Regular earbuds and headphones can slip or fall off during high-impact activities. RunPhones is a set of thin, padded speakers embedded into an adjustable cloth headband. This clever accessory connects to portable audio players via a 3.5mm headphone jack and included cord. Take your pick from a light summer model or the heavier fleece version.
Price: $34.95 (summer), 39.95 (winter)
OS: iOS, Android
Like other body and activity monitors, the BodyMedia FIT is designed to measure your physical movements all day to asses calorie burn. But this pricey gadget ups the ante by taking more than 5,000 readings to measure galvanic skin response, skin temperature, and heat flux. Worn around the arm, the FIT can measure sleep quality at night, too. Using the free Android and iPhone app, you can sync the FIT Armband to your device and get real-time calorie burn and workout data. You can also customize workouts based on caloric burn, activity, and step goals. You can even access your music from within the app. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to fork over $6.95 per month for the Activity Manager service, which tracks your progress.
Price: $249, plus $6.95 per month for Activity Manager service
For those who love to do laps but would like a way to assess their performance, there’s the Swimsense Performance Monitor. This watch-style gadget measures details in the water such as distance, lap times, and pace. The device can also tell the difference between the four major strokes and record stroke count, rate, distance per stroke, and calories burned. After syncing to either PC or Mac using a dock and USB connection, data is sent to the Swimsense Training Log website for analysis.
Targeted at the more casual fitness enthusiast, Fitbit takes a global approach to activity measurement. This tiny device is essentially a pedometer that is meant to be worn all day. In fact, Fitbit can even be worn at night to record sleep quality. Continually recording the steps you take, Fitbit features a brightly lit monochrome screen that displays pertinent information such as steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned so far. The device connects wirelessly to its base station, which attaches to a PC or Mac via USB, syncing all your data for later study.
If you prefer to run without music but still want to keep track of your stats, the Nike + SportWatch GPS is the elegant solution you seek. This stylish timepiece was designed in collaboration with TomTom, whose built-in GPS technology captures run data. It also features a hidden USB plug for uploading personal performance stats to the Nike + website. Talk about clever: You can slap the watch screen in the middle of the run to indicate a new lap or enable the backlight.