When it comes to getting (or staying) fit, some people add more intensity; others more movement.
I am generally in the “more movement” category, especially when it comes to walks (I don’t like to sweat when I walk), though I’ve been know to amp it up too. But is there a way to measure both types of activity?
When I was invited to test out the Polar Loop – a fitness activity tracker you wear on your wrist -
I was all over it because I wanted to know how much I was moving on days I DIDN’T teach. Women my age are recommended to walk 10,000 steps per day, but I plan to actually lose a few pounds, so I’d like to be more like an Amish woman (they walk 14,000 steps per day, with a low obesity rate of 4%).
Here at Fun And Fit, our message has consistently been “Do a little more than the day before,” and I was curious whether having the feedback stats from the Polar Loop would motivate me to do that, as I am definitely a goal-oriented person. The timing was perfect (mid-December) to start tracking my workouts, as I’m on winter break from the U, it’s the eating season, and we were going on several family trips that included long car rides. I’m including pictures of some of my more fun walking adventures, but I also found myself walking more in places such as the grocery store and even the house, just to add to my total steps.
My Loop came with the Polar H7 heart rate sensor, which isn’t a mandatory piece of equipment for the Loop, but is a nice addition because it measures your heart rate and can help calculate a more accurate calorie burn rate when you’re wearing it. Without the heart rate sensor, I’d still know my steps and general calorie burn, but with it I get more kcal “credit” if I work out more intensely (think of walking uphill instead of down). Besides, what if I do a rowing machine (I won’t, as I hate them) or push-ups? Not too many steps added to my count, but with the sensor I am getting calorie credit. Only the Sensor knows (you have to be at least a Boomer to get that reference).
I’ve put a screenshot of my activity over the past two weeks to show you A) whether I reached my goal of 10K daily steps, and B) how the heart rate sensor works together with the Loop. On the 18th, you see no info for kcals or workout time, yet it does show that I was at 186% of my goal. That is because I taught two classes, but forgot to wear my sensor. On the 24th, we drove for 10 hours, so I didn’t wear the sensor or reach my goal. Today’s the 29th, and as I started this post I realized I hadn’t done much movement for the day, so I pushed away from the computer and went for a walk. I am only at 72% for the day, so I’ll have to do a lot of pacing back and forth as it’s now too dark for a walk, yet I want to do better than I did on the day I just sat in the car. That would be pitiful if I couldn ‘t beat that!
Polar’s tagline is Rethink Your Day, which dovetails perfectly with our message. Without seeing that I’d only done a few thousand steps by 4 pm, I wouldn’t have gotten up for a walk in the middle of writing this post. I would have THOUGHT about it, but I wouldn’t have done it. So I told myself, “Hey, you’re so good-looking, but you’d be even better looking if you went for a walk right now.” Okay, that’s not exactly what I said, but I did have a talk with myself about getting up and achieving my goals. Without having the truth staring at me in the face (and wrist) I would have over-estimated how much I’d moved today.
I will definitely continue wearing both the tracker and the sensor, as I like having the feedback. I heard a rumor that the Loop will soon be available in pink, which I’d really love (mine is black). My bank teller asked me about it and wanted to know the price, so I looked it up, and it’s just under $100. As the newer versions come out I have a few suggestions, based on my usage:
* Make it clearer that you need to click “Done” when setting up and syncing, as I had to watch all the videos to try and figure out why I couldn’t get it to sync. Easily solved, but I had clicked Done previously and didn’t realize I had to click it again.
* Increase the sensitivity or consistency of the Loop to touch, as I sometimes can get it to display the stats immediately, and sometimes I have to tap it about 30 times.
* Increase the memory storage. I was at Lake Tahoe for 4 days without computer access, and the memory was full. I would have been grumpy if I’d lost the info for the day I walked about 9 miles!
One bonus feature I really admire is on the free Polar Flow app that ties in with certain phones – you get a little nudge to get up when you’ve been sitting too long. How cool is that, especially for bloggers like me who spend hours at the computer? One last cute touch the designers put in – it wishes me nighty night and good morning, and that makes me feel like a SuperStar!!!
If you want tips on ways to add movement and rethink your day, read our post “I Want to Get Fit, but Don’t Know How to Start.”
What are some ways you could add more movement to your day?
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