Over the past month or so, I’ve been testing out an Activity Tracking from iHealth.
Activity trackers are small devices that we wear on our body to track our activity throughout our day. Usually these devices track data like steps taken, distance travelled, and calories burned. iHealth’s tracker also has the ability to track your sleep quality at night, set daily goals and even notify you when you are being inactive.
The goal is to gather data that builds a picture of your daily activity. This is actually a very popular thing and there’s even a movement titled Quantified Self where people are looking to gain self knowledge through self tracking.
Anyway, back to the iHealth activity tracker.
I’ve been testing it out personally so I can see how well it would work with my clients. I wanted to see 1) how easy it was to use, 2) how convenient it was to wear and 3) whether or not I found the data useful. Here are my findings.
1) How easy is it to use?
Use of the device was actually very simple for me. It only has one button, so it can’t get much easier than this. Pressing the button cycles through the different measurements of steps, distance, calories and a fun little graphic that shows you how close you are to your daily goal by a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place podium.
The other use of the device is through bluetooth connection to your iPhone. For me, this process went exactly as outlined in their manual. However, for Kelly (who was also testing a device) she had much more difficulty. We were actually un-able to connect the device to her phone and had to set it up with her iPad. (I played with it for an hour and couldn’t figure it out. We did not contact customer support)
Once connected to my phone, it was very simple. In the iHealth App, all I had to do was click on the Activity section and it would connect to the device and sync. All the data was there in a nice pretty graph that was easy to read.
2) How convenient is it to wear?
The iHealth tracker comes with both a wrist strap and a waist clip. I found I was wearing the wrist strap more often because I like to wear a watch. However, it’s not really a replacement for my watch, so often it appeared like I was wearing two watches.
It’s great to have the wrist and waist options, but this created a small problem. The waist clip is better during the day when tracking steps, but the wrist strap is better at night when tracking sleep. The problem comes in when switching between the two. I’m not sure if it was just me and my large fingers, but I found it challenging to switch the device around, especially when taking it out of the waist clip.
3) Was the data useful?
I wore the activity tracker for a couple of weeks and got a lot of data. Data about my steps in a day, data about my sleep at night, and even data about how often I’d forget to wear it. The data was interesting and even a little surprising at times. I realized that some days I didn’t walk nearly as much as I thought.
I found that the data got less exciting over time. I started to see my averages, I started to see the trends, and day after day, week after week, it didn’t tell me much that was new. So, I was less motivated to keep wearing it once I knew my trends. However, I think my opinion is very skewed in this aspect.
I believe these trackers are best for someone who isn’t very active. Because I am very active, this data wasn’t really new information for me. I already exercise regularly and get frequent activity. The activity tracker seemed to show me what I already knew, and to have a few days of lower activity isn’t a concern for me.
However, if you’re someone who isn’t very active and spends a lot of time at the desk, this little device can be an amazing tool. There are a few key features that can really help you focus on being more active, and help you start to build some habits around fitness.
Stay tuned for my future post about what these key features are and how you can use them to start increasing your activity level!
Have you used an activity tracker before? What was your experience using it?