As part of a concerted effort to get back into some semblance of shape, I recently purchased a Withings Pulse. For those of you unfamiliar with Withings, they create wirelessly connected sensors for health monitoring. A couple of years ago I bought their WiFi-enabled scale and love it. When I weigh myself in the morning, the measurement is sent to their servers and I can analyze the data through a web app or a dedicated iPad app.
The Pulse is a bit different, though. Basically, the Pulse is a pedometer that wirelessly syncs with a companion app on your iPhone (and through that, back to the Withings servers). However, the Pulse can also measure your heart rate and can be put in a nifty wrist band to track your sleep habits. All of this data, plus my weigh-in data, feed into the iPhone app for analysis (they also have a blood pressure cuff, but I don’t have that). Further, the Withings app can take in data from other health services like Runkeeper. I use that for tracking the exercise that I am doing.
While all of this is great, the real power stems from the integrated app and the motivation it is giving me. If I am tired at night and don’t really want to walk, I usually still will because it will increase my step count for the day (plus, Runkeeper complains at me if I go too many days without exercising). Seeing the weight graph moving downwards keeps me motivated to eat right and keep exercising as well. If I weren’t traveling so much, I would do better updating MyFitnessPal, a calorie tracker that integrates with Withings as well. When I keep it updated, I can fairly well determine whether the scale will move up or down the following day.
Now, I could do all of this without the fancy equipment and integration. I would use a traditional scale and keep up with it in a spreadsheet (I did several years ago). I could keep track of exercise, steps, and calories the same way (although calorie tracking would be much more difficult without the database backing this app). But, the ease of use I have with this method is keeping me going for the moment.