted and stick to your 2013 New Year’s weight-loss goals.

1. Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Believe it or not, dancing is a great way to burn calories, Anderson says.  The trainer taught Paltrow how to do dance aerobics to stay fit since repetitive cardio sessions work the same muscle groups and can make clients bulk up.

2. Switch It Up Every 10 Days

To see results in your body, you have to switch it up.  Anderson recommends changing your workout routine every 10 days because that’s how long it takes for your muscles to “get smart” and stop responding like they once did to the same workouts.

3.  Visualize the Body You Want and Commit to It

Think about the results you want to achieve and find the best path to get there, Anderson says.  Stay focused and don’t wimp out mentally.  You have to really commit to where you want to go.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small

One of the big excuses for not keeping our resolutions is that we are all too busy.  But to achieve your goals, start small, Anderson says.  Start with 10 minutes of focused exercise a day with a coach.  Walk into a class and take 10 minutes and you can work your way up.

5. Trampolines Are Fun and Can Be Easier on the Joints

The more fun a workout is, the easier it can be to stick with it.  A mini trampoline workout is something everybody can do, Anderson says, and it’s enjoyable.  It’s also easy on the joints.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


More Kids Turning into Yoga Practitioners

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Yoga is said to be the fastest-growing sport in America, with 20 million people practicing.  But the latest trend among yogis is that an increasing number of practitioners are pint-sized.

Kids -- from newborns to teenagers -- are learning the terms downward-facing dog, sun salutation and more in kids-only yoga studios and even in their classrooms . It's also one of the only non-competitive sports available.

"More practitioners and more parents are becoming aware of the benefits of yoga and seeing their kids can benefit too," said Liz Eustace, CEO of Alignyo, an online yoga community with a newsletter devoted to all things yoga.  "The things that benefit an adult will also benefit a child.  Stress reduction, mind-body connection, physical strength -- these are things that benefit kids as well as adults."

At a recent kids yoga class for 6- to 9-year-olds at YogiBeans, a kids-only studio on New York City's Upper East Side, both parents and children were anxious to talk about the good yoga has brought to their lives.

"It clears your mind off something that's really bothering you," said one little girl.

So how does a kids yoga teacher keep the kids attention on the "oommm" for an entire class?  While there are similarities between kids and adult yoga, a kids class is far more relaxed.

"[Kids and adult classes are] very different, but the foundation is always the same.  There's still the mind-body connection that is the foundation of all yoga," said Eustace.  "But what's great is there's a ton of creativity with kids yoga, like meowing like a cat, barking in downward dog or hissing like a cobra.  There's an incredible amount of creativity and playfulness within the foundation of yoga.  And it's these kids moving in such a creative and conscious way that makes it such a fun practice for children to get involved with."

Lauren Chaitoff, co-owner and instructor at YogiBeans, agreed.  

"It's going to be little bit sillier, more playful.  Kids are stressed these days, there are social pressures and pressure in school," she said.

Experts say parents should do their research before signing their kids up for a yoga program.  A good place to start is the Yoga Alliance website, where parents can search for a instructor that's been trained in children's yoga.  The voluntary standards put forth by Yoga Alliance require 96 hours of training to become registered.

If there are no children's yoga programs in your area, your kids can still benefit from the practice.

"There's great resources online and through books and through DVDs," said Eustace.  "Whether you're in a small community or a larger community you can still integrate a lot of the practices and teachings of kids yoga."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senior Citizens Can Age Easier with Endurance Exercise

Comstock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Endurance training like long distance track competitions can possibly protect against the effects of aging in senior citizens, a new study suggests in MedPage.

Among the subjects that were between the ages of 66 to 77, the endurance athletes tended to have longer telomeres, which are ends of chromosomes that protect from deterioration, according to Javaid Nauman Ph.D. of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

The researchers used a small sample group of 20 individuals and believe their findings are preliminary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Yoga and Boot Camp Go to the Dogs

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Early in the morning, while most humans and their pets are still in bed, a few brave souls start the day with boot camp. They are not just pounding the pavement with two legs, however, but with many more -- three or four to be exact.  

They are taking part in Thank Dog! Bootcamp, a training program for dogs and their owners that has expanded to locations nationwide.

“We have aggressive dogs.  We have overweight dogs.  We have little dogs.  We have dogs with three legs,” Jill Bowers, the program’s co-founder, told ABC News.

The program, now in cities from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles, provides a one-of-a-kind fitness training program that allows dogs and their owners to work out alongside one another for an hour at a time.

“It’s sort of killing two birds with one stone,” Bowers said.  “No matter what, you need exercise.  A dog needs exercise and obedience training so they come every day.”

The idea for Thank Dog! Bootcamp was born in 2007 after Bowers began working out at Barry’s Bootcamp, a California-based workout program popular with celebrities like Kim Kardashian.  Bowers then had the idea to partner the company she already owned, Thank Dog! Training, Southern California’s leading dog obedience training company, with a Barry’s-like boot camp regime for owners and dogs alike.

“When people sign up for boot camp, they don’t leave because it becomes more of a lifestyle than anything,” Bowers said.

Bowers and her business partner at the time got the idea off the ground and, in 2009, Bowers partnered with Noelle Blessey, a personal trainer and boot camp instructor, to bring the boot camp portion of obedience training to life.

When instructors bark commands to, for example, run laps, both the pets and their owners sprint side-by-side.  When the human students work out with weights, perform jumping jacks and other exercises in one spot, their well-behaved pets quietly observe their owners, while leashed, by their sides.

After a tough boot camp session, when dogs and their owners want to unwind, they can turn to dog yoga classes, another trend in the exercise-with-your pet phenomenon.

Like doggie boot camps, doggie yoga classes, also known as Doga, have now popped up across the country.

The Bidawee Animal Shelter in New York City offers Doga events for “pet parents interested in trying this new fitness routine and helping their dogs maintain or achieve a healthy weight,” according to its website.

“It makes so much sense to do yoga with your dog since dogs already routinely practice yoga,” a Doga instructor at Bidawee told ABC News.  “[Dogs] are very much of the moment, they live in the moment.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Parents May Sue Over Yoga Lessons in Public Schools

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Parents in a southern California community are considering legal action over the constitutionality of a form of yoga being taught to their children, which they claim is introducing religion into public schools.

Last month, half of the students attending classes in the Encinitas Union School District K-6 elementary schools in San Diego North County began taking Ashtanga (Sanskrit for "eight-limbed") yoga for 30 minutes twice per week. In January, the other half will begin the lessons.

Concerned parents have now retained constitutional First Amendment attorney Dean Broyles, who says that Ashtanga yoga is a religious form of yoga, and that religious aspects have been introduced into the schools.

"The poses and positions are acknowledged by Ashtanga and Hindi yoga as forms of worship and prayers to Hindu deities," he told ABC News. "They have a spiritual and religious meaning behind them."

Broyles said that although he was at first skeptical that there were truly religious belief and practices being taught to kids, the more he investigated and spoke with parents, the more he realized it was a constitutional issue.

Broyles says that he brought up the matter at a Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) trustees meeting, along with 60 concerned parents, on Oct. 9. Now the EUSD trustees will be reviewing whether the grant money violates the religious freedom of students and parents.

The yoga, which is being taught in all nine of the schools in the district, is being funded by a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Ashtanga yoga across the world. All of the instructors teaching the students are certified and trained by the Jois Foundation in Ashtanga yoga.

Broyles points to hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones and his wife Sonia Jones, who is a known dedicated disciple of Sri Pattabhi Jois, the recently deceased master of Ashtanga yoga, as the money behind the EUSD yoga program. The district's program will be studied by the University of Virginia and University of San Diego to look at benefits of Ashtanga yoga, as outlined in a letter sent to parents by EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird.

"The study will look at the way that public school systems can impact student learning, health, positive relationships, and overall wellness through the implementation of a holistic approach to student wellness," Baird said in the letter.

Calls placed by ABC News to Superintendent Baird were not immediately returned.

The Tudor Joneses, Broyles says, were instrumental in the founding of the Jois Foundation and put up the money for the EUSD Ashtanga yoga grant. He says that parents are now not only questioning Hindu religion entering their schools, but the validity if this study being undertaken.

"We think that children are being used as guinea pigs," he said. "Following the money, you see what's going on … It would be like a charismatic Christian organization funding classes in worship and praise, and also funding a research center at a public university that is studying whether this is an effective form of exercise."

Broyles says that it has been argued that the in-school yoga programs have been stripped of their spirituality. But he says that kids in EUSD are being exposed to Hindu thought and belief within the school.

"On the wall there was a poster that showed the Ashtanga, or 8-limbed deity. There are words showing what the limbs are," he said. "The ultimate goal is to be absorbed into the universe, which is called Samadhi. They had a poster depicting that. Fundamentally it is a Hindu religion being taught through Ashtanga yoga."

Children are also being taught eastern meditation techniques to calm themselves, where one clears the mind of all thoughts, poses that were imparted by Hindu deities, and in one class were trained in drawing mandalas, according to Broyles.

Parents also raised specific concerns about the program aside from the religious aspects, saying that the fact that kids are taking 60 minutes of the 100 minutes per week allotted for physical education to do yoga is inappropriate. Broyles said that for 40 minutes per week the kids are not getting PE, and that they're not offering anything for kids that are opting out of the program.

Broyles says that there are some yoga enthusiasts in favor of the program; he says that people in the district don't really understand eastern mysticism, yoga's roots in Hinduism, and what's being taught.

"If we were introducing Christian worship of bowing, there would be outcry in the community," he said. "It's dangerous to kids."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Celeb Fitness Trainer’s 7 Tips for Improving Your Workout

Courtesy Noah Neiman(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity trainer and fitness instructor Noah Neiman of Barry’s Bootcamp offered these tips for improving your workout and day-to-day lifestyle. Follow him on Twitter, @noahDneiman:

How to Spice Up Your Exercise Routine:

1. Do ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ (H.I.I.T.):

While there have always been disparaging views on the best forms of fitness throughout the years, there has been an unanimous and consistent consensus that this style of training is the most efficient way to shed pounds and develop functionally lean bodies. In short; training at a high intensity for bursts of time, instead of merely doing sets and repetitions of an exercise, will help your body develop faster.

You want your body to have a certain amount of time under tension in order for your muscles to develop rapidly. Forgo sets and reps for seconds and minutes.  For example, to train biceps, try one minute of dumbbell curls instead of a set of 10 repetitions or for anaerobic training think 10 30-second sprints instead of 30 minutes of steady rate cardio on the treadmill.

Stop-and-go traffic burns the most fuel in cars. Think about applying that methodology to your workouts to really see a next level body.  

2.  For Developing Lower Abs, Take an Unconventional Approach:

Try training legs by doing dead-lifts, reverse lunges and machine leg extensions in order to target the hard to reach areas of your abdominal wall.

Be sure not to neglect your back, especially the lower back, as you amp up your abdominal training. Doing so will help quell lower back pain, as well as draw the skin of your abdomen back as your back muscles develop.

3. Add Jump Rope to Your Routine:

Not only will jump rope keep your heart rate up, but it will also target hard to hit tiny muscle fibers while allowing your body to work symbiotically together in order to complete the exercise. I’ve also found that 10 minutes of jumping rope before a workout has maximized the caloric burn I get throughout my whole workout.

It has also been shown that the impact of the jumping up and down will help increase bone density and muscle mass around bones; A great way to help your body stave off osteoporosis. Just be aware that there is a good amount of impact on your knee joints, so those with knee injuries may want to just start downing heaps of Kale and chug some Organic full-fat whole milk.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout:

1. Study Human Anatomy:

Do some research on the full breadth of muscles that should be trained and also look at how muscle groups function together. Every major muscle group has a supporting muscle group.

The problem with training yourself when you are not a fitness professional is that there are many muscle groups as well as many different ways to train them. Neglecting any body part makes you more prone to injury, and you will not develop that functional, sexy, symmetrical body you want.

2. Turn the Cell Phone Off, Put the Magazine Down, Turn the Music Up:

Distractions during what is arguably the most important part of your day is a big fitness no-no. If you are working out to better yourself and the functionality of your body, train like it.

Don’t text your friends or read magazines while on your favorite piece of cardio equipment. If you can read a magazine while “working out,” chances are you are not working out.

Listening to your favorite music, preferably something with a high number of beats per minute (around 135 BPM), which will subliminally amp up your workout, allowing you to train like you mean it. Remember, actions directly correlate with the results.

3. Fat Percentage Reduction Tip

The only time I really advocate long duration low intensity cardio, such as riding the bike for an hour at a steady rate, is to do so on an empty stomach in the morning.

For my celebrity clients who need to get camera ready and shed some quick pounds, I tell them to drink a glass of water after they wake up, sip some black coffee or green tea and keep your heart rate elevated at a moderate rate for 45-60 minutes. This will rev your metabolism up for the rest of the day and will help your body target fat stores for energy instead of any merely burning the food you may have consumed before working out.

4.  Watch What You Eat:

Food directly contributes to how your body functions and looks so eat right: More produce, veggies, lean animal meats or plant based proteins.

Try foods with one ingredient in them, and preferably always be able to pronounce the ingredients on the ingredient list.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Twenty Minutes of Exercise Cuts Kids' Diabetes Risk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUGUSTA, Ga.) -- Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can protect kids from diabetes, according to a new study.

This clinical trial, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, randomly assigned 222 overweight, inactive kids to one of three activity groups for 13 weeks.

The first two groups underwent 20 or 40 minutes of daily aerobic exercise in an after-school program. The third group went about their usual routines.

The researchers found that 20 minutes of exercise for just a few months was helpful compared to no exercise at all, said the lead author of the study, Catherine L. Davis, a professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia.

Those kids who were active for just 20 minutes a day were more fit, had less body fat, and had better markers for diabetes risk when compared to kids who weren't active.

The authors also found that health effects of exercise were the same for boys and girls and for different races.

Predictably enough, the study also found that more exercise is better. Kids who exercised longer had even less body fat and better values for markers of diabetes risk.

What was surprising is that these benefits occurred even without changing what kids ate.

"This study helps to isolate the benefit of exercise in cutting down on diabetes risk and obesity in kids," said study co-author, Dr. B. Adam Dennis, an endocrinology fellow at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, Ga.

More research is needed to see if these results last, caution the researchers.

Dr. David L. Katz, editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, said the study shows "even a little bit of physical activity might be the difference between a child developing diabetes or not." Katz was not involved with the study.

These findings could help policymakers when it comes to redesigning physical activity opportunities at the local, national and global level.

This school-based study suggests that the "physical" may need to be put back into "education." Davis suggested that schools are a natural focus for exercise programs. While the creation of after-school exercise programs might be necessary to ensure 40 minutes of daily exercise, she said, 20 minutes a day of exercise can be achieved during regular school activities, like recess and gym class. She added that exercise is not just useful in cutting back diabetes risk and obesity, but it is also good for kids' brains. She cited a related study that showed that exercise improved cognition and math skills in kids.

Short exercise breaks in the classroom can easily be included during the school day, said Katz, who is also the co-creator of an in-class exercise program that offers online, free resources for educators.

This study had an unusually low drop-out rate -- perhaps because the activities were simple, fun and appealing to kids of all athletic abilities, Davis said. The researchers also used low-cost prizes to reward kids for effort rather than performance.

"We purposely de-emphasized performance," said Davis, adding that it didn't really matter if they got the ball in the hoop as long as they achieved their target heart rate.

Their findings have important implications for designing school exercise programs in the future, she said, because many other programs tend to weed out less physically skilled kids and focus on a smaller group of more athletic kids.

One-third of American elementary school kids are overweight or obese, according to 2008 statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes is one of the most deadly and devastating consequences of obesity -- hence the importance of finding out how much exercise kids should get in order to prevent it.

Katz said the study shows that when it comes to how much exercise is helpful in cutting diabetes risk, "some is better none; more is better than some."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seven Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Keep a Kid A-Okay

Ezra Shaw/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- All it takes is seven minutes a day for your kid to get fit, or so says a new study by Canadian researchers.

Scientists at Manitoba Institute of Child Health believe that a child who takes part in rigorous activity for as little as seven minutes will get more than from an hour of moderate or low intensity exercise.

Study author Jonathan McGavock adds that the benefits are there, regardless of a youngster's diet.

Why is less more in this case?

McGavock explains, “There are certain enzymes in the body that tend to be preferentially activated with higher intensity exercise and we believe that there is a positive effect there.  We also think that it may be related to how higher intensity exercise affects your metabolism following the exercise session."

Researchers also think that the same regimen can be true for adults.  McGavock emphasizes that seven minutes is the minimum and that people can and should certainly extend their high intensity workout if possible.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sense-Able Clothing Reminds Exercisers to Work Out Right

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bees do it.  Cellphones do it.  And now workout clothing does it too.  Buzz, that is.

Say your stomach pooches out too far while doing a core exercise in a Pilates class.  The sensors in the Move tank top spot your mistake and emit a mild electric shock reminding you to tighten up those abs.  Same thing if your hip pops out at the wrong angle during a leg toning series.  When the correction is made, the clothing delivers three buzzy "attaboys" to the area so you know you're back in alignment.

The garment, which was presented this July at the Wearable Technologies conference in San Francisco, has four stretch-and-flex sensors woven out of conductive fibers and embedded into its front, back and sides.  The sensors are strategically placed to help correct the most common errors people make during a mat Pilates class.

Made from the same materials as regular exercise clothing, it isn't bulky or uncomfortable, and most of the garment can withstand the spin cycle.  The battery and other components that can't be washed are removable.

The tank also transmits workout information to your smart phone via Bluetooth and has an app that analyzes your technique and critiques your performance.  You can download short animated movies that show you where you tend to go wrong, then offers suggestions on how you can improve.

Jennifer Darmour, the tank's designer, says the idea came to her when she realized how much money she was spending on Pilates classes, which can run upward of $200 an hour for a private session.  She started to think of ways to help speed up the learning process.

"I thought putting sensors in the clothing could give feedback to help you improve your technique a lot faster," Darmour who is a technology expert, says.  "It's not meant to replace an instructor but it can certainly help you understand the technique even when the instructor isn't around."

Scientists are on board with the concept.  Joseph Paradiso of the Massachusetts Information Technology Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass., believes this type of technology can be a great teaching tool, particularly for an activity like Pilates in which the movement is meant to be very precise.

"There is only so much information we can take in with our eyes and our ears and these types of sensors can be very effective at picking up mistakes and offering feedback.  When they are in the right place they help you instinctively make corrections," Paradiso says.

The Move system is unique to the Pilates world, but so-called wearable technology is a hot clothing category.  IMS Research, a British research firm that tracks statistics for the global electronics industry, reports that more than 14 million wearable devices were shipped last year, most of them in the fitness and medical category.  By 2016, they predict the market will hit $6 billion in revenue.

While the Move tank is still in the development phase and won't hit the shelves for at least a year, consumers will find there's certainly no shortage of workout gear that helps track stats, enhance performance or offer a measure of protection.

Shoe inserts, wrist watches and clip-ons serve as high-tech pedometers to track, download and analyze the mileage and speed of runners and cyclists.  A waistband called the Lumobelt uses a sensor system similar to the Move tank to remind those with back pain to stand up straight.  There's even an "invisible bike helmet" you wear around your neck like a scarf that deploys like an airbag over your head if you're in a crash.

Darmour is working on incorporating sensor technology into other types of gear where the sport calls for precise technique.  She hopes in the future, she'll also have clothes that zap golfers, baseball pitchers and yoga lovers whenever they make a wrong move.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gadgets to Help Keep You Motivated and in Shape

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It used to be that picking a TV or a laptop was one of the hardest tech buying decisions you'd make -- and when it came time to pick up a less-common gadget, like one that could improve your health and fitness, there'd be one choice, at the most.

That, however, is not the case anymore. As we all strive to be fitter and as technology pervades our lives, a handful of digital fitness gadgets have emerged.

So which of the new crop of fitness gadgets is the best? ABC News technology editor Joanna Stern has been testing the FitBit Ultra, Nike+ FuelBand and Motorola MOTOACTV -- three of the top choices -- for the last couple of months. Below are Stern’s results:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

FitBit Ultra ($99.95)
The FitBit was really the pioneer in the new category of fitness gadgets and, in many ways, still leads. The small plastic device clips on to your clothes (I wear mine on my pants or bra strap) and can easily be concealed. I like the fact that I can wear the FitBit to work and no one will notice it. But easy to conceal also means easy to misplace. In fact, I had the original FitBit and it found its way into the washing machine accidently. It never recovered. But this isn't about a dead FitBit. The FitBit is one of the most advanced trackers. It tracks steps, stairs climbed, calories and even sleep time and quality if you decide you want to sleep with it on. (I tested that for about one night; I found it very annoying to sleep with a gadget on.) You can see basic information on the FitBit's little LCD screen and control it with a small button, but when you sync it to your wireless network or plug it into your computer, it uploads all that data to your account. It's all very easy to set up and the site and software do a great job of presenting your fitness activity in clean charts and very attractive graphs. When you are logged in to your account, you can also set goals, input your weight (or do it automatically with FitBit's Aria Scale), and track your food. It provides a very full view of your health. I also like the little flower icon that appears on the LCD screen; leaves are added the more active you are during the day. It is actually very motivational. But where the FitBit doesn't compare as well to the others comes with its mobile features. FitBit offers an app, but it doesn't pair directly with the FitBit. Only when your FitBit is near its wireless dock will it send your info to the app or

Nike+ FuelBand ($149.00)
The Nike+ FuelBand, on the other hand, goes on your wrist. And it's one of the coolest-looking things you can put on your wrist. Coated in a rubber material, the FuelBand has a screen but it's made up of a series of colored LED lights. You control the display with a small button on it. And hidden in the bracelet's clasp is the USB port. The FuelBand does track calories and steps, but mostly tracks your "fuelpoints." Fuelpoints are based on your steps, but this is really Nike's motivation currency. You set how many fuelpoints you aim to hit in a day and it lets you know when you have reached that point. At the start of a new day, it zeros out the fuelpoints. While FitBit's flower is motivating, I became obsessed with getting fuelpoints everyday. I'd get up and walk more or take the stairs instead of the elevator. It is, by far, the most motivational out of the bunch. The band also has Bluetooth built in so you can pair it with your iPhone and the app will show you your points and steps on the fly -- no need to connect to the Internet or be near a docking station like the FitBit. (There is no Android app yet, though Nike has been promising one.) You can also plug the bracelet into your computer to charge it and upload the data. Nike's software and apps are full of eye candy; graphs are bright and easy to read. However, it's not perfect. The bracelet isn't ideal for business meetings or nice events, and I found it to be flaky, at times. After a few months of use the FuelBand stopped registering my steps. I had to reset it a few times to get it to start working again.

Motorola MOTOACTV ($249.00)
The Motorola MOTOACTV can be clipped to your clothes or you can wear it on your wrist with the optional $30 watch band. However, the ACTV is larger and chunkier than the rest. The device looks a lot like the iPod Nano with a full touchscreen, but it's actually thicker than Apple's little music player. If you can get over the size of the ACTV (which I really couldn't) it actually provides a lot more functionality than the others. It has all the same fitness tracking capabilities -- it tracks steps, how far you've run, etc. -- but it also can track elevation and your running route with its built-in GPS. There's also a heart rate monitor and it doubles as an MP3 player. Motorola even provides some nice-looking red earbuds in the box. The device is more for workouts than everyday fitness monitoring. But the standout feature of the ACTV is how it pairs with your phone. It only works with Android phones, not the iPhone, but download the ACTV app from the Google Play Store, pair the phone with the ACTV via Bluetooth, and you will be able to see your text messages or missed calls on your wrist. It's a smartwatch of sorts but, again, the real focus of the gadget really is on monitoring your activity. Within the app, you can also view your steps, miles run, etc. And because it has a touchscreen, it is easier to navigate on the device. But, ultimately, that touchscreen is the device's downfall. Because it has a full 1.6-inch LCD touchscreen, it had to be charged every two days or so, while the others could last days without having to be recharged. It also costs more than the others at $250.

What to Buy?
The truth is that all of these devices are good choices for the person looking to keep track of their physical activity. They will all keep you motivated and give you a good assessment of your activity through charts and graphs. However, in the end I ended up sticking with the FitBit after the weeks of testing. I can go to meetings or even weddings with it on, and I have never had any issues with it not registering my movement. That said, the FuelBand is a great option for those that don't care much about concealing their fitness gadget. Hey, they might become as common as laptops or TVs soon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio