Friday, September 29, 2017

Don't wear a wrist-based activity monitor while pushing a buggy!

I was looking back over the data that accumulates from both my pedometer (I'm using it for the 100 day challenge) and my Polar A360 and I spotted something quite interesting. Occasionally my A360 records fewer steps than my pedometer, but there was one day in September when the difference was quite significant. I checked the data and I'd been wearing my watch all day, so it wasn't as if I'd had it on charge for a large part of the day.

So I thought about it for a while. Then I looked at the date. Thursday 7th September. The penny dropped. We were at Center Parcs and Anne and I had taken our Grandsons out for a walk in their buggy. I'd been given the responsibility for pushing (Anne might have been carrying Ben while I had Tobias in the pushchair).

While we walked around the site, up and down gradients, through trees and past lodges, my arms weren't doing much at all. My A360 assumed I was probably standing still most of the time and didn't record many steps at all. In fact, had I only been using the Polar to monitor my steps for the challenge, I would have failed miserably that day and would probably have found myself running around Center Parcs in the late evening trying to make up the difference!

Once again it just goes to show that you need to use a device that is most helpful given the way you do most of your activity. Either that or remember to strap your wrist-based device to your ankle when out pushing a buggy!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Extended SMART Targets

I mentioned a while ago that I'd come across a slightly wider definition of S-M-A-R-T while reading Achieve the Impossible, by Greg Whyte. Greg Whyte has been involved with Comic Relief trying the likes of David Walliams for their challenges. Here's his extended version of SMART.

S: Specific, Significant, Stretching
M: Measurable, Meaningful, Motivational
A: Agreed, Achievable, Action-orientated
R: Relevant, Results-orientated, Rewarding
T: Timely, Time-bound, Trackable

Clearly I'd remembered stretching and meaningful without realising it! Anyway, there you have it. Interestingly he doesn't use realistic, which I have heard used and always wondered how it differed significantly form achievable. Mind you, you might argue that results orientated and measurable or measurable and trackable are too similar to be differentiable in this context. In the end there's no real value in debating the semantics, especially if that means that you fail to set a target that's nothing more than wishful thinking.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Step comparison

As I've started my 100 day challenge, I thought I'd do a quick comparison of the data from my pedometer and from my activity monitor. I use a Polar A360. I've posted some stuff about it before, so I won't go into too much detail here.

The A360 takes all your activity and converts it into "equivalent steps". I'm guessing it uses some sort of algorithm to do this. So, when I play tennis for example, it will show a higher step count than when I go for a walk, not because I've necessarily taken more steps but because of the way it converts movement into steps. This shows up in the statistics. Interestingly, one day the A360 under-recorded steps compared to the pedometer rather than over-recording (although over and under recording aren't exactly the best way to describe what it does!).

Anyway, using the 14 days from August, here's what the comparative data looks like:


Total Steps: 192525
Average per day: 13751
Highest: 24750
Lowest: 10458


Total Steps: 233407
Average per day: 16672
Highest: 28693
Lowest: 10686

Interestingly, the day the A360 recorded fewer steps than the pedometer was the day I intentionally went for a walk and set my wristband to monitor that activity (i.e. to log the walk as a training event). It's also partly why I'm undecided about how best to monitor myself during the 100 days. At the moment I simply use my pedometer and make sure it hits 10k each day.

I guess in the end the data just underlines that you need to decide what you want to measure and then choose the appropriate method and equipment to do that job.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Aug 2017 stats

Each time I've done my 100 day challenge I've kept a record of steps in a simple spreadsheet. So here are the stats for August.

Total Steps: 192525
Average per day: 13751
Highest: 24750
Lowest: 10458
No. of consecutive days: 14

I was intending to start on September 1st, but having stuck the pedometer in my pocket and managed to hit my target, I decided just to keep going.