Can the latest fitness gadgets improve your fitness in 2012?
Can you get fit just by standing still, wearing leggings or playing with a toy? The latest fitness gadgets say they can help you shed those Christmas pounds - but do they work? Emma Harrowing finds out.
Have you made your New Year's resolution yet? Many of us will be vowing to get fit in 2012 whether it is by signing up to the local gym, taking up a fitness class or becoming more active in our day-to-day lives.
And it is the perfect year to improve your health. With the London Olympic Games next summer there is no better inspiration to shed those Christmas pounds.
For me this is how it starts. I'm positive that this year will be the year that I will lose weight, tone up and generally feel fitter. The reality is that this upbeat attitude will dwindle and then quickly disappear as soon as I find that the fitness regime I felt so elated about is hard work, painful and is slow to produce any visbile results.
Regular Life Matters readers will know that I have tried many fitness fads over the years. There were the MBT trainers that say that they can tone your body as you walk and the Nike+ Sportsband and Nike Vomero trainers that act like a virtual running club so that you can see how your fitness levels are improving. Then there was the challenging task of having a personal trainer for four weeks to help me kick, punch and run my way to fitness and the less taxing i-Joyride which was a bit like a bucking bronco.
All of these fitness regimes came and went; I didn't stick to any of them. That is, maybe, until now.
Every year fitness gadgets come to market all claiming that they can help you stick to your New Year fitness resolution. This year is no exception. However, this year it seems that the gadgets have got a little easier.
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First of all there is the I-Fit, which says that it can burn 300 calories in ten minutes, all you need to do is stand on it.
Then there are the Lytess slimming leggings that promise slimmer hips and thighs in 18 days. And finally the Powerspin, a handheld gadget that says it is super addictive and can tone arms, abs, back and shoulders with minimum effort.
Never one to turn down a challenge, especially if it helps me get fit and look toned without gasping for air, I tried out all three. Here are the results:
The hype: Just by standing on the vibrating plates you can burn up to 300 calories in ten minutes. The machine can aid slimming, can tone your body and improve general fitness as the vibrations make your muscles contract and relax up to 50 times a second. The machine is said to give a high speed workout without having to set foot in the gym.
The reality: Standing still on the machine while it went through a ten minute programme of varying vibration speeds I could feel my love handles and the tops of my thighs jiggling with the vibrations.
The programme consisted of a warm up, full-on exercise routine and then a cool down, the differences between each set are distinguished with differing vibration speeds. After seven minutes in the tops of my thighs started to sting and it felt as if it could be working. After the workout finished and I stepped off the machine my legs soon felt back to normal and it felt like I hadn't exercised at all.
The only effect I felt throughout the exercise program was the stinging sensation in my thighs and a tingling feeling for about five minutes after the program finished. I didn't feel sweaty or out of breath, but I also didn't feel the eurphoria of finishing a traditional workout.
I also didn't have to remember to bring my gym kit with me as the workout can be done in your clothes (you just have to remove your shoes).
I would have to try more sessions to see if this makes any difference to the way I feel and look (it is recommended to have 30-40 minutes of usage per week). However, if this is the future of fitness - sign me up!
Available at: Sole Sensations, which has beauty salons in St Stephen's Street, Norwich and the Victoria Arcade in Yarmouth.
A ten minute session costs �4 or you can book unlimted monthly use for �35. If you are a member of a slimming club you can get a session for the discounted price of �3 or a monthly price of �30.
Lytess slimming leggings
The hype: Leggings that contain caffeine and shea butter in the fabric to help reduce fat on your thighs and improve the look of your skin - cellulite beware. If you wear them for eight hours a day for 18 consecutive days you can lose up to 2.2 inches from your hips and 1.2 inches from your thighs.
The thought of wearing the same pair of leggings for 18 days didn't really appeal, but to test out the leggings I made the sacrifice and washed the leggings every evening for two and a half weeks so that they were ready to wear the next day.
Before I started the experiment I measured around my hips and thighs. I wore the leggings for more or less eight hours a day under trousers, traditional leggings, as tights under a dress and in bed under my pyjama bottoms.
After a few days I noticed that my skin had a smoother texture, but even after two and a half weeks the stubborn cellulite was still there.
I lost one inch off my right thigh, half an inch off my left thigh and one and a half inches off my hips.
The Lytess Slimming Leggings cost �50 from figleaves.com and Boots.
The hype: The hand-held device is super addictive, simple to use and works to tone and sculpt the arms, abs, back, and shoulders with little effort. It is set to become the world's easiest pick-up-and-use exercise device. It's a great way to keep fit anywhere and everywhere.
The reality: At first I couldn't get to grips with how to rotate the device, but after a brief tutorial on the Power Spin website I was off!
Following the exercises on the back of the packaging my arms, shoulders, back and stomach had a good workout in under five minutes.
The device is quite heavy and with the ball spinning around the tube the workout got progressively intense and it hurt! After just a few goes I found that I could spin the device for longer and felt encouraged that I was improving.
The Powerspin is hard to put down, especially if you decide to have a competition with others as to who can spin for the longest!
With different exercise routines available to watch for free on the Powerspin website, this could be the fitness device I've been looking for in my bid to tone up my body.
Available from: Powerspin costs �19.99 and is available online at powerspin.com, Amazon, and from January it will also be available at Argos.