Friday, June 5, 2015

Weight Loss: Tracking Activity

In my today's world getting active doesn't mean starting running marathons from next Monday (yea, even if Mondays are these magical days which can give you these sort of powers). It is about doing enough activity to cover (or over do) the amount of energy I eat during the day.

Whatever it is running, or walking, or cleaning around the house, or moving... Anything will do.

How do I know if I have enough activity in my life? I track it. Steps is probably easiest thing to track, there are so many step tracking devices on the market at this moment. Some of them also measure distance, calculate calories, pock you when you are not active, store logs of activity, etc. For more advanced stats there are trackers which can link to you phone or have GPS for calculating speeds and location. These on top of the line also have HR monitors.

Most of them come with some kind of account there activity information can be stored, some will have website to see your account info or phone app to do so, or both. Some will also have a way to sync data from/to various tracking tools.

I did try few.

Jawbone Up

I used first Jawbone Up in the past up until it died on me. Liked the idea, the implementation however could have been better. I really hope they solved "dying issue" in few versions released afterwards. Also I still miss the sleep monitoring, it is very neat feature.


After Jawbone there was a downtime when I didn't do much. But when I realized a need to start being active again, I looked into FitBit direction. I didn't end up buying one of their trackers, but used FitBit App on my iPhone for a while. It was just enough to get me started and rolling: it counted my steps, calories, routs, provided nice reports and stats.

And I must say that motivation from participating FitBit challenges is amazing. Whatever you use one of their trackers or the iPhone App you will be able to participate these and it really keeps you going, few step at the time further than you went before. Achievements are cute too :).

Unfortunately iPhone + FitBit App is not capable of tracking much more than just steps, so works well for runs and walks, but not elliptical or cycling or some other workout. I am pretty sure that new FitBit tracker with HR are actually solving this problem, so it is totally worth checking out. But I moved into a bit different direction.

Apple Watch

At this moment I use Apple Watch for activity tracking amongst other things... It does count steps, calories (active vs inactive), distance, active time, heart rate, reminds me to move, informs of progress towards my goals, etc.

For some things it requires iPhone to be near by to be more accurate, but it works just fine without it as well. Because of HR monitoring, Apple Watch tracks not only runs and walks, but pretty much any activity in calorie form: cycling, dancing, cleaning of windows, you name it.

It has awards and motivational things, all though these are in solo mode for now: there is no notion of the community or friends or competition out of box as far as I can see. I really hope that some nice app developers are working hard into implementing some of it. I really miss it from FitBit.

And I really wish that FitBit allowed me participate their community challenges with my Apple Watch tracking... /Sigh

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