Friday, September 20, 2013

Polar Loop - activity tracker for your wrist

Polar recently launched their version of a wrist-worn fitness tracker called the Polar Loop. This product is directly competing against wrist-worn activity trackers like the Nike+ FuelBand, the Fitbit Flex, or the Misfit Shine. I predict that we're going to see a flurry of these types of gadgets hitting the marketplace given all the rumors about the Apple iWatch.

The Polar Loop displays time, so you could wear it like a watch. In that sense, it's very similar to the Nike+ FuelBand.

The Polar Loop is also waterproof for swimming. That sets it apart from most of the others, but don't forget that the Misfit Shine is waterproof and it can be worn on your waist, your shirt, your socks, etc.

What's really nice about the Polar Loop is its ability to connect with Bluetooth heart rate monitoring straps like the Polar H7. I love to train and exercise by monitoring my heart rate to make sure that I'm not over-training or under-training. I've been a Polar heart rate monitor user for well over a decade (I started with one of their semi-rigid chest straps and now I use their modern soft strap). I store all my workout data on so that I can quantify my progress.

The Polar Loop also alerts you if you've been sitting still too long. I don't know if you can adjust that setting, but if you need a constant reminder that you've been sitting still at your desk for a few hours, maybe it's time to take a stretch break and walk down the hallway.

The self-tracking, quantified-self movement is about to reach a new level as people get introduced to a wider selection of activity trackers that serve to remind (and motivate) them to exercise more. I'm a true believer that these gadgets can lead to sustainable health behavior modifications - as long as you continue to wear and use these devices. That's why you'll always see me wearing an activity tracker on my wrist.

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