Technology has made us lazier, as you probably noticed the last time the escalator broke at the mall and you lost your breath walking up those 14 steps without robotic assistance. But don't worry; before our muscles atrophy forever and we collectively become a race of Stay Puft Marshmallow Hominids, there's a promising new way of combating laziness. It's called ... "technology."
Yes, the very same force that is turning us into pudgy couch potatoes is also being harnessed to make us get off our asses. There's something ironic about relying on machines to make you stop relying on machines, but your cholesterol levels will appreciate it nonetheless. Here are five creative gadgets and apps you can use to get in shape, assuming the hell of proper diet and exercise sounds too unbearable for you.
5 Atari Fit: Work Out, Level Up, And Unlock Retro Games
Fitness and old-school video games usually go together like risky surgical procedures and Jell-O shots. We're reasonably sure we'd all be at least 20 pounds lighter if Atari didn't exist. Perhaps to help undo the damage it has done to humanity's waistline, the company has now developed an app for mobile devices called Atari Fit, which intends to "gamify" your workout routine (or give you a workout routine in the first place, then "gamify" it). Basically, it's like any other fitness app, only nerdier: As you exercise, it keeps track of your successes as if you were playing an RPG, complete with experience points and levels. You can also keep track of how other people are doing in a "multiplayer" sort of way, though if there isn't an option for a teenage voice to shout racial slurs at you every time you mess up, we don't see the point.
But the best part is that if you stick to the program and meet certain goals, Atari Fit will grant you access to classic games like Super Breakout and Centipede.
If you don't work out for too long, it forces you to play ET: The Game instead.
OK, maybe this app isn't offering anything to gamers that they couldn't download in five seconds from some freeware site, but at least it's a tangible goal to work towards. Plus, the fact that Atari Fit boasts the ability to link up with other fitware you might already own will serve as motivation for the peripheral completionists out there who still feel no regret for having purchased a Nintendo Power Glove. We're not sure all the kinks have been ironed out yet, as rewarding physical activity with the opportunity to flop your ass onto a couch to play video games seems somewhat counterproductive in the long run, but surely they have the situation well in hand.
The Frogger-Jogger concept was killed early in development, due to several testers being killed early in development.
4 UP: The Bracelet That Nags You When You've Been Still For Too Long
Don't you wish you had an annoying, judgmental friend who followed you around everywhere and pestered you whenever he or she thought you were loafing or otherwise being an indolent slob? No, not really? Well, maybe it's high time someone put you in your place -- and if an actual human isn't available to perform this necessary function, here's a fashion accessory to get your ass in gear:
"You can't trick me by masturbating."
The Jawbone UP bracelet doesn't boast fancy features such as "connecting via Bluetooth" or "having a screen" like other fitness gadgets, but it does do one thing very, very well: nag the bejesus out of you. Every time the UP senses that you've been sitting around like a load for an extended period of time (which you can configure), it begins to vibrate as if it were filled with an angry swarm of tiny, reprimanding bees. Just remember to avoid wearing beads during rattlesnake breeding season ... although having a reptile try to hump your arm does sound like a very effective way to get you off the couch.
Everyone at the office will be really impressed with your energy and/or report you to HR for meth concerns.
Simply hauling yourself out of the Barcalounger with a groan and a sigh isn't enough to appease the UP, though. You need to move your good-for-nothing carcass around a whole lot more than that if you want to convince the bracelet to ease up on the disciplinary joybuzzing. It's a good solution for those who need a physical reminder to be, uh, physical, and it's also relatively discreet. People will probably assume the UP is some flavor-of-the-month awareness wristband until it issues you one of its "reminders" and you start jerking around like a camel spider crawled up your sleeve.
The UP also does stuff like track your workouts, diet, and mood, which is presumably grumpy whenever it punishes you for watching a long movie and/or masturbating. And finally, if you miss the magical feeling of your mother violently shaking you awake every morning because you're late for school, the UP can also monitor your sleep and calculate the perfect moment to go off -- no doubt causing you to flail around like you fell asleep with a lit cigarette in your hand.
Hopefully, Jawbone installed a tiny camera so employees can gather around and laugh when you freak out in the morning.