It’s A Breath Of Fresh Air… On Your Wrist
When I was really young, I had pretty bad asthma that eventually went away for the most part. However, there is a threshold when I work out where I can feel that I’m not quite catching my breath well enough, and I know that it’s time to take a break. I do my best not to push it to that level, but sometimes I get in the zone and forget that I’m working it too hard until I’m dangerously close to that point.
It never occurred to me, however, that aside from the typical perks that I might actually be able to get a fitness tracker with a pulse oximeter that can be worn on my wrist or waistband. I have seen the ones that have a lanyard and can be worn around your neck, but those are not made for running or exercise by any means. One good swing of it on that long cord and it could take your eye at or, at very least, leave a gnarly bruise.
Know How Well Your Breathing With A Touch Of Your Finger
Another option is available, however. The Withings Pulse O2 Activity, Sleep, and Heart Rate + SPO2 Tracker for iOS and Android actually can keep track of your heart rate and your blood oxygen level. Apparently, you take the device off of its clip or wrist band and place your index finger under the sensor. From there, the screen will tell you your SPO2 (blood oxygen) as well as your heart rate.
The technology in it must be similar to the ones that get worn around the neck, and I’ve never questioned the accuracy of one of those. If I was kicking my own behind on the treadmill and started to feel that tightness that is warning sign number one, I could pull the Pulse O2 off of the wrist band and check my heart rate and SPO2. If there was anything to be concerned about, I would then know to stop, get some water and walk it off.
The oxygen monitor is a huge improvement, and it could also be a big deal for people like my dad. He is not as active as I am, and he has a paralyzed lung. He has to make sure that the lung that he does have is pulling in enough oxygen. He has lost more than 5 of the expensive monitors than have the neck lanyard. He could strap this one to his wrist and be set. Last I checked, he shouldn’t be able to lose his wrist easily.
Touchy Feely Accessories
Aside from that one added feature over other fitness bands, the monitor itself is actually a little more high-tech than a lot of what’s on the market today. It keeps a lot of information on the band itself. While a lot of bands hold the information and then require you to check on the app to see your progress, the Pulse O2 actually lets you access the information via a handy touch screen right on the front.
The touch screen manages to be pretty sensitive when you need it to be, but not so much that it is constantly sensing input. More than that, it’s an easy way to sort through a lot of information without having to take out your phone or go to your computer. It also alerts you with noises and small images when goals are met or missed.
There are also a bunch of really useful accessories that you can get that will talk directly to the Pulse O2. Withings makes a scale and a blood pressure monitor that will interface with the Pulse O2 as well as the online program and smart phone app. There are other things like it available to interface with the tracker, and it adds a whole additional element to what you can accurately track.
Wear It Or Clip It
Pulse O2 does offer a certain amount of flexibility that many others do not. It comes with both a wrist band and a clip to put the actual monitor in. You can decide how you want to wear it before your exercise. If you vary your workout like I do, you won’t always be wearing clothing that is amenable to having something clipped to it. I could switch back and forth based on the activity that I’m doing that day.
Flexible Good or Flexible Bad?
While the flexibility is enticing, it may not be reliable in all situations. Some people question whether the flexibility is there for comfort or because the device is more useful in some places than others. For instance, it seems to do a better job of tracking steps when attached to the clip than the wrist band. On the other hand, it doesn’t track sleep if it’s not on your wrist.
What some people have found is that wrist wear is for more average, everyday use while the clip makes it more useful for exercise. I would probably also want to use the wristband for exercise, so if that’s not exactly the purpose, that could be a major downside.
Say Goodnight To Your Tracker
Another annoyance is that the sleep options are not reliable. Pulse O2 has to be told when you’re going to sleep and as soon as you wake up. That would not work at all for me, and wouldn’t be helpful to tracking my schedule. I fall asleep on the couch with little notice, and wake up after my alarm has gone off for the 4,000th time. I often don’t even remember my name. I’m certainly not going to remember to tell my wrist that I’m awake.
One Feature Might Make It Worth It
The idea of the SPO2 monitor on the Withings Pulse O2 Activity, Sleep, and Heart Rate + SPO2 Tracker for iOS and Android has really got me thinking despite some of the drawbacks that might be irritating. It would be great for me for exercise and great for my dad for day-to-day. It’s really something to think about.
If you’re on the same page that I am, you can pick up the Pulse O2 (and some of the nifty accessories) over here on Amazon .