I have a Garmin 405cx and used to love it so much but since coming back to running since having bub I don’t like it as much. I mean I like what it does and the data it gives but I don’t like the bulkiness which hurts my wrists and the fact that the battery wears down so much so I hardly use it. Am saving for a newer lighter version!
A few months ago I started looking into activity bracelets as it seems everywhere I looked there was a new one and a number of my gym buddies had them. I liked the idea of them being light and thought getting one might be good until I get my new watch. So I ended up getting a Polar Loop in the mail from my friends at Run Stop Shop and have been using it for the last couple of months to see whether it would be useful or not.
What’s the point of activity bracelets?
I guess my interpretation would be taking the old step pedometers into the modern age! The bracelet tracks your steps, how active you have been, how many calories you have burned and at what time. I did use a Nike+ for a while a good few years ago and the activity bracelets now are a little bit similar to that but a bit more advanced in terms of features but it depends which one you get.
When the package came in the mail I was very excited to get it. The first thing you have to do is chop the watch strap down to fit your wrist. I was a but scared I would end up cutting too much off and be stuffed but I measured my wrist and then as my friend Shaun advised me to do I measured again. When I was sure I wouldn’t stuff it up I got my husband to cut the strap. I then plugged the USB thingy into my computer and set up was easy.
I couldn’t wait to put the wristband on and to start seeing my steps accumulate. I found to begin with every few steps I was checking it to see how many steps. I know – nuts and slightly obsessive!
The idea is that the watch will show you how active you have been and I found it did make me think in terms of when sat at my desk how inactive I was and then start thinking about making up for it by going to the gym at night or for a run!
I also had the Bluetooth heart rate monitor which is great for the gym as everytime I got onto the treadmill or bike my heart rate comes straight up on the screen clearly in front of me rather than having to put my hands on the heart rate readers which can be awkward. There is an app that you can download too which syncs everything together and shows a breakdown for how active your day has been and whether you met the daily goal.
You can sleep in with the Loop on too and it tells you how well you slept. I found I couldn’t wear it because of my tendinitis but it is handy to see how restful you are. I managed to wear it a couple of times and it was pretty accurate.
The only down side to the Loop for me really is because at the moment I am a new mother and am using a pushchair a lot the issue I have is that it doesn’t pick up the steps when walking or running with the pushchair unless I walk one handed and let my hand swing. I contacted Run Stop Shop who were very helpful and explained that the Loop is designed to be an activity monitor i.e steps/calories burnt in day to day life and responds to movement especially in your arms so normal walking or running you would swing your arms but having them on a pushchair means that you are restricted in movement and so the technology doesn’t respond as well.
There are lots of GPS/ heart rate monitor watches out there which would be better for hardcore training outdoors and give more information such as routes and times etc. Polar do have a number which are worth looking at. I haven’t tried them out but have seen good reviews. I’m highlighting the Polar RC3 as there is a sale on at the moment if you are in the market for a new watch!
For me The Loop is great as an activity monitor and great for indoor training where my Garmin doesn’t tend to be used as the GPS signal is slow or non existent.