High-Tech for Motivation


This is a contribution of a client who walks moderately and consistently after  a 3Week-Starter-Program. The new High-Tech Software he uses is great for motivation. If you are using an iPhone check out ENDOMUNDO. Here is what the software can do for you:

High-Tech Hiking with Android

“My Tracks”



    Do you need a way to stay motivated for your daily health walk?   We all do and I found a great (free) tool that worked wonders to keep me walking regularly.  Here’s my story:  I bought a new smartphone called a Galaxy S Vibrant.  This is really a little computer that also makes calls and has a built-in GPS unit.  It runs operating software called “Android” and there’s lots of free software easily downloaded from “Android Market”.   Here’s the entry in Android Market for “My Tracks”:
android market screenshot of My Tracks

Once it’s installed in an Android-based smartphone, turn on your GPS, start the app and the rest is simple.  Just start walking.   The My Tracks app will connect to the built-in GPS and start logging your hike.  Press the “Setup” button (bottom-left on keypad) then “Record Track” button.  It will show a continuous display of stats for the hike like this:

Single hike statistics screen

My Tracks has a couple of other screens available by swiping horizontally.  First, a moving-map of every spot on the hike, regardless of the winding path.  If you hike in circles or loop into cul-de-sacs, My Tracks stores the total distance travelled, giving you “credit” for every step.  In this sense, it’s a hyper-accurate pedometer.  Here are some shots of neighborhood streets and the hiking route I took through them in blue.   Notice how I go off-street sometimes or go in circles playing fetch with dogs.

My Tracks map path
If the route was in a hilly area, there’s a chart showing elevation gains and speed along the route.  The green line is elevation and the orange line is speed.  Notice how I stop regularly to pant while my heartbeat races above 180  😉

Elevation variation chart

It stores ALL the days you hiked, with a dated entry and map of the route taken for each one.  There’s a cumulative statistics page showing total distance across all hikes:

Cumulative statistics, hiking totals  Totals of all hikes taken

Yes, I really do hike at speeds maxing topping 246 miles per hour; I’m incredibly fit.  Or perhaps that’s just a glitch in one GPS waypoint.  You decide.  Another feature of this software is to connect to a heartbeat monitor.  I haven’t purchased a heart monitor yet, but they’re $100 and connect to the smartphone through Bluetooth.  The heart rate gets recorded and charted next to speed and altitude.  It’s on my birthday gift list.

Summary:

My Tracks is a help in maintaining motivation to hike or walk or bike regularly.  It makes the logging of distance and time effortless, assuming you have an Android phone with a GPS.  The app is free from the Android Marketplace.  Search under “My Tracks”.

Here’s a link to the Zephyr Heart Rate Monitor:  http://runningdigital.com/2010/06/01/zephyrs-hxm-bluetooth-heart-rate-monitor-review/

Here’s a link to My Tracks website:  http://mytracks.appspot.com/


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