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I’ve had my activity tracking watch nearly six months now and I’ve been playing around with it a bit to see what it does, how it works and how I can use it.

My first conclusion is that steps are useful but not the be all and end all of exercise. For example, every day I have the choice to walk with the children to school or cycle. Cycling burns more calories than walking, though it doesn’t contribute to my daily step count. And it’s easier and quicker! So generally I cycle – maybe one day a week we’ll walk. Or I’ll walk and the kids will cycle/scoot there. So I’ve decided to stop worrying about how many steps I do every day. What I want to aim for is to have high active calories every day, and not the number of steps. Active calories are the calories you burn by moving and being active, over and above the ones you use for breathing and digesting your food.

Looking at how many calories I’ve burnt on a daily basis since starting using the watch it’s in the range between 300 and 1900. So my target I’ve set for myself is to have at least 750 active calories every day. Of course that’s one thing that you can’t set a target for in the app! And for week days, where I’m going backwards and forwards with the children, this isn’t a problem. At the weekends I have to work harder for it. And I have been doing quite well so far since I set myself the target I’ve missed it only a couple of times, and then not by too much. The watch does have a move reminder – so after an hour of low movement it tells you. And then it repeats it after a second hour. You can clear the bar by moving faster, obviously! And I think that the longer you have been inactive the longer it takes to clear it. On days when I’m struggling to be so active this does help, though I do need to pay more attention to it.

I also intend to do my 150 minutes of intense activity every week. Which is a target that the watch sets and I have achieved most weeks since I got it. Intense activity is anything that gets your heart rate high, and you have to do at least ten minutes in one go for it to count. And then for any vigorous activities (those with higher heart rates) count for twice the number of minutes. Though I haven’t worked out what the heart rate needs to be to count as an intense activity, or as vigorous.

The app every now and again produces an analysis of how I’m doing. This can be how I’m moving that day compared to others, which I find quite interesting. Am I doing better then normal for that day of the week or not? These are called Insights, and can also compare to other users. SO how am I doing compared to other people of my gender in my age bracket. I’ve had these for steps, floors climber and sleep. But not for calories!

One of the best things to come as a result of getting my watch, and starting running, is that we’ve started going out as a family – my husband and I running and the children on their bikes. It’s great to all be able to get out together and be active. And it’s good for the children to see us being active and enjoying it. And we get to do something all together as a family. So if nothing else I am very pleased with my watch!