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MiniPost: Snow Shovelling with Polar FA-20 vs FT-60

Feedback. We know it's valuable. We know we need it to help progress toward our well-formed outcomes. There are so many ways to collect and analyze feedback that it boggles the mind but I have been very pleased with one particular way of measuring feedback regarding my physical activity and performance over time: electronic heart rate monitors.

I've been using a Polar FT60 heart rate monitor to help track my workouts and their effectiveness, allowing the STAR training program to guide my efforts. It provides great feedback and measurability which I will write about in the future - remember for now that feedback helps your relentless self-improvement and helps to fuel aggressive optimism. 

A while ago I also stumbled across an FA-20 Activity Monitor on clearance. It was affordable enough that I decided to pick one up just to try it out. It's based on computing your activity levels all day long rather than just in relatively short bouts of intense exercise, although it does have workout tracking built in (not heart rate-based, but accelerometer based).  This difference in measurement was highlighted today when I wore both units while shovelling the sidewalk. 

My FT-60 estimated my calories burned during the snow shovelling bout as around 220 while the FA-20, using my body motion, decided that I was still having a "lazy day"  (seriously, the watch literally says this stuff) and that I had burned about 6 calories since putting it on for the day.

It's probably calibrated around the swinging motion of your arms while walking or running and shovelling snow does not match those movements, leading to the interesting feedback I got. Lesson: use the right tool to measure the right activity. Even a HRM might not be completely accurate but it's at least available to be graphed in context with all of my other exercise. I've read that the newer FT-80 might be a better fit for someone doing the varied activities that I do (including some weight training) but for now I absolutely love the FT-60 and won't train without it.

That said, I am thinking of wearing my FA-20 more just to see what it thinks of my non-training activity levels.  I think it's meant more as an entry-level device to get sedentary people moving, who will then probably want to upgrade to something more interesting like the FT- devices.



Posted by Steve in Health and wellness, Motivation | Permalink | Tag this post with del.icio.us


Good comparison and good info, thank you. Although I must say I'm so glad to not have to think about snow for another 7-8 months now! whew.

Posted by: Inspiration | Mar 31, 2013 4:57:23 PM

As for me FT60 is more better, so i use only it!

Posted by: good report writing | Dec 23, 2011 2:42:36 AM

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