Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Okay. So I bought the Spark Activity Tracker the moment I realized it existed. I love SparkPeople, and I love supporting the company so I figured I'd give it a shot.
I bought the matte black one, and I wear it on my back flats for work. It is barely noticeable and it's not obtrusive or painful in my shoe, so I like that about it. I've tried wearing pedometers before and can't tell you how many close calls I've had with them almost falling in the toilet... haha.
One thing that I've noticed, that other users have also mentioned is that it only tracks the 4 types of exercise they advertise, walking, running, "indoor cycling" and elliptical. If you're doing super intense Crossfit, or kettlebell workouts, maybe a heart rate monitor would be better for you. I wore it while bicycling outside but it didn't count it as a workout which I'm guessing is because, sometimes I went slower or coasted and not having the repetitive movement confused it. And if you stop to take a break at all, it will not count it as a workout unless you are active for 10+ minutes. I wore it Sunday morning when JD and I went hiking, and it tracked my steps, but didn't count it as a walking workout out, because we must have paused too often.
Accuracy wise however, I think it is pretty spot on. Yesterday, I took a run that I know to be almost exactly 2 miles, and the Spark Activity Tracker recorded it as 2.04, so that's pretty dang close. And since I was constantly running, it tracked it as a 25 minute work out. This of course was when it was worn on my shoe, which is where it is most accurate. I haven't tried it on my waistband or bra, because while it is waterproof, I'm not sure it is the geyser of sweat that is Jan-Marie proof...
I also am wondering if I have a faulty usb sync device. I think it is supposed to be green when plugged in, but mine doesn't ever have a light on. I was doing some crazy acrobatics trying to lift my foot up with the tracker next to the usb port, then read the directions and realized by tapping it 5 times, it would sync automatically. No leg in air awkward dance necessary. It is syncing when I do that, so I don't know if it really matters that the light doesn't light up. Does anyone else notice it isn't green but just clear?
I guess for those of you wondering if you should get it, it is just important to ask yourself why you want it and how much you are willing to spend. It's obviously more affordable than FitBits, BodyMedia bands, NikePlus watches and Heart Rate Monitors. But it also doesn't do some of the things those do. Obviously a heart rate monitor is a better judge of your calorie burn, because the Spark Activity Tracker like the NikePlus watch can only estimate calories burned based on your current set weight and the length of time you spent exercising. Or if tracking where you've ran geographically is important, then maybe a Garmin or NikePlus watch with GPS is more what you're looking for. If you want something that tracks you while you sleep, get a Fitbit.
But if you're scared to spend 100, 200+ dollars on something that you may not end up using, the Spark Activity Tracker is the way to go. I think it's better than just normal pedometers and it's very easy to use. It is accurate when worn on your shoe and a relatively good judge of what you do in everyday life.
For me, the biggest reason I bought it and am happy with it, is it is a constant reminder of my journey here on Spark. When I look down and see the Spark emblem on my shoe, I'm reminded of how I got here, to a place where I'm concerned about my daily activity and exercise. To a place where walking a few laps around my house is worth it to reach a small goal I've set for myself.
I don't think SparkPeople created the Spark Activity Tracker to compete with the super expensive high-tech gadgets that some people use to motivate them. I think they created it to provide a less expensive way for us to track goals and feel motivated. If you think about it, $60 is a little over $1 a week for one year. That's much less expensive than any gym membership I've ever heard of. And after that $60, there are no other membership fees.
I'm glad I bought the Spark Activity Tracker. It is definitely already making me more conscious of how active I am at work and at home, and gives me the little extra push I need to get off the couch and get moving, when I'd otherwise just say, who cares.
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you're using the Spark Activity Tracker and how you feel about it, SparkFriends!