We all know that, in order to improve our overall heath, we must exercise. While activities like running, weight lifting or playing a sport are all great ways to work out, everyday things like walking or taking your bike to work, opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator and taking an evening stroll on a crisp fall night are all little ways we can stay active.
Of course, those looking to live a healthier life are always keeping an eye out for new activity trackers to keep them on target. While I consider myself an active person, I was surprised to find just how inactive I can be throughout the day.
That's where the Polar Loop 2 comes in.
Sure there are wearables on the market that track your every step and count every calorie you consume, but the whole point of purchasing one of these devices is so they may serve as a motivator so that you keep on moving. The Polar Loop 2 does exactly that.
For those like me who work at an office job where you mostly sit throughout the day, the Loop 2 sends the user a reminder — by gently vibrating — to get up, stretch and find ways to stay active — even if that just means taking a walk around the office.
While there are pros and cons to each wearable on the market, I found this to be the best feature. However, of course that's not the only thing it does. Here's a look at all the Polar Loop 2 has to offer.
The Loop 2 tracks your daily activity, including the steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and amount and quality of sleep. By touching the button located to the right of the LED display, the user can see the time and how active they have been throughout the day. Activity is broken up into five intensity levels in the app: resting, sitting, low, medium and high so the user can have a clearer picture of what areas they need to work on, whether it's not sitting as much or making sure to get their high-intensity cardio in for the day.
Users with iOS can also receive smart notifications via icons on the display when they are getting an incoming call, message or a calendar reminder. The device syncs via Bluetooth to the Polar Flow app, where they can analyze their daily activity, as well as get suggestions on how to improve.
Out of the companion apps that I have used with other activity trackers, I liked the amount of feedback this app provides. The user can see if they reached their goal and how many inactivity alerts they received, as well as the typical activity stats so the user can watch their progress. This is all displayed in a clock format with icons at the bottom of the screen by day, but users can also view their weekly and monthly activity and progress via charts.
When paired with Polar's H7 heart rate monitor, the user can also access a training diary to track specific workouts, heartbeats per minute while exercising and heart rate zones. I didn't use this aspect of the app, but this feature is great for runners looking to find a pace where they are burning the maximum calories.
Along with the app, once you connect the Loop 2 to your computer, the desktop app automatically opens to give the user another way to analyze their data. The data is displayed as a calendar and provides the same features as the app, such as activity data, the percentage of the goal reached (users can set their daily goal when setting up the device on their desktop) and ideas like how long they will have to walk or circuit train to meet their goal for that day.
It provides an in-depth look at your data, but you have to wear the device for 21 consecutive days in order to pull up the results. The user gets an overall activity score and a summary of the data and can add in training sessions and targets. I liked this feature since it can come in handy when training for a half-marathon to schedule your runs.
There is also the option of viewing activity in the user's feed just like in the app, where users can connect with others and like and comment on that particular day's results.
When wearing an activity tracker, I enjoy being able to see how far away I am from making my goal, finding myself looking down on my wrist often to make sure I'm on track. Seeing that I go over 100 percent on some days is a great form of positive reinforcement to stay on track of my fitness goals. I do miss other, more sophisticated features other trackers I have used have, such as the ability to see my pace and distance. However, keep in mind this is not a device targeted just at runners, and it does get the job done if you just are looking to track your everyday activity. On the plus side, I like that the Loop 2 tells me how many minutes in jogging or walking time I have left to complete my goal, which I find pushes me to finish another mile or jog back home instead of walking.
Polar made some tweaks to the Loop 2 to make it more comfortable. It's made from a soft, silicone material, and after wearing it daily, I forget I even have it on. The wearable is customizable to fit any size wrist, but the user has to manually cut through the band and reattach the metal clasp, which I find to be an inconvenience. However, at least I know the device will stay comfortable in place, whereas other wearables I have tried in the past tend to be a bit loose on my size wrist.
The device is very similar in design to the now defunct Nike + Fuelband. It has an 85 LED display screen on the outside of the band to display the time, activity and notifications.
The Loop 2 is waterproof, allowing me to even take it for a swim without worry, and it has a battery life of eight days before it needs recharging without the smart notification feature turned on and three days with it on. This is one of my favorite aspects of the device. I only had to charge it three times wearing it over the course of a month, and the LED would warn me that the battery was running low, so it never died while I was wearing it.
The activity tracker comes in pink and white, and Polar just released a Black TPU color option in September.
The Polar Loop 2 retails for $119.95 without the heart rate sensor, and for $199.90 with the heart rate sensor. That makes it an affordable option for someone looking to invest a little bit of money with plans to really take the time out to improve their health. In comparison, the Fitbit Charge HR (with built-in heart rate monitor) retails for $149.95, and the Garmin Vivosmart costs $149.99, so the Polar Loop 2 is a safe bet for someone looking for comfortable, everyday use.