The SUUNTO SPARTAN SPORT WRIST HR BLUE

I have logged 799 activities with my Suunto devices. This includes hikes, via ferrata, climbing, swimming and scuba diving. I like Suunto devices because their battery life is good enough to last through entire days of hiking and the battery lasts for weeks between charges when used as a simple watch.

Spartan HR

I like to track my heart rate but I often feel self conscious about putting the heart rate monitor belt on. With the latest Spartan watch I no longer need to worry about the belt. At the same time as I start the activity I will be able to keep track of the heart rate. This is especially good for group activities when you do not want to keep people waiting and in winter when you’re wearing layers of clothing.

I like that devices like the Fitbit Charge 2 can be worn at almost all times and track heart rate effortlessly when at the climbing gym and during other activities. I look forward to the same simplicity with a Suunto device. I especially like that Suunto devices survive swims and showers.

I like that the Suunto Ambit 3 tracks how many steps I take during the day. It’s a shame that the step count is not logged and visible on Movescount. I like to see how energetic or lazy I have been on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It’s not unusual for me to go from a 21,000 step day to a 6000 step day. It depends on weather, work and other factors. If you go for a bike ride your step count will not be high.

I will wait to see whether they apply this technology to the Suunto Ambit watch collection. If they come out with the Suunto Ambit 4 Wrist HR then I will be tempted to upgrade. With 799 tracked activities I believe Suunto devices have demonstrated that they are reliable.

The High Tech World is not making us weak and weird.

The High Tech world is not making us weak and weird. I believe that the opposite is true. According to Patrick Mustain in his article “Welcome to the Devolution: The High-Tech World Is Making Us Weak and Weird” for The Daily Beast he worries that modern technology and conveniences have taken the physical aspects out of our daily routine. We don’t need to clean clothes by beating them against a rock and we no longer need to clean dishes manually. We take the car from point A to point B and we take a lift to go up a floor or two.

“We find ourselves interacting with chairs and doors and walkways, and as a result, we get used to bending only forwards. Almost never backwards, never to the side, we don’t really rotate our hips very much.

This premise is false. This article ignores that there are a growing amount of climbing and bouldering gyms. This article ignores that there are an increasing number of via ferratas being built and that crossfit gyms are common. “But our evolutionary drive for acquiring cheap energy also makes us loath to unnecessarily spend it.” is a fallacy. Look at Strava, Sports Tracker, Movescount, Runkeeper, fitbit, Withings and other products. Each one of these not only tracks the effort that people are making on a weekly basis but congregates that data so that people can compare their workout to that of others. This implies that technology is encouraging people to move, to compete with friends, family or other sports enthusiasts.

strava stats 2016
Strava stats so far for this year

There is some humour in the article. “I think any change in the direction of just moving more is better. You don’t have to take off your shirt and go climb a tree to get value.” It is not simply about moving more but about moving more energetically, more enthusiastically. If you’re walking down the street increase your stride length just a little and you will increase your heart rate and energy expenditure. When I walk up to the base of the Val De Tière via ferrata and when I walk up to the base of the Tour D’Aï via ferrata I am usually the first one, leading the way. I love endurance training so I forget about the group and I enjoy the hike. Once I am at the base I relax, I look at the landscape and I take photographs.

As a camera operator/photographer I need to be at least as fit as everyone else and if possible I need to have more energy. By having more energy I can go ahead of the group and document their effort as they make their way up or down a mountain.

Since I owned the Nokia N95 8GB model I have tracked more than a thousand sports activities. I have tracked skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, cycling, climbing, via ferrata, indoor training, sailing and swimming. It is thanks to the high tech world that I can track my progress and assess how well I am doing. It allows me to set goals and exceed them and it allows me to evaluate when to take breaks and when to continue pushing forwards.

I love technology but I still walked up five floors to get to my office. I almost never sit in public transport and I usually take the stairs or walk up escalators rather than stand around. Movement is an integral part of my daily routine so I do not accept the premise that high tech world makes us weak and weird.

 

Amersports and Sports tracker

Today Amer Sports announced that it has bought Sports tracker. Sports Tracker is an application that I have been using since I had the Nokia N95 8GB. I used it on symbian, iOS and Android devices over the years. What I love about this app is the way it displays information about the work out. It gives you several screens while you are exercising with the option to select which information you want to see most.

Once you arrive home and synchronise the workout with the web interface you can see the information displayed above. You can choose whether there is a topographic map, a normal map or satellite imagery. It is simple and intuitive to read.

Suunto make devices that I like using. I have used the Suunto D9 diving computer, the Suunto D4i diving computer, the Suunto Ambit 2 and the Suunto Ambit3. Suunto dive computers are small diving computers that you can wear in day to day life. When you are passionate about diving this is nice.

The Suunto Ambit family are more interesting for people who do land based sports. I used the Suunto Ambit 2 and 3 when doing via ferrata, hiking, cycling and other sports. The advantage of these fitness watches is that they have long battery life. This means that you can be active for two or three days before worrying about the battery dying. In this respect they are far better than mobile phones for fitness activity tracking.

Suunto products and Sports tracker do not communicate natively. Suunto products synchronise with movescount. From movescount you need to export the GPX workout files and import them to Sports tracker. I would like to see Suunto devices communicate directly with Sports tracker. In my eyes the best option would have been for Sports tracker to buy movescount and for them to take over the web interface for Suunto. They both provide interesting web interfaces and combining the two would have been mutually beneficial.

Time will show whether Amer Sports with links to sports tracker, precor and Suunto will come out with an interesting amalgamation of the three products/services. I look forward to finding out.