ACTIVITY MONITORS FOR SWIMMING
I must confess that getting a complete picture of what the market offers and what I need takes more time than I thought ( Are you sure you need an activity tracker for swimming? ). However, thanks to your help my ideas have become clearer and I have a list of five questions to choose from with reason with Lifeguard Training.
DESIGN OR FUNCTIONALITY?
Some activity monitors prioritize design, such as The Dash submersible Bluetooth headphones from Bragi, which can even be used to listen to music. The Withings Activité watch has a beautiful retro design (starting with the hands), unusual for a “smart” device. Then there is the minimalist design of the Misfit Shine (I’ve been wearing it for a month), a watch that allows you to record activity data underwater for Lifeguard Training.
However, it is often the case that elegant design requires compromise and if you are looking for maximum accuracy, especially for swimming, you will have to compromise on aesthetics.
OPEN WATER OR SWIMMING POOL?
How are activity monitors for open water and swimming pools different? GPS is very important in open water swimming because it allows you to follow the entire route. On the other hand, it cannot be used in swimming pools, because the signal does not reach the interior of the buildings.
There are very good devices equipped with GPS that can also be used in everyday life, but unfortunately, they are quite expensive. Take for example the 3 HR, Suunto Ambit3 Run, or the Polar V800, the top of the range in its category and favorite of many triathletes. If you’re willing to compromise, the TomTom Multi-Sport GPS Watch is very practical and much more competitively priced. These models also work in the pool, but why spend so much money and then not use even a third of the features?
AS A TEAM OR SOLO?
This one is easy. There is a very specific technology that is only useful when you are part of a team with a coach. The rest of the devices are “self-service”.
Triton technology is designed to help coaches work more efficiently by monitoring the activity of multiple swimmers at once. Avida Sports Swim Faster works the same way, but it also allows the coach to communicate in real-time with his pupils.
In Great Britain, there are swimming pools that offer SwimTag, a bracelet with an electronic device attached to it that you receive when you enter the water and give it back when you leave. Thus the user can access all his data on the Internet and even take part in online competitions for Lifeguard Training.
FOR A HOBBY OR TO COMPETE?
Experienced swimmers have taught me that heart rate is the key data. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing that it speeds up, it depends on the type of training you’re doing. To explain it briefly, when you reach a certain level, knowing your heart rate is essential to improve. You can usually read it in green LEDs or infrared lights, calculated based on blood flow in the skin.
Using this technology in the water presents some problems, the same in the pool as in the sea. As a solution, Swimovate uses “conventional” technology, with a chest strap and a smartwatch. However, here too, being in the water creates problems, because the device has to fit well and can be uncomfortable.
Another option is Instabeat, a futuristic invention that goes in swimming goggles. And measures the pulse at the temple and records the heart rate. And displays the data in the form of bright LEDs.
Although it is designed for professionals, Xmetrics dispenses with the heart rate. And instead offers a wide battery of data, including even the quality of the breathing technique. Thanks to a device that is worn on the occipital area.
REAL-TIME OR WITH DATA LOGGING (ie smartwatch or fitness tracker)?
Activity trackers, on the other hand, work according to a different principle that consists of recording. The parameters of physical activity so that you can later review them in detail using applications. The most popular ones are Jaybird Reign, Amiigo, and Moov. Which includes even motivation and personal trainer functions, and Atlas Smartband. Although the installation of swimming-specific parameters is still announced as “coming soon”.
If after studying all this information you still have doubts about the activity monitor. But you are also curious about why they are so popular. Perhaps you have no choice but to try them personally.
My advice, in that case, is to buy a used or cheap one (you can even borrow one!). Use it regularly for at least a month with Lifeguard Training, and then decide if you are getting any real benefit from it. It may broaden your horizons as an athlete and become a pleasant company and extra motivation. You consider it a perfectly expendable piece of junk. In any case, you have to try it to decide.