Disclaimer: I was provided with a Polar Loop and H7 heart rate monitor by Polar Canada to review at no cost to me. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been oogling Polar for a long time. After my tendonitis injury last year in the summer, I licked my wounds with some retail therapy, purchasing a Polar F4, thinking I’d be back to full strength in no time and wanting something to track my non-running activities and to start heart rate training to help me take my running to the next level.
Unfortunately for me, full strength simply did not happen. When I found out I was pregnant in January, I was at about 65% most of the time. Popliteal tendonitis is no joke people! I slowly got myself moving in as much of a capacity as I could given my rapidly expanding belly but I was nervous about wearing a heart rate monitor and psyching myself out over whether I was pushing too hard and the elusive (and now defunct) 140BPM theory in pregnancy.
When Polar reached out to see if I was interested in reviewing the Polar Loop, it took very little time for me to say yes. I’d seen it on social media, read reviews and thought it looked like a pretty nifty device that would really suit where I was at, at the time (about 37 weeks pregnant). The more I read and used it, the more I came to really appreciate what it could do for me, not only as an athlete training for an event but also as a mom who was surviving on broken sleep, lots of coffee and trying to move as much as I could with a big scar across my lower abdomen, multiple sets of stitches and a lot of discomfort.
In short, it was a device that met me exactly where I was at and was willing to follow me through to where I was (and am) heading in my athletic pursuits.
About the Polar Loop:
- Gives you 24/7 activity tracking. Tracks your movements while awake and your sleep at night.
- Syncs to the (Free!) Polar Flow app (available for both iOS and Android provided your device has blue tooth) to give you a summary of your activity, how close to your daily goal you are (the aim is 10,000 steps per day) and different activities you can do to reach your goal. The Activity Guide shows how active you’ve been during the day (the 5 intensity levels are: resting, sitting, low, medium, high) . It also tells you how much you need to do to reach the global recommendations for physical activity. With practical guidance like ‘walk for 50 minutes or jog for 20 minutes’ you can choose how to reach your daily activity goal. Meet your goal faster with more intense activities or stay active at a slightly more moderate pace throughout the day.
- Provides you with an alert if you’ve been inactive for too long.
- LED display (bright and easy to read) and 3 sweet colours to choose from (smokey black, blackcurrant and misty blue). I have the blackcurrant. It’s gorgeous!
- Memory capacity for up to 12 days.
- Low battery indicator that warns you when you have about 10% power left.
- Can be worn while swimming and will measure your activity in the pool (minus heart rate).
- Compatible with the H6 and H7 heart rate monitor (both sold separately) for those wanting to use the Loop with the Polar Beat for heart rate training.
- Very lightweight and stylish. It’s not a device that you’d look at and automatically know it’s a fitness tool. It’s very sleek and can pass as a piece of jewellery very effortlessly.
- Very quick charge time. You get a notification when the battery is down to 10%. I found that it was charged back up and ready to go in under an hour. If you’re serious about tracking your day, you don’t want to be waiting for hours every time the battery gets low. Major plus.
- Easy to use and easy to set up. It took next to no time for me to download the app, get my profile set up and start tracking.
- Effortless tracking. I really love that I just have to put the Loop on, and it does the rest. It tracks my sleep without my having to do anything and it knows when I’m sitting, standing, walking or running (or in the case of postpartum recovery, not running…or walking). It’s a very smart and intuitive device.
- Versatility. It’s great for all levels of training and functions to help you reach the simplest of goals such as moving more to more aggressive goals when paired with a heart rate monitor and the (also Free!) Polar Beat app.
- Syncing to the Polar Flow app (at least on Android) can be slow. Other times it’s very quick. I’d like to see more consistency (preferably in the quick category) in uploading. The data, however, is always accurate and uploading to the computer is always very quick.
- When you first get your Loop, you need to cut the band to the right size to ensure a good fit. This made me so nervous because I didn’t want to cut it too short that I wouldn’t be able to wear it. Thankfully, I did a good job but to cut it incorrectly means ruining the band. Measure twice, cut once, pray often.
- A couple of times, it didn’t track my steps. I was curious to see how many steps I took while trying to console a crabby baby one night. I could be wrong, but I’m sure 20 minutes of continuously walking loops through my house amounted to more than 2 steps. It may have been the way I was holding/bouncing her that it wasn’t able to pick up the movement and thought I was standing still. Any other time, it was very accurate in picking up my steps.
I love this band. Love, love, love it. I love the look of it, the overall function and ease of use. As a mom of a newborn, I haven’t been able to move a ton or run with it yet but I absolutely LOVE the sleep tracking feature. Is it 100% accurate? No, but then I don’t think it’s meant to be. It DOES give me an accurate reading of when I’m up, for how long and how much sleep I’m getting. I know when the Little Lady is up and I can gauge how well she is sleeping too based on that. I have no doubt that once I’m back to running and swimming it will be an integral part of my fitness tracking.
I also love seeing exactly where and when my body is moving the most. I was surprised at how much I move through my house in any given day chasing the boys, doing laundry, going up and down the stairs countless times. When you consider that it didn’t track all the walking I did while calming the baby, that’s a lot of steps. No wonder the pregnancy weight is coming off!
I’m also impressed with the accuracy of intensity. When tracking my day in terms of how much time I’m sitting, standing, moving, the Loop was nearly spot on in distinguishing my various intensity levels (even when near running to get my 4 year old to his swimming lesson on time: hello 2 minutes of high intensity walking from the van to the pool!).
I think this would be a great addition to anyone’s fitness gear. I’m excited to see the Loop in action when paired with the H7 heart rate monitor. As I move forward and get back into half marathon shape through 2015 and marathon/triathlon shape in early 2016, I really want to train smart and move my focus off of harder, faster, longer and more into watching my heart rate and training more effectively now, knowing it will pay off down the line.
Stay tuned to the blog tomorrow because I will be GIVING AWAY a Polar Loop to one lucky reader! Pay the awesomeness forward people!
UPDATE: Here is the link to the giveaway post. Go enter for your chance to win!!!