Friday, December 6, 2013

Review: Polar Loop, For the 'Rest' of the time

Cheetahs and greyhounds are built very similarly. Both are built for very high speeds. Both also have very long rest times throughout the day. Due to their high metabolism and low body fat that is crucial to their speed, the longevity of their speed is limited at best. Cheetahs have a max speed of 70-75 mph but a max distance of 1,600 feet. The greyhound has a max speed of 43 mph (second only to the cheetah) and a max distance of 820 feet.
Humans are not built like cheetahs or greyhounds, but many people take their riding with very similar procedures. While a rider may average 20-25 mph for 3 hours, they may also be sitting behind a desk for the rest of the day. This is not how our bodies effectively perform and that rider may be stunting his progress and performance.

I'm sure the initial response everyone is having is "I need to rest!" or "I cannot type while on a treadmill!"

Blue Cross Blue Shield states that the average adult should take 10,000 steps a day to ensure an active lifestyle. This can be achieved by parking farther away, using the restroom on a different floor of your office building, taking the stairs, there are many easy options.
The best tool to keep track of your daily activity is the Polar Loop. I know now-a-days everyone can find a pedometer from Big Lots. And there is a lot of high-end wrist-jewelry that will tell you your heart rate, sleep patterns and what you're about to think. Both these devices are not the best options and I'll tell you why.
Pedometers are based on gyroscopes. Missing key information like time of activity and skewing numbers with improper gyroscope readings from shifting weight while sitting. Walking is not measured from one's hip,
Polar Loop's website. You can't get this kind of
info from a pedometer.
it's measured through actual movement.
The abundance of all-day measurement devices on the market today shows that the technology to produce one is not hard to find. However it is hard to do correctly. infrared heart rate is designed to be used while the body is in a resting position only, and gets more inaccurate the more active the wearer is. It can be up to 30bpm off. When dealing with a number that is anywhere from 40-60 bpm to 170-190, 30 bpm is a pretty huge variable.
Also, there is no combination of technical data and algorithms that can effectively tell anyone about personal sleep patterns without including variables so large, they practically make the information void. If sleep studies could be done without the hundred wires stuck all over the patient's body and the node-covered skull cap, don't you think they would offer that option?

The Polar Loop is an activity monitor that does not promise anything except reliable and effective information. It is to take control of your day, in it's entirety. This makes sense for everyone. For the most active athlete, it is imperative to keep their body in effective shape, which means a healthy level of activity. For the not-so-athletic person, it is helpful to ensure they are being healthy without requiring a sport or too much additional effort. It is also the only method of measurement backed by Blue Cross Blue Shield to improve one's level of daily activity.

When you wear a Polar Loop it uses 3D accelerometers to measure 360 degrees of movement. It also uses a dual-coil system to measure actual movement of travel, not just the back and forth rotation of your arm. Basically, it can tell when you sit, stand, when you are walking, when you're jogging and when you're just standing in an elevator.
Level up by adding medical
grade heart rate.
By combining this information with your age, weight, and height it provides an average of calories you have burned, and how active you have been during that day. It also provides amounts of different activities the wearer can do to complete a healthy level of activity. If you want to really dial your numbers in, you can add a bluetooth equipped H7 heart rate strap to equip the Loop with medical-grade heart rate.

Due to it's simple design and display, it is water proof and holds a long battery life.
The Loop charges via USB and also downloads all of your information to the Polar Loop website. It gives you day-to-day productivity and an ever changing list of many different activities to improve your lifestyle such as badminton, jogging, even doing the dishes.
The app is not only
helpful, but colorful!
I preferred the app to log my progress. With a bluetooth connection, the app can let you know how active you've been on a 5 point scale, from resting to running, and when the activity took place. It also has the ability to remind you when you have been inactive for too long with phone-based alarms.
Working in retail, and biking as a life-consuming hobby, I considered myself to have a fairly healthy lifestyle. But it only took a couple of days wearing the Loop to find out that I was not as healthy throughout my day as I thought. It pushed me to change habits so I would be more active and, in turn, had a happier general outlook as well as a better sleep pattern.

It comes with a cut-to-fit locking strap to ensure a comfortable fit that is not cumbersome. There is even a easy measuring tool that comes with the Loop to guarantee the right fit.

While the person looking for extremely detailed information of their activity, usually provided by equipment like a Garmin 910 or Polar RCX5, may find the Loop a bit lacking, such competition is not Polar's goal. They set out to create an easy, automatic method of tracking and improving one's general activity throughout the day. I'd say that's exactly what they achieved.

Our price for a Polar Loop is $99.99 Not bad when you consider it's $40 - $700 for the few hours with a cycling specific computer. With a Loop you are taking control of the other 9 hours in the day!
For more information about the Polar Loop, Click Here!