• Tag Archives fitbit
  • Data or looks

    Never before have I ever been so paralyzed by choice than the past few months.
    I have been on a personal data binge and have been looking at heart rate variability and running data specifically.
    I could do a whole blog on HRV, and perhaps I will at some stage, but enough to say that you use a sensor to measure the beat-to-beat variability of your heart rate, the more variable, the more rested and ready for activity you are. Low variability means your body is hunkered down and is looking to rest. The thought/plan is that you take your HRV each day to get a feel for what stress your body is under (or not) and thus what you can throw at it for the day.
    Alongside of HRV is also body temperature. It goes up and down according to how stressed your body is.
    For a good many weeks, we have been using Terry’s old cycling heart rate chest strap and an app on my phone to take my morning HRV. The problem is, waking up and getting the strap on and such impacts the reading.
    Long story short, I found a sensor that you can wear to bed and it takes both HRV and body temp while you sleep. It arrives in April. Longer than I would like, but eh, that’s what you get for living in the future.
    (Obviously more about that sensor when it arrives and I get it settled into my life).

    Running data is where the real issue has been.
    I can either get a nice looking smart watch that gives me very poor running metrics, or I can get an ugly looking watch that is not very good at smart notifications, but amazing at running / activity data.
    The nice one is really good looking, nice notifications, but somewhat poor readability outside in full sun and has about 18 hour battery life. The ugly smart watch has a very low power screen, so it will be hard to read indoors, but under full sunlight, it comes to life and is very easy to read. But as a result it gets around a week between charges. (Perfect for hiking in the Grand Canyon, which I don’t have planned, but would do at a drop of the hat).
    The good looking one does not have a GPS, but could depending on which model I go with. Either way, it really does not matter as it simply tracks your route and does very little with the data points. The poor display has GPS and gives you a wealth of data of each point along the way, so it ties your running/hiking/cycling data to each location. Updated live on the watch and on the map when you get back and sync it.

    My Fitbit Ionic was supposed to be an upgraded fitness tracker, but once I got it and started using it, I quickly found that it was both a very poor fitness tracker and smartwatch. I am considering selling it, but Fitbit have a fantastic API and so I can easily get my data out and into both Strava and groov. Both very important things for me. I will probably end up wearing both watches since both have their strengths.

    Both the good looking watch and the ugly one have below average API’s so its going to be hard to get the data outside of their apps/web pages.

    I have done the usual thing of splitting a page in half and putting the pros and cons of each on the page and every time I do it, no matter what angle I take (form or function), they always come out to be exactly 50/50.
    Poor old Freddy has been driven mad as I try and come to a conclusion for what device to go for.
    Either are pretty big dollar commitments, I have been saving for a long while so I have the money, but I can only buy once. We can’t afford both (and I am out of wrists at this point) and to save for the other as well is going to take months, my point is, money is not a consideration for either, I think it’s worth that much to me.

    It’s also very personal. You wear the thing and it’s part of your daily life.
    I thought about posting pictures and such here and asking you guys to vote, but its my watch, my wrist, my life, my data… Hard to ask someone else to chose for me.

    So. Today. I chose ugly. Data over looks. Function over form.
    Ordered it from Amazon. Should be there when I get home.

  • Christian school with fitness trackers – what could go wrong?

    File this one in your crazy bucket…..


    Can a Fitbit distinguish between cross-fit and carnal knowledge? It doesn’t matter, says Oral Roberts University (ORU) officials, because they won’t be scanning data for signs of student coitus anyway. The school now requires that all of its incoming students use (and pay for) Fitbit trackers during the spring semester. That caused some speculation that the devices could invade students’ privacy, particularly since they can be used to monitor sexual activity. However, the school says it isn’t using the devices to enforce its code of conduct forbidding pre-marital sex.

    Rather, the reasons are more prosaic, though still slightly Orwellian. ORU gives students a pass/fail grade for doing exercise during the term and will use the trackers to monitor students’ steps and heart rate.

    Ok, look, just to help you out, here is the link to an article (safe for work. Mostly) that shows a woman’s heart rate from her fitness tracker during sex (it’s a graph, but there is a side photo of a fully covered woman in bed).

    And yes, I could share my fitness tracker heart rate graph, but no… You guys are not seeing that!

    Ok, now that we have all that out of the way, can please we get back to the article.
    A christian school is putting heart rate trackers on their teenage students.
    What could possibly go wrong??

  • Crowdsourced depression treatments

    I never knew about this website;


    About CureTogether

    Imagine patients around the world coming together to share quantitative information on over 500 medical conditions. They talk about sensitive symptoms and compare which treatments work best for them. They track their health. New research discoveries are made based on the patient-contributed data. This is happening at CureTogether, and we believe it can have a massive global impact.

    First I saw of it was this graphic popped up in one of my feeds as a side image to the main article.

    depression solutions

    This is what got my attention.
    You can read a bit more about it on their website;

    Given that it is all done by crowdsourcing is both interesting and a caution note worthy.
    It would be people from all walks of life, the only one thing to be sure about is that they surf the web. And that’s the caution, you could be reading anything by anyone.
    But, that said, my thought is that since that chart is built from pretty close to 5000 people, it would (should) sorta average out.

    Here is my take away.
    I blogged about how this year I want to focus on my physical health to improve my mental health.
    Well, it would seem that according to a whole bunch of people I am on the right track with that approach.

    Have not blogged about it yet, but I am also making an effort to do Yoga each morning, and yup, yoga is on the graph. (Middle left)…. Pretty happy to see it up there.
    Of course, exercise is front and center, well, top right… which means it’s very effective and used by a lot of people to manage their depression.
    We will do another blog in a few weeks how my quantified year is going (it’s only been around 6 weeks at this stage, I want to get at least 8 week under my belt before we even start to draw conclusions) in this regard.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I was really really encouraged to see that I am not totally off my rocker to think that by managing my physical health, I can impact (in a positive way) my mental health.

    As for the ‘Adequate Sleep’ thing….. lets just say that is a work in progress and we will blog more about that specific topic once we have a little more data.