Life

Amp up your activity

By Natalia Manzocco, Special to Postmedia Network

Get out of the gym and into the sunshine! The season for outdoor activity is well underway (you warriors who suit up and go running outside in January notwithstanding). These gadgets can help you get the most out of your workout.

Gone are the days of the Timex with a built-in stopwatch -- or even the days of strapping your smartphone to your arm. The latest sports watches include GPS functionality to track and analyze your running routes, and more adventurer-ready models even measure things like altitude and barometric pressure. The latest is Suunto's feature-heavy Ambit training watch: In addition to the usual heart rate, pace and distance functions, explorer types will appreciate the built-in compass, temperature info and GPS. Fitness junkies in the meantime will love that you can set your own waypoints and analyze your workout data with the watch's USB hookup. It's $525 at Mountain Equipment Co-op (if your workouts are a little less "extreme," GPS-equipped training watches start at about $160).

Lock your bike, take the bike lights off; unlock your bike, put the bike lights back on. It's a ritual familiar to city cyclists who don't want to be left in the dark by a light-snatcher. With these rechargeable USB bike lights, you can at least put a little bit of juice back in them while you've got them on hand. Mountain Equipment Co-Op sells these super-stripped-down versions, available in red or white iterations, for $9.25; they charge through a micro-USB port with an accompanying cord, and come equipped with little indicator lights that tell you whether you're tapped out or fully charged. But USB technology is on a roll in the bike world; you can also check out your local specialty bike shop for some fancier options.

Ultra-focused fitness fans: The Sportiiiis "heads-up display system" can help you keep your eyes on the prize. This gizmo attaches to your existing specs or sunglasses, positioned in the bottom right corner of your field of vision. The unit receives data on your heart rate, pace and speed from ANT+ devices, like heart monitors. Colour-coded LED lights form a meter that let you know if you're working too hard, or if you can stand to pick up the pace. Tap the unit, and you'll get audio-based feedback. It comes with software for your computer as well as iPhone or Android apps, so you can customize and change your fitness targets with ease. It's $149.99 at 4iiii.com.

There are some people, myself included, who swear the only thing that could motivate them to run would be a pack of zombies at their heels. For those people: Now's your chance. Zombies, Run! is a running-based game for your smartphone that makes your daily jog a little more interesting by placing you in the middle of a swarm of undead. The story comes through your headphones through voice commands and sound effects, and you can play whether you're running in the park or on a treadmill. You automatically pick up "items" as you're running and can continue the gameplay at home, making for a truly immersive gaming experience. The game's developers are working on integrating fitness-related stats like your running distance, time and calories burned, amping up the fitness quotient. Now that's a workout with braaaains. Zombies, Run! is $7.99 at the Apple App Store; an Android version is set for release on June 14.


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