Inexpensive technology helps track exercise – Silicon Valley

For years, I’ve been riding my age for miles on my birthday, which will come again next week. I’m not ready for such a long ride this year, but I can ride in kilometers. Still, there are more miles than I’ve been riding for a long time.

Larry Magido, a freelance technology columnist at The Mercury News, was filmed in San Jose on Friday, October 21, 2011. (Gary Reyes / Mercury News)

I used to ride a smooth and efficient road bike, but after an accident that required surgery to repair a broken elbow a few years ago, wide tires and regular (non-clip-on) pedals. Switched to a heavier hybrid bike with.My hybrid bike I’ve owned for decades is very low tech, but I just upgraded it Xoss G GPS compatible cycle computer At a surprisingly low price of $ 29.90. Not as advanced as a much more expensive unit like $ 399 Garmin Edge 830, But it tracks my distance and speed, and it’s incredibly easy to set up. Unlike traditional GPS-independent cycle computers, it captures position and distance data from GPS satellites, eliminating the need to attach sensors to wheels or specify wheel diameters. This version and other GPS computer versions, which also measure cadence (revs per minute), require a wireless sensor on the wheel hub.

Like a high-end device, it comes with an app that tracks your vehicle. According to the company, the app is a popular fitness app that not only tracks bike rides and runs, but also allows you to share statistics with others to compete, or at least encourage them to push a little harder. Compatible with. He has a complete history of all vehicles, including a map of where he got on, as he has a friend who uses Strava to map all vehicles.

I don’t know how to sell a GPS cycle computer for less than $ 30, but it’s one of the fitness devices made in China that’s much cheaper than branded products. The same is true for fitness watches that sell for hundreds to less than $ 30.00.

To be honest, you don’t even need a bike computer or smartwatch to walk, run, or track your vehicle. Both iPhone and Android come with apps (Apple Health and Google Fit) that can automatically track outdoor activity and provide maps, summary reports, and even fitness points based on distance traveled and speed. These apps rely on the GPS built into your phone and don’t require you to do anything other than give them permission to track. Once set, it works automatically in the background. You don’t have to remember to record your activity-they do it automatically based on your movement tracking. Most nights, I look at Google Fit to see how much I walked or biked during the day. I often remember the exercises I had forgotten to do that day.

Every fitness band records your heart rate. Even cheaper bands can use your phone’s GPS to track movement, but like the $ 99 Fitbit Charge, you can use your own GPS chip to track it even when you’re not connected to your phone. Some fitness bands also record climbed stairs and other exercises.

When the smoke of a forest fire comes in like last summer, I will bring my bicycle indoors. Even cheap indoor bikes like the Sunny Health & Fitness Endurance model I bought last year for $ 327 have an LCD monitor that tracks time, speed, revs per minute, and “distance” on the move. There are also pulse monitors that require you to grab the sensor on the handlebar. My Fitbit Sense can measure and display the time spent, pulse rate, and calories burned during an indoor session if you remember to start a “rotate” routine. If not, measure your pulse rate and use it to estimate your activity level.

There are many apps that allow you to train, motivate, and track in a variety of exercises, including those that don’t require equipment. Health line Has compiled a list of the best fitness and exercise apps for 2021, including Fitness & Bodybuilding Pro and Home Workout – No Equipment. You can try some of them, at least for free. The Fitbod app starts with a few questions to determine your age, weight, gender, fitness level, and equipment available, and builds a custom exercise routine based on that. Like many apps, you can try it for free with an annual fee of $ 59.99.

It’s interesting to know how far you’ve walked, ran, or biked, and how many minutes you’ve logged on to indoor bikes, ellipticals, and other exercise routines, but you don’t have to quantify your entire workout. For most of us, working for at least 150 minutes a week is the key to better fitness. But if you’re a competitive athlete, or if you need a little incentive or feedback to stay motivated, a little skill can help you get better.

Larry Magid is a technical journalist and internet safety activist. Inexpensive technology helps track exercise – Silicon Valley

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