It's a fairly common lament—or so I've heard, anyway—that active ladies who enjoy a workout often find necessary support is somewhat lacking, making what should be a comparatively gratifying experience rather painful and unpleasant instead. Enter the sports bra, a device that offers a note of relief in this department, if in something of a low-tech fashion. But the sports bra is about to get a bit of an augmentation from NuMetrex, a company that is taking the sports bra and turning it into a full-on thoracic harness with heart rate detection and measurement capabilities.
The NuMetrex Heart Sensing Sports Bra, as it's known, works about like a normal version does, with its heart rate monitoring systems built directly into the garment's fabric. A small transmitter contained in a snap-closure pocket, meanwhile, sends back the attendant data for analysis from there. NuMetrex quickly expanded its product line from sports bras, offering up the Heart Sensing Racer Tank, as well as a version for the gents, the so-called Cardio Shirt.
It didn't take long for the early versions of this device to catch attention, either; in 2006, it was declared “Sports Product of the Year” by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers' Association. Health Magazine called it “a great replacement for traditional heart rate monitoring systems.” Adidas actually acquired the company behind NuMetrex in 2008, and the company has been offering up an array of similar products for men and women alike ever since. Continuous development followed, and now the shirts include sensors built directly into the fabric itself—which is Lycra, itself a quick-drying and moisture-wicking alternative perfect for those intense workouts—and said shirts also work well with smartphones and smart watches alike. A Racer Tank, meanwhile, goes for just $29, down from its normal price of $49.95 when bought through NuMetrex's website.
This is a smart idea, and one that goes a long way in terms of illustrating just what wearable tech can really do. Essentially, it takes a couple of common problems, and it addresses said problems with systems built right into clothing. Not only is a workout now significantly more comfortable than it was, there's also a way to immediately gauge performance by perhaps the best measure there is: the heart rate. Wearable tech is at its best when it can solve problems, and the NuMetrex line does a fine job of that. It makes heart rate monitoring more convenient—being built right into a shirt like that makes it less likely that it will be forgotten—and makes exercise more comfortable as well. That combination will likely make exercising more accessible, and when it is accessible, it's done more often, resulting in more value overall for the one doing the exercise.
NuMetrex sports bras, and similar articles of clothing, offer solutions to several common problems of a workout, and that combines well to make these a particularly powerful solution. So far it's done quite well in the field—surely Adidas wouldn't buy a failing brand—and it will be very exciting to see where it goes from there.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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