How Can Technology Help Us With Our Daily Lives?

It’s 2015. Technology is everywhere. You see people constantly on their phones, wasting their day away checking email, social sites, playing games, and everything in between. Technology occupies us but how can it help us?

For this post I’m going to stick with talking about fitness devices and activity trackers, specifically the Polar A300 Heart Rate Monitor Watch.

Before we get started, if you’d like to see all of the blog posts that I’ve written for the Polar A300 I’ve made an easy link for you.

For transparency purposes, I will mention that I am a Polar Ambassador however the opinions and discussions in this article (and this blog) are my own. I write about these watches only because I think they are¬†*amazing* and would love to help educate people on how to use them! ūüôā

Ok .. let’s go!

I am one of those people .. I have to wear a watch. With the evolvement of technology I also like to know what my activity level is for the day… what I have, or have not, been doing. That is where the¬†Polar A300¬†comes in handy.

Polar A300 has a watch alarm
On the Polar A300 there is a handy alarm feature that, yes, even includes a Snooze button!

In a typical day I wake up to my watch alarm buzzing me that it’s time to get on with another work day. I like¬†having an alarm so convenient .. and I will admit to using it for anything I need a reminder for. Why not?!

The¬†Polar A300¬†tracks daily activity, i.e. steps, and even gives you an estimate on about how many calories you’ve burned during the day.

What is nice is that one of the watch face views has a progress bar under it, showing you how far you are along in your steps for the day. If you want to know what it will take to get to one hundred percent for the day you can quickly take a look at your status and it will show you a few options! Many times I’ve seen that I just need 10 minutes of walking and it’s been encouraging enough that I’ve gotten up and knocked that walk out just to finish the day off right!

Polar A300 Inactivity Alert
The Polar A300 not only monitors your activity but it can also tell you when you’ve been inactive for too long. It always manages to let me know at the perfect moment!

I will admit that I’m almost yin and yang with my daily activity.

Being a group fitness instructor I am very active when I teach, keeping the watch very happy with all my movements. When I’m at home, it’s a different story. I’ll be enjoying my down time at home and all of a sudden I have been sitting on my butt for way too long…. next thing you know the watch will buzz me letting me know that it’s time to move!

I’ve had it both happen to me at home and work (a bunch of times!) and I’ve noticed that it’s always at the perfect time, when I’m in some sort of relaxing, awful, zoned out funk. It will buzz me and I’ll instantly get up and do something, whether it be walk, do a few jumping jacks, or just something to get the blood flowing again. You can turn them off if you want but I personally enjoy the nudge, reminding me that it’s not good to be so idle for so long!

Polar A300 with training targets
When you set up your training targets on Polar Flow it makes it quick and easy to start your workouts when it’s time to hit the gym!

I like to set up training targets on my Polar A300 for the workouts I expect to do during the week, so I can hold myself accountable for making my weekly goals.

On this day I was scheduled to teach Bodypump. What great is that when the watch is synced, I’ll click on the start button and it asks me if I want to start my Bodypump workout. That’s so nice!

Since the watch can talk to the mobile app (Android or iOS) through Bluetooth, getting the data off the watch is easy!

For me, I simply start the sync process as I’m changing to leave the gym. The data is automatically sent from my watch to my android and it will even beep when it’s finished.

Then, when I’m walking out of the gym I like to pull up the Polar Flow mobile app to see a fancy breakdown of the workout! It’s one thing to track your heart rate but I use heart rate tracking as a tool to see how I’m working out, in which zones, and if I’m training¬†smart with every workout.

Polar A300 - changing out the watch band
Within seconds you can switch your watch band out for a different color that you have!

Later on this night I had plans to head out .. and decided that maybe the watch color would not look great with what I was wearing… but I don’t want to miss out on a complete picture of my day in activity.

The Polar A300 is great because you can quickly and easily change out the band.

What?

Yes!

About 30 seconds later my watch was now a color that looked much better with my outfit!

The good news is that by the end of that day I could call it a success! Using technology to help me in my daily life the Polar A300 kept me healthy and motivated!

The watch made sure I did not oversleep, it buzzed me twice to make sure that I was not sitting for too long, it was ready to go when I needed to teach Bodypump, it motivated me to take that extra walk in order to get to 100% of my daily goal, and it even changed colors in order to match with my evening outfit! ūüôā

I love this watch and it’s definitely a case where technology helps us to live smarter, healthier lives. If we can use this to our advantage and make good choices one day at a time I feel much better about our chance for better health today, tomorrow, and in years to come.

Thanks for reading!

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Polar Flow – Setting up Training Targets for the Polar A300 and the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch

Interested in the newest line of Polar watches, and all that they can do for you? Well, I’ve started writing a series of blogs that will look at a couple of their watches, the Polar A300 Heart Rate Watch and the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch.

If you’d like to see all of the blog posts that I’ve written for the Polar A300 I’ve made an easy link for you.¬† If you’d like to see all of the blog posts I’ve written on the Polar M400 I’ve made an easy tag for that too!

In this blog post we’ll take a look at an aspect of Polar’s Flow website that you can take advantage of if you are an owner of either the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch or the Polar A300 Heart Rate Watch .. this is setting up training targets for your watch.

For transparency purposes, I will mention that I am a Polar Ambassador however the opinions and discussions in this article (and this blog) are my own. I write about these watches only because I think they are¬†*amazing* and would love to help educate people on how to use them! ūüôā

So let’s talk!

For this blog post / demo I’m initially going to set up training targets based on indoor activities .. then send them to my watches so you can see the full cycle ūüôā

To start the process you’ll want to travel to¬†https://flow.polar.com/diary where I’m assuming that you have already set up your profile and watch details.

In the screenshot below you’ll see both completed exercises and planned exercises, or training targets.¬†The completed ones are in red and dark gray, and have their resulting calorie burns, the planned ones are in light gray.

Let’s add another training target to the plan..

Polar Flow - How to Add a New Training Target - 1

As you can see in the image (above) we are going to add a new workout to Thursday, for BODYPUMP. We’ll start this by clicking on the Add button. Easy enough so far ūüôā

The next web page that¬†you’ll see is in the image below.

If you have sport profiles set up (we’ll talk about that in a future blog post!) you can set the one you want here. For BODYPUMP I like to use the sport profile I have set up for “STRENGTH TRAINING.” After that you’ll give it a name (I called it BODYPUMP), then set the date and time for this workout.

If this training target is going to be a recurring activity then you can add this as a favorite. If you added this¬†activity¬†as a favorite in the past, you could grab this workout template quickly by clicking on that “Favorite Targets” button. You’d click on the favorite and the general information will load for you automagically!

On this training target page you’ll set a target type, between Quick, Race Pace (only available if you have the V800), and Phased. This selection is going to vary based on what type of workout you have chosen. For mine I went with Quick and set the duration .. which is 1 hour.

Polar Flow - How to Add a New Training Target - 2

Now, we save, above, and we’ll see the new workout has been added to our diary..

Polar Flow - How to Add a New Training Target - 3

Polar Flow with Training Targets

And .. the next time you open the Flow Mobile app you’ll see you’re training targets as well.

Now, you may ask, how do we get that to our watch? The next time you sync your watch it will automatically download the workout to your watch.

This is the point where there are slight variances between the M400 and the A300. Let’s look at them one at a time.

On the Polar M400 (shown in theTraining Targets on the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch¬†image to the right) the new¬†training targets¬†will appear under “Diary”, off of the Main Menu, for their training dates. The names that you set in Flow even come across to the watch, which I love!

On the right side of the dates in your diary you’ll see the ’empty’ boxes with dashes .. that is designating training targets that you have not completed yet.

Training Targets on the Polar A300 Heart Rate WatchOn the Polar A300 you will see the same information but it is located in a different part of the Main Menu. From the Main Menu you’ll want to navigate down to “Targets” (looking at the image to the left). Any training targets that you set will be stored here, and again, will include the name that you set them up under.

So, what do we do with these now?

When you are ready to workout you simply go to your training target on your watch, select it, and it will automatically take you to the sport profile you set up for it (or if you did not set one up then it takes you to a general sport profile). Then .. off you go!

Remember that this can work for any planned workouts, tough or easy, indoors or outdoors.

If you are following a running training plan you can quickly and easily set up your running diary in here. You could make a template for running, load the favorite each time, and change the date and mileage .. quick and easy!

I hope this helps!

Thanks for reading!

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Taking an Early Look at the Polar A300 Heart Rate Monitoring Watch

Looking for a new heart rate monitoring watch for your workouts? If so then you may want to consider the Polar A300 Heart Rate Monitoring watch.

I’ve previously been talking about the Polar M400 watch so you may ask .. what’s the difference?

In a gist .. if you workout indoors at a gym, at home, etc. and / or swim then the Polar A300 may be for you. If you take your workouts outdoors then you may like the GPS option that can be found on the Polar M400. Sure, there are other differences but in a nutshell that may be the deciding factor for most people between the two.

Before we get started .. if you’d like to see all of the blog posts that I’ve written for the Polar A300 I’ve made an easy link for you.¬†¬†Then, if you’d like to see all of the blog posts I’ve written on the Polar M400 I’ve made an easy tag for that too!

For transparency purposes, I will mention that I am a Polar Ambassador however the opinions and discussions in this article (and this blog) are my own. ūüôā

So, let’s quickly look at the Polar A300 to start, then we’ll dive in a bit deeper in future blog posts.

The Polar A300 is a relatively new heart rate monitoring watch released by Polar. It’s a fitness and activity tracker, as in it will track your workouts and even your daily activities. Yes, it’s the new evolution of fitness watches .. this watch is¬†giving you those ¬†wonderful 24/7 stats on your steps, activity levels, and even sleep!¬†Paired with a heart rate monitor and you can track and train while monitoring your heart rate for more effective training and results.

Polar A300 How to Switch out the watches band
With the Polar A300 it takes just seconds to switch the watch band out for a new color!

What’s even funner about this watch is that it’s easy to personalize .. by switching out the watch band for different colors.

It may take you 10 seconds, if you move really slow :), to take the super soft band apart from the watch and switch it out for another color.¬†It’s a small design tweak that really gives a new dynamic to the watch as something you wear every day!

Ok, so that’s fun but let’s look at what it has to offer.

So, as I mentioned before, the Polar A300 is both a daily activity tracker and also a heart rate monitoring watch. From the main menu you are presented with a few screens:

Activity:

This is where you will see your daily activity stats. This includes your current percentage, when compared to the goal you set, your active time, smart calorie estimate, total steps taken (so far), and approximate distance walked. Additionally,
if you have not reached your goal it will tell you what it take for you to reach it.

Let’s look at my example in the photo. I’m currently at 53% of the goal I gave myself every day. According to my watch, in order to make 100% I’ll need to either:

  • jog for 41 minutes
  • walk for 1 hour and 34 minute
  • be up for 5 hours and 15 minutes

The difference between the activities of this watchPolar A300 - looking at the Main Menu Items¬†and an activity tracker / pedometer is that your goal is not necessarily based on steps, but instead based on ‘active time,’ which is why you see the 5 hours and 15 minutes of ‘up’ time.

History:

According to their website¬†has a “Memory capacity up to 60 days (with daily activity tracking and 1 hour of daily training).” That’s great! For me, I personally only want to see the stats for this week, and maybe last week, on the watch. For everything else I usually go to their website.

We’ll look at History in a future blog post but for now just know that you can dive into the History menu and see lots of glorious stats on how hard you’ve worked today! ūüôā

Fitness Test:

The Fitness test is good tool to see how we are improving in our fitness journeys. You’ll want to do this when you first get the watch and then again periodically as you continue to improve your overall health. A good rule of thumb is to reassess ourselves about every 6 – 8 weeks. Not too often but often enough to notice progress.

Settings:

General settings about ourselves, watch settings, and all kinds of other tweaks!

Ok, so this is a good start!

If you are asking the question .. is this a good watch or not, I can tell you that YES, it is! We’ll talk about it in more details, and eventually talk about Polar’s Flow site, but if you have any specific questions or topics, please let me know and I will cover them for you!

Thanks for reading!

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