Wearable activity trackers have turned into the latest must-have gadget over the past few years. While specific abilities vary from device to device, all trackers ultimately serve the same purpose: to give you an idea of your daily activity level and motivate you to move more for a healthier life.
Polar, long known for its heart rate monitors, entered the activity tracker market last year with Polar Loop. Like other activity trackers, Polar Loop will log your basic fitness statistics-steps taken, calories burned and hours slept, but also utilizes Polar's heart rate monitor background to enhance its data collection.
Because activity trackers often rely on arm swing to give you credit for movement, some may not recognize exercises where your arms tend to remain still, such as cycling. But when paired with an optional heart rate monitor, Polar Loop notices your elevated heart rate and counts that toward your daily activity goal.
Polar Loop is also waterproof, allowing you to wear it at all times, even if you choose to swim.
I enjoy health and fitness statistics, and in my experience wearing a Polar Loop for the past two months, it's given me a good idea of just how much I do or don't move.
While my regular exercise combined with normal day-to-day movement generally hits my daily activity goal, I spend a fair amount of my day sitting, particularly during the week.
I knew this before wearing a Polar Loop -- after all, I do have a desk job -- but seeing my statistics (available online through Polar Flow and the Polar Flow app for iPhones and Android devices), showed me how infrequently I actually move.
Both the Polar Flow app and Polar Loop notify me when I haven't moved for more than an hour, although I've personally found the app notification more useful as I often don't see my Polar Loop lighting up to remind me to stop sitting.
The device isn't always perfect -- I've gotten credit for over 300 steps while showering, for example -- but nevertheless, it is a useful way to gauge your personal activity trends over time.
While a Polar Loop can't actually force you to move, it has helped motivate me to make more of an effort to get up throughout my day, even if only for a moment. As more and more evidence shows the risks of sedentary lifestyles, I like having a device that reminds me that marathon training alone doesn't counteract eight hours at a desk. I need to move throughout my day, and Polar Loop encourages me to do just that.
The Polar Loop retails for $109.95. You can purchase it online or at any number of local retailers.