A Fitbit Off Topic…

Well this post is a bit off topic from the www.mkvinyl2cd.co.uk usual but here goes…

The reason for this Blog is as a visually impaired person I love walking with my Guide Dog www.guidedogs.org.uk and using the gym www.ledleisure.co.uk/our-centre/exmouth-leisure-centre and like many of us I am interested enough in my Well being to want to find out my exercise statistics in the form of calories burned, heart rate & distance, all when the action is going on, might seem a bit sad to some but there are thousands of us out there doing it!

Nowadays many pieces of equipment in the gym already feedback our exercise statistics via visual display monitors attached to the various types of exercise equipment such as Treadmill, Cross Trainer, Exercise Bikes and rowing Machines to mention just a few. You can now in many gyms link up to your mobile phone via an app and bluetooth to monitor your fitness levels.

The VDUs (Visual display Units) in the gym are for me a big NO! as I can only see light and dark and some shapes even if they had really large writing I cannot access them so here is my solution, my own portable exercise tracking system which I can use when out walking or at the gym, let me explain.

The hardware I use is not specialist to the visually impaired and in fact many thousands of people have them already, the important thing to any visually impaired person is how can they access them independantly, I use the Fitbit Versa www.fitbit.com/uk/versa which is a fitness tracker wrist watch managed by the app on my iPhone www.apple.com/iphone and the phone has a fantastic accessibility function called Voice Over which does a brilliant job in reading the text on the mobile phone screen (most of the time), with a good selection of listenable voices.

I also use an app called ICardio which is developed by www.fitdigits.com and the reason I chose this app was firstly the iPhone voice Over works very well with it and secondly it offers in the iCardio app a voice feedback setting during your exercise workout so you can audibly hear the exercise statistics during the session. Coupled with the iCardio app is the need for some kind of tracking ability so I use a very small Heart Rate Monitor which can be worn on the upper arm which I now find so much better and more comfortable than the chest Strap tracker I previously used.

The Heart Rate Tracker I went for was the Polar OHR 1, from www.polar.com/uk-en/products this is a really neat Optical Heart Rate tracker which connects to the iPhone using bluetooth low energy. It is waterproof and is easily rechargeable and if you want you can have it store dozens of workout statistics seperate to the iPone but of course to download the data from the tracker you will need to sync it with the Polar Flow app which I currently do not use.

My final piece of tech for the gym is my Anker soundsurge bluetooth wireless ear buds www.anker.com/store/soundbuds-surge/A3236011 which means no wires to snag and tangle leaving me to concentrate on my exercise and I get audible feedback while training via the I Cardio app which announces my exercise statistics via the ear buds and also the all important motivational music to keep the exercise rhythm going on a pace or two!

If I am out and about with my guide Dog I will use my After Shokz blues bone conduction headphones www.aftershokz.com these are fantastic as they allow me to hear what is going on around me and through the bone conduction ear pads can have my music as well which is a huge safety factor when you need to be aware of sound around you for safer mobility due to not being able to visually see too much.

I guess the great thing for me is I have all of my favourite songs transferred from analogue to digital by myself over the years running my small business www.mkvinyl2cd.co.uk which was established in 2003 and muchof the music is not available in any download or has never been released on CD.

In summary my gym Tech list is:

  1. Fitbit Versa wrist worn tracker, this has no accessible features on the watch for me being visually impaired but its statistics can be monitored via the Fitbit app.
  2. The all important iPhone with voice Over accessibility enabled so the phone gives total voice feedback.
  3. The Fitdigits iCardio app which monitors my gym work and gives audible feedback.
  4. The Sound Surge wireless ear buds so I can hear the voice feedback from iCardio and of course my music.
  5. The Polar OH 1 heart Rate tracker band to pick up my heart rate and use bluetooth to relay it to the iCardio app.
  6. If anyone has any questions about my Gym Tech system please feel free to email me at: gary@mkvinyl2cd.co.uk

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