According to the American Heart Association, a general recommendation for cardiovascular health is a combination of muscle building exercises for 2 times per week plus either: intermediate aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes - 5 times per week or strenuous aerobic activity for at least 25 minutes - 3 times per week.
However, with busy schedules and the alluring appeal of a sedentary lifestyle (i.e., a marathon of “The Walking Dead” and a comfortable couch), how can one meet or surpass these aforementioned exercise requirements to maintain one’s health?
A possible answer arises from PEAR Sports’ via their Mobile Training Intelligence System ($99.95) consisting of a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, portable nylon carrying case, Earlock earpieces, and PEAR Stride earphones with microphone.
The Bluetooth heart rate monitor (powered by a button cell lithium battery) attaches to a strap that is worn just below the pectoral region. While held snugly against the chest, the apparatus is barely noticeable due to such weight saving techniques, as building conductive pads into the band.
Of note, the Earlock earpieces (three sizes are included with purchase) were reportedly created for Special Forces and each fits inside the ear’s concha while expertly funneling sound into the ear canal. These earphones are infinitely better than Apple’s stock earbuds in sound quality and provide a secure fit without discomfort.
Setup was exceptionally easy and primarily consisted of creating an account (i.e., with a username and password) that acts as a login for their app and website. The app guides one through easily pairing the Bluetooth heart rate monitor via pressing a button labeled “Search for Sensor.” Also, during the introductory tutorial, the app asks the user for permission to utilize the smart phone’s GPS for accurate recording of one’s distance and speed.
Much like the provided equipment, the app and website are clad with the sleek colors of light blue, grey, and black. Both of these interfaces allow for a fast and easy log of one’s number of workouts, miles traversed, time expended, calories burned, and heart rate. Additionally, the previously described data can be summed for various intervals (e.g., past year, three months, one month, one week, etc.).
PEAR Sports’ Mobile Training Intelligence System truly differentiates itself from other products with its workout customization. PEAR’s online store has hundreds of exercise options that can be sorted by workouts, training plans, activity, goals, and coaches.
Workouts or training plans ranged from free to $49.99 with price seemingly based on the complexity and/or amount of the training involved (e.g., a 12-week, advanced half-marathon was more expensive than a single, injury prevention workout). Yet, the majority of options were either free or $0.99/$1.99.
Throughout one’s exercise, each workout’s coach provides direction (“two minutes left in the warm-up”), helpful tidbits (people, who weigh themselves daily, are less likely to gain back lost weight), and encouragement (“last mile, push it!”). Moreover, all the previously mentioned coaching can be provided while one simultaneously listens to music stored on his/her phone.
While all of the coaches are virtual (much like Apple’s personal assistant, Siri) their personalities and humanity clearly shine through during the workouts. Moreover, PEAR also includes a "free format" session without a coach, if one desires to only record the stats from a workout.
Ingeniously, the Mobile Training Intelligence System works perfectly together to provide accountability, instruction, feedback, and motivation to exercise. PEAR has a winning combination of affordability and behavioral change to greatly improve the health outcome of all.
Rating: 5 out of 5
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