With so many activity trackers hitting the shelves these days it can be difficult to find the one that suits you best. So we’ve teamed up with the guys at polar to test out their brand new polar global A360. To test out our new piece of arm candy I took to the streets of Cambridge to run the Saucony ½ Marathon.
To start with the watch is very straight forward and easy to set up; simply charge it up, download the Polar Flow app, connect the two and input your personal details so the watch can begin tracking your activity levels.
Like all watches these days it comes with an alarm feature which wakes you up with a gentle vibration and comes with a 10minute snooze button. The watch kicks into action as soon your up and begins recording data from the get go. With its 30m water resistance and comfortable wrist straps you’ll struggle to find a reason to take it off.
With a variety of exercises to choose from the polar watch helps you track all forms of activity and is very easy to set up. In this instance I simply selected the ‘road running’ option, waited for it to pick up my heart rate and started the race.
As you can see from the photo below the polar watch records an array of vital information. From your average heart rate to calories burnt, the polar’s got your back. A great feature on the watch is its ability to tell you what training zone your calories were burnt in, as shown below 6% of my calories were burnt in the ‘fat burning zone’. This is a great tool to help you calculate which form of exercise you benefit from most based on your fitness goals.
It helped me identify that running is a great calorie burner, however due to my heart rate being so high I utilise immediate energy stores (glycogen/carbs) instead of my body’s fat stores. However, when I used my polar watch during a strength based resistance session my average HR was 91bpm and my calorie burn was a mere 198, but I spent 68% of that session in the fat burning zone; meaning that a mixture of steady state cardio and resistance training is the most efficient way for me to reduce body fat percentage and prevent a weight gain.
Considering the HR measurement is taken from the wrist and not a chest strap is is very accurate. I ran the first few miles with my sister at a slower pace (9min miles). You can see from the graph below that my HR was between 158 and 177bpm. I ran the rest of the race at my own pace (8min miles) where my HR was between 177 and 202bpm. You can also see the drop in my HR when I had a loo break around 5.5miles in.
These final screenshots display a recap of your whole day; calories burnt, distance (based upon an average steps covered) & time spent being active. All are useful features on an activity watch as it provides the user with a far more reliable calorie expenditure figure across training & rest days, allowing them to apply that data to accurately calculate their daily calorie requirements and helping them achieve their fitness goals.
The “inactivity stamp” is a fantastic addition to the watch as it sends a little notification through via a vibration on the watch and prompts you to get moving as the watch deems you’ve spent far too long ‘inactive’. You are able to ignore these notifications, however, doing so will result in an inactivity stamp. Think of it as a mini drill sergeant on your wrist helping to keep you active and energised. Lastly to make this watch stand out even more you’re able to sync it with your favourite fitness apps (MyFitnessPal & Apple Health Apps) meaning it’s even easier to stay on track and smash your fitness goals.
The polar watch has around a 7-day battery life, taking just 45-60 minutes to fully charge, meaning you’re able to track an entire week’s activity before giving it its own energy boost. Sadly, as with anything it does come with a few downfalls. The first being that it doesn’t track your HR outside of exercising meaning that resting HR isn’t calculated throughout the day. However, you are able to view your heart rate upon request, but it doesn’t record this data unless you’ve specifically selected an exercise option. Lastly because it isn’t fitted with GPS it doesn’t give you a measurement of the distance covered during exercise. This isn’t a huge problem when you’re running a set distance but it’s always nice to know how far you’ve run/cycled in races as dodging fellow athletes and not being able to take the most direct route often means you travel further than the distance measured.
All in all, I really enjoyed wearing the polar A360; its small, comfortable and elegant, and a great way to track my activity levels without having to wear a bulky chest strap.To find out more about this fitness tracker or to buy one for yourself click here! If GPS is a must then check out their Polar M400.