I bought my husband a Polar Loop 2 for Christmas and Polar kindly sent him a heart rate monitor to go with it. I’m a bit jealous he can monitor his sleep as I think I’d find that aspect very interesting for myself, but I’ll let him tell you how he’s getting on.
I received this strap for Christmas. I’ve been looking for some form of trigger to help me exercise for some time. I think in a fit of frustration my wife decided to call my bluff.
So, on Boxing day (who exercises on Christmas day??) I set up the Polar Loop 2. It was quite easy in the end, though I did struggle to get it to synchronise and update on my Mac initially, doing so on a Windows machine worked first time and since then it has worked fine on my Mac.
During the setup I had to add basic information, weight, age, and most importantly my level of activity. There are 3 levels, ranging from largely sat down all day (which describes my job as I currently do it, mostly sitting at a computer) to very active (e.g. a manual life where you’re standing all day). With these levels set, the Polar Loop 2 sets you an activity goal which you should achieve. It does this by counting “Steps”. This is much more than simply a pedometer, it figures out your movement based on a bunch of metrics which take into account vibrations, motion throughout the day if you’re just wearing the strap alone.
Even when you’re not moving the strap is recording data, so when you’re asleep it recognises this and that therefore allows it to measure what time of sleep you’re having. If you have a restless night you will see the next day in the graphs. This leads you to the reporting side of the Polar Loop 2 which is where the real value comes.
When you gather data through the strap you can upload it to the Polar.com Flow website. You also have the option to view this data inside your Polar Flow application on your smart phone. Syncing through your computer generally requires the cable that comes with the strap, but you can sync through the app using bluetooth. I tend to use the App more than anything but for seeing all your data in one place the PolarFlow website is the best. The app automatically syncs data to here as well.
Another great feature, you can see how you’re getting on through the straps LED screen, but you don’t need to keep looking. If you achieve your daily goal you will be notified with a little celebration animation and conversely if the strap senses you have been sat down too long you will get a prompt (vibration alert) to move around a bit. You can also cycle through metrics to see the activity, calorie count, steps taken and current time. If you are wearing a heart rate monitor you can also see your current heart rate.
As I said I use the Polar Flow application a lot. You can get all the same summaries as the website and it syncs with your strap using bluetooth. The app gives you a guide as to how to sync but it is a bit of a fiddle , especially if you are connected to the heart-rate monitor. After a while you get the hang of it, basically I wait until the application has synced with the website then I press my strap, wait a few seconds and it starts to sync with the app.
One of the accessories I use a lot is the heart rate monitor. From a data perspective this probably gives the Polar Loop 2 a more accurate measure of your level of activity. In my case I tend to use it most when I play squash. The Polar Flow application then gives you a load of data captured from the sensor and displays it to you as a graph. This is interesting, but probably of more use is its contribution to your daily activity goal. Squash in my case easily blows my targets out of the water. Given my goals from a training perspective I am not sure how these spikes in activity actually help (e.g. with weight loss) but it’s early days yet.
My sedentary job is keeping my percentages low, and at the back of my mind is the knowledge I need to do much more. The dreaded inactivity alerts are also something I am more conscious of and I do try to move when the band tells me to. I guess the proof will be in the pudding (pardon the pun), is it making a difference?
For now my weight is at least going in the right direction and I’m very pleased with my Polar Loop 2.