This 2GB MP3 player is built into a set of impressively small earbud-style headphones and sports a palatable price tag of just $69. The ultralight unit features a sweat-resistant design with a flexible, curving headband that ensures it stays put on your head while you jog down the street or flail about on the elliptical machine. The player also offers a quick-charge function that will give you 90 minutes of playback from a 3-minute charge--particularly handy for a fitness-friendly player.
If you don't want to wear your MP3 player on your head while you workout, the Sansa Clip is a fantastic alternative. As the name suggests, it comes with a built-in belt-clip for attaching the player to your clothing while you get your active on (the clip can be removed for other occasions). It also features an integrated FM tuner, which can come in handy if you want to watch the TVs at your gym. But the best part? The player is super cheap, with the 2GB player selling for as little as $30.
Yes, it's easy to lose. Yes, the controls are annoying. Yes, there's no screen. But something as tiny and lightweight as the iPod Shuffle ($79) is perfect for the gym. Plus, the built-in belt-clip provides a no-hassle way to attach the player to your person while you workout. It also supports playlists, so you can knock yourself out making a host of activity-inspiring tunes. Just don't get so tired arranging music that you can't hit the gym after!
Bluetooth technology eliminates the need for cumbersome wires tethering you to your MP3 player, which is why it's an excellent feature to have in a pair of fitness-friendly headphones: no cords to get caught on your thrashing arms while you work up a sweat. Sony's most recent active-style earphones offer this technology and comes in two models: the $130 BT160AS, which includes just the headphones, and the $180 BT160IK, which also throws in an iPod adapter. The first is a good option if you already have a Bluetooth device, such as a smartphone, that you listen to music on.
Another solid option in the Bluetooth headphone category is this model from JayBird. The JB-200 is available in two models, one with an iPod adapter included ($160) and one without ($130). The set features a rubberized, sweat-resistant design with half-moon modules that loop over the top and backs of the ears. The earpieces are connected by a thin wire, making these headphones one of the most compact of their kind.
Not every headset has to be wireless to be fitness-compatible. Mainly, you want a set that can stand up to a little moisture and also incorporates a design feature that will keep the 'phones secure on your head. One such model is the Coosh Headset, a set of earphones with flexible rubber circles that loop over and around your ears. The Coosh also includes a built-in mic should you feel the need to multitask whilst you cruise on the treadmill.
Cyclists be aware: riding with headphones in is dangerous and even illegal in some states. If you're going to rock out on your bike, the best bet is to let one earbud dangle, or better yet, pick up a speaker that you can mount on the handle. The CyFi is a Bluetooth option that includes all the mounts and brackets you need to attach it to your setup. It'll set you back a pretty penny--$350--but one model comes with an adapter for your iPod, so you won't have to deal with that extra expense, at least.
Another highly worthy option for those who prefer to workout on two wheels is the Oakley Split Thump. These durable and stylish sunglasses have an MP3 player built right in, and the earbuds can be removed, so not only can you use just one earbud, you can even take them both off to use the shades when the situation does not call for music. Even with the earbuds both installed, they don't completely block out surrounding noise--an important thing to consider when working out among cars and other zippy, wheeled modes of transportation.
If the thought of sweating it out in a gym or pounding your feet against the pavement fills you with dread, consider splashing about as a form of fitness. Even in the water, you don't need to live without tunes. Freestyle Audio has been making ocean-friendly MP3 players for years now, with the latest one being the Sport. This nifty little device can be submerged at up to 10 feet and comes with an armband, making it a good candidate for surfing and other water sports. It comes in a 2GB model for around $80.
For water babies who like the low-impact sport of swimming laps, there's the Finis SwiMP3, now available in version 2 for $150. This waterproof player that uses bone-conduction technology to relay sound waves to your ears, and it features integrated clips for attaching the unit to the strap of your goggles. For more information, check out our review of it's predecessor.
Last but certainly not least, we can't forget the Nike + iPod Sport Kit with its excellent fitness tracking software. Maybe it's not the reason to buy an iPod, but this useful tech package and the data-centered Nike + Web site will appeal to runners who already own the player. It includes a Bluetooth pedometer, which is placed in the shoe (preferably a Nike + shoe), and a receiver that attaches to the iPod.