Web Extras: Are you doing enough exercise for your bones?

There are all kinds of devices these days that can be clipped on waists, legs, wrists and arms, not to mention ones a person stands on or holds, that are designed to tell somebody something about what's going on inside their body.
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By Therese Iknoian

For the complete story, see GearTrends® Fitness 2007, p. 18, "Measuring Up"

There are all kinds of devices these days that can be clipped on waists, legs, wrists and arms, not to mention ones a person stands on or holds, that are designed to tell somebody something about what's going on inside their body.

Heart rate, body fat, muscle content, blood pressure … it can all be measured, although in some cases the accuracy or validity is still questioned.

Enter yet another little device called NewTest, out of Finland, the home of heart rate monitor giants Polar and Suunto. It’s designed to measure how effective your daily movement and exercise is for your bones.

SNEWS® spied it at the winter ispo sporting goods trade show in Germany in February, then recognized a former Polar executive in the booth. Marketing and selling it in Finland since spring 2006 and, as of spring 2007, branching out globally, the company wasn't quite heading into the North American market. But he promised that would be quite soon.

But we wanted one to test. How legit was this? We found it was easy to wear, like a pedometer, easy to set, although it did turn itself off after a time of no movement in a battery-saving move, meaning if you sat at a desk too long then didn't check it, you could lose some of the bone-healthy steps from being logged. Of course, it’s really designed to wear during a more structured exercise bout and not just sitting around.

Like any gizmo that measures something happening you can't see, the concept is fascinating, really. Based on your age and gender, it calculates how much bone-healthy movement you get, telling you how much of your required weekly dose you have achieved day-by-day in a circular dial reading in percent. Fill the dial with all black, see it blink 100 percent and you're good to go. We found that one moderate jog on one day nearly got us to the 100 percent for the week, while it would take more frequent walks to reach the desired level of impact. And it does measure impact, meaning jumping, bouncing and jogging, not just walking around the house.

Designed for women ages 30 to 50, the company (www.newtest.com) is looking for distributors with an eventual target of also coming to North America. We think it could be a seller.

Don't miss the full story, "Measuring Up," in the GearTrends® Fitness 2007 issue. To download the full issue, go to www.geartrends.com/magazines.

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