Get smart: Techie gifts for fitness fanatics

Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:05am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 'Tis the season of the smart workout, when mobile phones track miles run, treadmills interact with virtual trainers and computer chips render even jump ropes artificially intelligent.

Experts say if you're techie gifting the fitness lover on your list, make sure the smart shoe fits and the app is apt.

"Try to match the gift with the person," advises Mary Jayne Johnson of the American Council on Exercise. "For older people I like the Wii Fit," an interactive game that Johnson, an exercise physiologist, says can be great for balance and coordination.

"And they have interesting applications like bowling, tennis and yoga," she said.

Liz Neporent is a fitness expert, self-described techie and co-author of the newly released "Fitness for Dummies, Fourth Edition," which devotes a chapter to tech fitness. She said all some senior citizens want for Christmas is an iPad.

"A lot of 70-plusers have taken to the iPad," Neporent said, probably because it's easy to use, portable, and can be loaded with apps that are good for an older person's health, such as medicine reminders.

"I've talked to five clients who've bought iPads for their parents," she said.

It is arguably the year of the app. Some 40,000-plus apps, or mobile application devices, are available for the iPad alone, according to Ted Miller, spokesperson for Apple.   Continued...

<p>People participate in a yoga class in Santa Monica, California in this handout picture taken early 2009. REUTERS/Handout</p>