Fitbit is releasing its cheapest smartwatch yet. The Versa Lite costs £149.99, £50 less than the original Versa and £130 less than the Fitbit Ionic, the most advanced device in the company’s line-up.
The Versa Lite is similar in appearance to the Versa, though lacking the two buttons on the right side on the latter, so you’ll be using the touchscreen more when navigating its menus – which can be tricky with sweaty fingers.
While its shape is similar to the Versa’s, the Versa Lite is made more distinctive by the bold purple or blue designs, which are about as purple and blue as it is possible for something to be. There are also more understated lilac and silver designs available.
Since it’s £50 cheaper than the Versa, the Versa Lite predictably lacks a few of the features available on the former. Perhaps the biggest loss is music storage and streaming, and since the Versa Lite can’t make NFC payments either it’s stretching the term smartwatch a little, though it does still have access to the Fitbit app store and will flash up notifications from a connected...
Nike has launched a new version of its popular Pegasus 35 running shoe that uses the company’s FlyEase tech so you can put it on without having to tie laces. While tying laces is second nature for most people, many others with conditions like cerebral palsy can’t do it with ease, so the new edition of the shoe will make help to make running more accessible than ever.
The FlyEase tech involves a curved zip around the back of the heel. Once it’s undone, the whole heel can be opened up so you can slide your foot into the shoe like a clog. Then you zip the opening up again and hook it on the shoe, the fit of which is also secured by a series of bungee cables running over the top of the foot, which you can tighten by pulling a cord at the heel.
Team GB sprinter Sophie Hahn, the current T38 Paralympic, World, Commonwealth and European Champion over 100m, has been testing the shoes. Hahn, who has cerebral palsy, says the FlyEase tech makes her training easier.
In our review of the original Fitbit Ace we finished with a wish list of features we’d like to see on the next generation of the device. We said we’d like to see Fitbit lower the target age of the device, make the hardware and software more fun, and ideally make it swim-proof as well.
Well that’s more or less exactly what Fitbit has done with the Ace 2. The age range drops from eight-plus to six-plus, the design is both more robust and engaging for kids, and it can take a plunge too.
The plastic bumper around the screen ensures the Ace 2 can withstand the rough and tumble of daily life, and the colourful designs are more appealing to younger children compared with the simple Ace, which took its design cues from the Fitbit Alta tracker.
The focus of its activity tracking is on getting kids moving for an hour in total each day, and the Ace 2 also tracks steps and provides alerts to move if the wearer is stationary for too long. It doesn’t show age-inappropriate stats like calories or have a heart rate monitor, but the Ace 2 but does track sleep, and has bedtime reminders and silent alarms.
Photograph: Clare Winfield. Food styling: Rebecca Woods
If you’re looking to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and you absolutely should be looking to do that, then you need to start things off on the right foot. All too many of us opt for cereal and a coffee, or a couple of slices of toast, and leave our five-a-day tally stuck at zero until lunch, forcing you to play catch-up later in the day.
A glass of orange juice is a good place to start, plus a handful of raisins in your cereal. Or you can really go for it and make this smoothie bowl recipe from The Cycling Chef by Alan Murchison. The Cycling Chef contains 65 healthy for meals and snacks designed to fuel a keen cyclist, and all its recipes are easy to prepare and use ingredients you can find in a standard supermarket.
It’s not only cyclists who can benefit from these easy, healthy recipes either. This smoothie bowl recipe is packed full of berries and other fruit, and some spinach even gets thrown into the mix too. The best part is that once you’ve blended your mix, the bowl is topped off with more fresh, whole fruit, because we all...
When a shoe reaches its tenth edition, that’s usually a good sign that it’s doing something right. The Kinvara has been an immensely popular shoe for Saucony since its launch a decade ago, with its lightweight, cushioned ride and 4mm heel-to-toe offset appealing to runners seeking a low-drop trainer that can handle a variety of runs.
I’ve run in one previous edition of the Kinvara – the 8 – which I found was especially good to wear on long steady runs, and the same holds true for the Kinvara 10.
The shoe weighs just 221g (men’s) or 190g (women’s), yet has a good stack of cushioning that makes for a fairly soft ride. However, the overwhelming feeling I associated with the ride is not softness, but how smooth it is in rolling through from heel to toe. It’s great on runs of any length where you’re working at a steady or easy pace, but shines over longer distances, where you positively eat up the miles while feeling like you’re cruising. And if you fancy upping the pace towards the end of a long run, the Kinvara feels quick enough to let you do just that.!--digiteka-placeholder--
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you play, you want to score goals. The good news is that inside every player, even the most lumbering defender, there’s a predatory striker just waiting to get out. That’s what we’ve decided, anyway, when we suddenly started netting in our weekly five-a-side after taking on a shooting drill under the supervision of Allan Russell at a Sure event.
Russell is a former striker who played in the Scottish Premier League and later became a striking coach, joining the England set-up before the last World Cup. A few scuffed shots during the drills didn’t make much difference, but these nuggets of advice we picked up from Russell did. Here are the tips that should help any casual player.
1. Slow It Down, Speed It Up
The drill we tried with Russell involved iPads and colours – not much use to you probably – but it also involved quick changes of pace and Russell shouting “SLOW IT DOWN” a lot, before a quick dart into space and finish. Adding speed variety to our game has helped lull an opposition defender into switching off.
2. Use Your Warm-Ups Wisely
No-one is perfect, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gym-goer it’s likely you’ll find yourself making one of these common strength training mistakes identified by personal trainer Peter Gaffney. The good news is that they’re all pretty easy and quick to fix.
1. Just Thinking About The Workouts
When you’re strength training, it’s important that you look at the bigger picture. It’s not just about putting in the hard hours, it’s about getting adequate rest, recovery and enough protein.
Unless you’re an Olympic weightlifter, one session for each major compound lift – such as back squats, deadlifts, pull-ups and rows – supported by the correct assistance work like lunges is probably enough.
Doing back squats three or more times a week at high intensity can lead to overtraining, which in turn can lead to demotivation or, worse, injury. Work hard, but rest well!
2. Not Putting The Effort In
Simply following a proven strength plan does not guarantee success. The sets, reps and rest time are of course all relevant, but equally relevant is your work ethic. If you’re supposed to be...
The Garmin Marq Athlete is the cheapest watch in the new range of five smartwatches and it costs £1,399.99. The most expensive – the Garmin Marq Driver – costs £2,249.99. We mention this first to give you an indication of what to expect from the line, because it’s quite a leap compared with Garmin’s previously top-of-the-line Fenix 5 Plus range, which is hardly cheap but managed to stay in triple digits at least.
That this is something new should be immediately apparent at first glance. All five of the Marq watches are spectacularly good-looking and will probably do a better job than any past smartwatch in convincing those who are committed to the style cachet of luxury analogue watches to make the switch to smart.
If you opt for the Driver, Expedition, Aviator or Captain versions of the Marq, you also get some clever new features related to their specialisms. So the Driver has 250 preloaded race tracks on board, while the Aviator can show your flight path on a colour map and direct you to a nearby airport in an emergency.
The Athlete version, however, has a very similar feature set to the...
Do ten press-ups on the minute, every minute, for ten minutes.
This is a challenge that sounds easy but is deceptively difficult. All you need to do is ten press-ups every minutes, on the minute for ten minutes, which sounds pretty achievable when it is written down but is a lot tougher when you actually try it. You will naturally try to conserve energy, but you should still make sure that you complete full reps with a good range of motion by lowering until your chest nearly touches the floor and pressing up until your arms are straight.
Reps Your first task is to complete the challenge. You may find that you fail after three rounds. If that’s the case, just do as many reps as you can each minute. That may only be a single rep on the final minute. That’s fine. Your task is to beat that effort next time.
Holds Once you complete the challenge you can make it harder by staying in the top of the press-up position between rounds, meaning that your rest period turns into a modified plank. It’s tough but you’ll have a nice set of abs as a bonus.
Yoga can be a hard activity for beginners to get into, because it takes some courage to turn up to a group class when you’re pretty sure you’ll be the least proficient there. Although our advice is not to worry about that – everyone was a beginner sometime – a yoga app can be a useful way to gain some knowledge of the practice before you do it in front of others.
It’s not just beginners who can benefit from downloading a yoga app, either. All levels are catered for among the extensive range of apps out there, which can provide a flow to follow whenever you have a spare moment. Here are our top five recommendations.
There are 27 routines to follow on this app, which uses an animated figure to guide you through the poses. One handy feature is that you can play your own music through the app, rather than having to listen to the relaxing zen-by-numbers soundtrack that accompanies most routines in yoga apps. Even better is the library of over 200 yoga poses you can use any time to better your understanding on the correct posture.
Download from App Store and Google Play | App Store...
Eating more healthily doesn’t have to be complicated. Veg. You should be eating more of it and that goes for everyone. And one of the best ways of cooking veg is to steam it, especially in an electric food steamer because they make it easier for amateur chefs to cook veg for the right amount of time. And since most steamers now include rice trays it makes that notoriously tricky carb easy to get right too.
There are a few details to consider when buying one, so we’ve got a run-down of what to look out for as well as our recommendations for large households, couples, fans of good design and those who just want the best of the best. Meaning there’ll be nothing left for you to do but go full steam ahead and buy the best one for your needs.
What To Look For When Buying A Food Steamer
If you’re anything like us you’ll look at the price first. You can find basic steamers for around the £25 mark. If your budget stretches to £100 you’ll find feature-packed models that will cater to large families, and above that you’ll find some real lookers with fancy features, such as fast water heating – a...
Hopefully by now we’re past the point where exercise and activity is seen as some kind of punishment to be endured, so if it’s enjoyable why not enjoy it all day, or even all weekend? Now you can, because fitness festivals have become a thing. Whether you’re into fitness classes, running, yoga or even dodgeball, there’s an event for you. Here are some of the UK’s best.
Balance Festival (10th-12th May)
Wisely for a festival in early May, this London weekender is held indoors. You’ll find everything from HIIT workouts to ancient yoga and breathing techniques under one roof, with workouts (from £5), free yoga sessions and talks from the best instructors and boutique fitness studios London has to offer. There’s also a great chance to see the latest trends in fitness clothing, beauty and wearable tech, as well as enjoying samples of healthy food and drink. balance-festival.com
Buy tickets | From £24.50
Hackney Festival Of Fitness (17th-19th May)
There is a lot going on at what organiser Virgin Sport calls the UK’s largest outdoor fitness festival, so there should be something for...
It’s an unfortunate truism that staying in shape gets harder as you get older, which means those who happily ate takeaways every day without ever exercising in their 20s yet never put on so much as a kilo of surplus weight are heading for a shock in their 30s.
Once you hit 40, it gets tougher still and that goes for everyone, whether you’re a former professional athlete or a life-long couch potato. On ITV this week elite performance specialist Luke Worthington teamed up with ex-Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to get a team of unfit England football players from the 1990s back into shape on Harry's Heroes: The Full English.
Worthington worked wonders with the players, who are in their 40s and 50s, so we asked him for tips that can help anyone in their 40s get fit and keep fit.
1. Be Consistent
I’m frequently asked the question what’s the best programme for... insert fitness goal here. I often give the answer “3 x 52”. What I mean by that is, create a programme you’ll follow three times a week, all year round. That will help you achieve far greater progress than hitting something...
A medicine ball will rarely make you feel better immediately because it’s often used to make things harder – it can add a whole new burn to a basic sit-up for instance – but it will make you feel better in the long run. It was originally designed for rehabilitation purposes, after all.
It’s a worthwhile addition to any home gym, but first it’s worth understanding the types of medicine ball available. We’ve included a quick guide explaining the key differences, before selecting the best medicine balls so you can find the right addition to your home gym set-up.
Three Types Of Medicine Balls Explained
A slam ball is designed to absorb impact so it’s usually filled with gel or sand. That means no matter how hard your hurl it into the ground, it won’t bounce or roll away. A slam ball is primarily used for… well, we don’t need to spell it out – but it’s also useful to have around for throws and certain progressions of abs exercises, as well as something unstable to rest your feet on to make a plank harder.!--digiteka-placeholder--
Rubber/grip medicine balls
Rubber/grip med balls, like the...
You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that the question “how many calories does running burn?” has an easy answer.
It’s about 62 calories per kilometre or 100 per mile. Unfortunately, it’s an answer that’s effectively useless when applied to individuals in the real world rather than under laboratory conditions.
Calorie burn during exercise is based on a whole range of factors. For running, your weight and height are key, which is one reason fitness trackers ask for that info when you set them up. Then you have to consider things like the pace you’re running at, the incline and terrain you’re running on, and the weather you’re running in.
Heavier people burn more calories, and running faster up a muddy hill naturally burns more than jogging along a flat road with the wind behind you. Your heart rate is a reliable indication of how hard you’re working and therefore the calories you’re burning, so you get better estimates of calorie burn from trackers that have a heart rate monitor built-in.
You can use a calculator like this one on ExrX.net to get a better idea of how many calories your...
When it comes to cooking, convenience can be a double-edged sword. On one side you have ready meals, which we’re sure we don’t have to tell you aren’t great for your health. On the other side are time-saving devices that help you to skip some of the arduous work in the kitchen to help you cook for yourself even when you’re pressed for time. And we firmly believe that being able to cook for yourself well is the cornerstone of a healthy and delicious diet.
Naturally, it costs to kit out your kitchen, but once you’ve done that cooking from scratch is as kind on the wallet as it is on the waist. Here’s where 21st-century technology can help, and we’ve picked out some top gadget recommendations too.
Buying a slow cooker is a fast means of upping your kitchen game. Once you’ve chopped the ingredients, bung everything into the slow cooker, set it to work and in four to ten hours you have melt-in-the-mouth meats and rich stews – no further attention required.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Slow Cookers
Top pick: Lakeland 3.5L Slow Cooker
A budget option that’s also great value, this model is...
The second annual London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM) is this weekend, offering runners the rare chance to run on closed roads in central London. Whether it’s your first half marathon or you’re an old-timer, there’s always a sense of anticipation and some jangling nerves which – in our experience at least – can be kept in check by reading last-minute tips, course guides and anything else we can lay our hands on.
So we caught up with Nici Griffin from Centurion Running, who organises the pacers for LLHM and is reprising her role as the tail-end pacer this year, having also done it at the inaugural event last year. Griffin ran her first half marathon in 2010 and has since gone on to complete 28 marathons and four 50-mile ultramarathons. Don’t let that intimidate you though – Griffin called herself the “baby” of her ultramarathon group and said she had to remember not to compare herself with others but focus on what she’s capable of. That’s just one of many fine tips we picked up from our chat. Here are the rest of them.
Get Involved On Facebook Beforehand
Being a pacer, says Griffin, is...
Saying goodbye to meat and animal products and opting for a vegan diet tends to be met with an avalanche of questions from friends and family, and the occasional stranger. Questions like: “Isn’t it hard?”, “What about protein?”, “Aren’t the meals really boring?” and the all-time classic “But bacon?!”
The easy answers to all those questions come from BOSH!, an energetic plant-based cooking duo comprising Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, whose easy, protein-packed and interesting recipe videos on social media are a hit with both vegans and people just looking for a plate of plant-based food. (OK, they don’t answer the question “But bacon?!” but it’s not really a question anyway. Leave it.)
The pair’s second cookbook BISH BASH BOSH! comes out on 4th April (it’s available to pre-order from Amazon), but if you can’t wait for the book and its accompanying 140 vegan meal ideas (or you just want a few easy vegan recipes right now), you’ll be delighted to know we’ve selected seven recipes that took our fancy and laid them out in a meal-planning menu of deliciousness.
Monday: Veg-Packed Quesadilla
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