So, as pondered in an earlier post, I decided to treat myself to a fitness tracking watch. I justified the expense (both to myself and to Mrs Chippy) on the basis that it was less than half the money I was saving on fuel by working at home. I didn’t really need to justify the expense to Mrs Chippy at all; within a few days she had bought herself one too!
I have to say, I am impressed. Obviously, it tells me the time and date – it is a watch, after all – but it will also fairly accurately track how far I run, walk or cycle – it’s even clever enough to work out what type of activity I am doing.
A press of a button and it picks up GPS signals to record where I am. It buzzes every km (or mile) and when I’ve finished gives me a simple breakdown of how far and how long; my average pace, and my time per km (or mile). It even tells me interesting information such as what my maximum heartrate was, how many calories I’ve burned and how many steps I took. Sometimes it even gives me an uplifting message such as “superior fitness”. OK, once it’s given me an uplifting message of “superior fitness”.
I should point out that accurate tracking of distance isn’t always welcome. One of my regular routes that I had previously told myself was “about 8 km” turned out to be only 6.5.
Other than formal activity, the watch counts my daily steps and sets me a target each day – a target that I sometimes try to reach. I get a buzz, both literally and metaphorically, when the watch tells me I’ve reached my goal for the day. Again, sometimes this is not necessarily a good thing. Like a salesman’s compensation package, the target rises in line with my ability to reach it.
Oh wow, I’ve just noticed that I am within a gnat’s quaver of doubling my steps target for today -That sounds like a call for a walk round the block.
A few weeks ago, I noticed late in the evening that I only had 200 steps to go to reach my daily target. “Well, that’s only to the end of the road and back; I’ll do that now”. After 198 steps I realised I’d made a gross error in my calculation. It was 2000 steps, not 200. I kept going, and eventually got there. Mrs. Chippy was beginning to wonder why I’d been out for so long!
The watch reminds me to move every hour – an order that I dutifully obey. For most of my life, I’ve been happy to move when I have need to and to walk when I have somewhere to go. Now it just needs a message from a bit of electronic wizardry on my wrist and I’m off like a well-trained dog.
You don’t have to walk far to clear the “time you moved” message. My neighbours probably think I am a bit weird the number of times I walk a little way down the street before returning home, as if I have suddenly realised, I’ve forgotten something.
I can look at my watch to assess how many calories I’ve burned today. Yesterday was an exceptionally active day (it was notparkrunday, after all), yet I still appear to have burned more calories from resting than from being active. Maybe I should rest more.
It measures my pulse and tells me my average resting heart rate. The instructions are clear that this should be taken as a rough guide and not treated as a diagnostic tool. As a first aid trainer who frequently stresses the importance of taking a pulse, this graph of my heart rate over the last four hours is interesting. Which is my “normal” rate? But I can guess at which point I walked back from the town with two bags of shopping!
Apparently, I could also link it to my phone and receive text messages direct to my watch. Well, I could if I had a compatible phone. Why I would want to do that is beyond me.
All exciting stuff – some of it more exciting than useful. But there’s more. I can upload the details recorded on my watch to online applications, and that opens a whole new world of excitement and procrastination. Something for my next post.
I did it! Double goal – complete with celebratory fireworks – apologies for the poor quality of video, and that it is on its side.