What does progress mean to you? Being better could be losing weight, gaining weight (more muscle, less fat), improving overall physical fitness… It’s tough to know if you are making progress against your goals if you don’t measure. I’m not simply talking about obsessing over the number on the scale. Weight is a really poor measure of health and fitness. A more useful approach involves measuring a number of data points over a long period of time. Things like weight, body fat, and heart rate, when measured over time, can give you useful insights that will guide you in making the right changes to meet your goals and give you a pretty good overall state of health.
It seems like everything from video game consoles to toasters are connecting to the internet these days. Gimmick? In many cases, the answer is probably yes. However, some practical uses are starting to emerge that will make the insights gained through data analysis useful in everyday life.
I’m a fan of most gadgets and technology but was a bit skeptical when researching connected scales. If you were to ask me a few months ago how much I weigh, I honestly would have no idea. I rarely stepped on a scale – mainly because I am a believer that weight alone just doesn’t matter. Health does. Furthermore, dishing out $150 plus for a scale that talks to my smartphone just didn’t seem like a prudent use of money. After all, you can find scales that measure weight, body fat and heart rate on Groupon for $25.
My research eventually led me to the Withings Smart Body Analyzer. It’s a “connected” scale that can measure all of the things we mentioned above – weight, body fat %, pulse – plus a few others like room temperature and air quality. The scale connects to your home Wi-Fi network and/or your smartphone via Bluetooth in order to interact with the Withings Health Mate app. The scale is easy to setup – powered by batteries (included), setup took about 20 minutes. Once connected, simply step on the scale (bare feet required to measure body fat) and let it run through a series of measurements. The measurements will be displayed on the scale’s LCD screen and synchronized with the Health Mate app wirelessly. That’s it – the scale can distinguish between multiple people automatically and recognize you the next time you use it.
If you want to change it, you have to measure it.
So that’s great and all but the utility comes into play with the app. The Health Mate app records your data over time and displays trending data in a graphical view. This allows you to not only see how your weight is changing (or staying the same) but will give you an indication of progress against your goals. Are you getting fitter? (Heart rate going down over time). Building muscle? (body fat down, weight up.) If you’re hitting the gym and eating right and these numbers aren’t changing, this could be a sign that it’s time to change your strategy. A number of other data-driven features are available when combined with your smartphone including step tracking and integration with other apps like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. All of this added value and the insights provided by the app is what really sets this apart from the $25 Groupon-type deals for scales that stop at simply taking the measurements.
Obsessing over your weight = not so smart… Using a connected scale to measure your progress over time = pretty smart move!
Check it out here: http://www.withings.com/us/smart-body-analyzer.html
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