Fitness machines get iPod workout

Your workout at the gym isn’t going to be any less painful. But the world’s leading commercial provider of exercise equipment might at least help make the session on a stair-climber or treadmill more entertaining.

Life Fitness, a division of Brunswick Corp., says it plans to offer seamless integration with Apple Inc.’s iPod players in upcoming products.

The new fitness machines, equipped with liquid-crystal display touch-screens, will allow users to plug in iPods and headphones and peruse their song libraries or watch their videos on the console as they would on the portable player itself. This will recharge the gadget’s battery at the same time.

Life Fitness said it would make the first product available in the US at the end of March.

With more than 90 million units sold since 2001, Apple’s iPod dominates the portable media player market. It’s no wonder that while Life Fitness says it is the first exercise equipment maker to incorporate iPods, it is only the latest of several companies to do so. Products ranging from jackets to automobiles already have features to work directly with iPods.

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