From ways to get and stay healthy to intelligent help avoiding accidents, here’s how to take better care of yourself in the new year.
Best new way to keep moving
See much you exercise
You want to get up out of the chair more often, but sometimes you need a push. The FitBit Force ($130; on back order as of early November) can make a game out of staying active and doubles as a watch (if you don’t mind pressing a button for the time).
Each step adds up. Tells you how many steps you take and even the miles you travel.
Take the stairs. The Force also detects changes in your altitude, which means it can count the number of times you hit the stairs. (It knows if you take the elevator instead.)
Link up wirelessly. Sends your data when you are near your computer or some smartphones, so you can track your progress.
Best new no-sweat advice
Take a break from that chair. Even if short bursts of heart-racing sprints and calisthenics aren’t for you, just spend less time sitting.
Recent studies of a large group of over-45 Australians have found that people who sit for prolonged periods each day are at greater risk for chronic disease and earlier death. Find 10 minutes six times a day to stretch your legs and pump your heart, suggests David Nieman, professor of health sciences at Appalachian State University.
Best new excuse buster
A quick way to stop wasting those health club dues
Having trouble finding time in your day to get to the club and work out? You aren’t alone. Studies show that only about 20% of Americans get the recommended weekly amount of physical activity.
Even a little bit helps. A growing body of research suggests you can get results by completing brief intervals of high-intensity workouts. So you can benefit from even a short time at the gym. Or on the road: Try sprinting for two minutes, walking for two minutes, and repeating the process multiple times.
Chris Jordan of the Human Performance Institute, which trains executives to improve their workouts, has created a seven-minute exercise circuit (find it at hpinstitute.com) that can be executed anywhere, even in a hotel room. Ideally, you’ll do it three times. Still quick, but not at all easy. That’s the point.
Best new advance in car safety
The built-in back-seat driver
If a car swerves in front of a new Mercedes-Benz S-class, radar and other sensors will detect it to help avoid a crash. The S-class is a super-high-end ride, but new car tech often starts with the luxury set, then trickles down.
Lane changes. A tone and blinking light warn of trouble.
Rear-end collisions. Brakes are auto-applied to help limit injuries when hit from behind.
Stay straight. Steering tweaks prevent lane wandering.
Sensing a collision. If a car suddenly swerves in front, S-class sensors see it and start to apply brakes.