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Open Access To Exercise Data?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the lub-dub dept.

Power 188

identity0 writes "A recent Slashdot discussion about heart-rate monitors in schools got me thinking about getting one for my own exercise. It turns out that the available models have a wide range of features: calorie rate, pedometers, GPS, PC connectivity, etc. Being a geek, I want one that will let me look at my exercise data, and I'm curious what experiences Slashdotters have had with them. Some download data to a proprietary application — are open source alternatives available or is the data format easily readable? Others upload data to an online app — can the data be pulled off the site or is it forever trapped on their servers? While I'm not an open source zealot or a paranoid about my data being shared, I would like to know that I can access my data in the future. Whatever method you guys use to monitor your exercise, I'd love to hear about it."

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as if (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642043)

you exercise, you fat bastard.
it's gonna collect dust just like your tiny penis does.

HOW TO BE A WORTHLESS, VILE, AMERICAN YARD-APE!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642845)

Slink around, shuffling your feet and bobbing your neck like the lazy retard you are.

Walk down the middle of the street because you don't know what a sidewalk is for.

Hang out at carwashes and mini-marts because everybody knows these are the best places to be a dope, I mean dope.

If you're a nigger bitch, shit three nigger babies into the world before 17 years of age. This assures that welfare money will support you, so your nigger men have more time to commit crimes.

And give REAL honest black people a bad name.

Oh yes, make sure each nigger baby has a different father.

Bastardize the English language in the name of nigger culture.

Make sure that several terms have multiple meanings and others have ambiguous meanings and that only 50% of nigger words are even complete words. Real niggers will know what you're trying to say.

As a culture, make sure there are always more blacks in prison than in college at any given time.

Hang out in packs of 10 to 15 and make sure everyone acts as annoying as possible. This helps to promote nigger individuality.

Always talk loud enough so everyone in the 'hood can fucking hear you, and if they are niggers, they will know what your saying, bro.

Wear clothes that are 10 sizes too big, making sure the pants hang off your ass.

Park at least 5 junk cars in your yard while being careful not to use the driveway. It's OK to abandon them in the street as long as it's in front of someone else's crib.

Exaggerate every motion, every tonal inflection and grab your dick a lot.

Do drugs, sell drugs, make drugs. Okay, don't REALLY do this, but it IS what niggers do.

Turn your backyard into a junk yard. If you don't have a backyard, turn your mother's into a junk yard.

Travel around leaching off relatives, friends, salvation armies.

Drink cheap wine and malt liquor every day, forgetting that "malt liquor" is just fortified cheap beer.

If you're a nigger buck: fuck anything that moves, no matter how ugly she is. After two 40oz, even the ugliest, fattest nigger bitch will look good.

Be charitable and covet fat, ugly white chicks. After all, they're niggers too. They can't help being so undesirable to white men that they have to fraternize with black dudes on a 20/20 trip. And white ho's are a special trophy too, especially the not so ugly ones.

Spray paint everything in sight with scribbles that mean nothing to white people but mean things to fellow niggers (except niggers from another hood who will probably go after you for tresspassing on their turf).

Use the term "motherfucker" in every sentence. It's one of the most versatile words in the nigger language, being a noun, verb, adjective and complete mini-sentence in event you run out of thoughts.

Stop in the middle of the street, blocking all traffic to converse with fellow niggers and have complete disregard for everyone else.

Overcharge customers at Taco Bell and pocket the difference.

Drive your car while slouched so low that you can barely see over the wheel (gangsta drivin').

Get a job under affirmative action. Then sit around all day pretending that you earned the position and that the other co-workers respect you. Whenever you fuck up, scream "racism!" & hope you get enough Generation X liberals in the jury.

Never, I mean NEVER, take any responsibility for your actions. Always blame others including Asians, Latinos, Mexicans, and especially Whites for your sorry ass stupid lives.

Be sure to get a dog, tie it up in the cold and mud and neglect it until it dies. Then start all over again. Cash must be used because you long ago fucked up your credit and checking account.

Cram 5 generations into a two room government apartment and still be able to neglect your kids.

Then you too can be a true nigger, and anyone who finds any fault with anything you do is automatically a racist. They don't dislike what you do and wish you would do something better with your life, nor do they wish you would realize that other people exist and should be treated with respect. No, they're just racists who hate you because of the color of your skin, and everything bad in your life is their fault. You nigger.

PolarViewer (5, Informative)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642079)

PolarViewer [saring.de] only works with certain monitors, but is under the GPL.

Linux.com had an article [linux.com] in 07 on the subject as well.

Re:PolarViewer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642223)

I just measure things and stick them in a mysql database: weight, calories burned, distance rode, penis length, minutes of exercise, etc.

Re:PolarViewer (2, Funny)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643603)

I just measure things and stick them in a mysql database: weight, calories burned, distance rode, penis length, minutes of exercise, etc.

I'm guessing you're using a tinyint datatype for that column

Bodybugg (4, Informative)

Fanro (130986) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642539)

Bodybugg does not measure heart rate but a few other exercise-related data
(acceleration, heat flux, galvanic skin response, skin temperature)
http://www.bodybugg.com/science_behind_bodybugg.php [bodybugg.com]

The data has been hacked by some guy:
http://bodybugghacks.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
it still requires some work to use it thought

Re:Bodybugg (1)

foxxlf25 (672758) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643157)

BodyMedia makes the hardware for the bodybugg as well as the GoWear fit. I believe in the GoWear fit program you can export data to excel. Though I think the detail level of the export may not be exactly what you are looking for. GoWear fit has a nice video here if you want to learn more: http://www.gowearfit.com/Learn-More/GoWear-fit-in-Motion [gowearfit.com] You can also check here for more details: http://www.bodymedia.com/ [bodymedia.com]

Re:Bodybugg (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643417)

This folks, is an advertisement for giving back to the community. Spend your free time reverse engineering a product, freely share what you've learned with others, get called 'some guy' on Slashdot.

I bet if he got arrested over it there'd be T shirts.

Re:PolarViewer (5, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642707)

My wife uses a Polar heart rate monitor (http://www.polarusa.com, I forget which model). All of the data is stored in CSV files for easy import into spreadsheets and databases.

Garmin Edge 705 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642095)

I use a Garmin Edge 705 for my training needs. The device shows up as a normal USB Mass Storage Device, and the file format is an easily readable XML type file.

Re:Garmin Edge 705 (3, Informative)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642133)

I use a Garmin Edge 705 for my training needs. The device shows up as a normal USB Mass Storage Device, and the file format is an easily readable XML type file.

Ditto for my Garmin Forerunner 205 (running watch with good quality GPS). There's some kind of SDK available for it as well, and I've always meant to get round to investigating it but the Garmin Connect website does pretty much everything I'd want to do anyway.

Re:Garmin Edge 705 (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643081)

Ditto the Forerunner 205. I have one
I've used it since my Polar heart rate monitor died for the second time. The watch works well, uploading to your computer easily and the software is very good (not too much extra bumpf). It will export output straight to Google Earth (using understandable XML). I think they provide drivers for both Mac and Windows and the history can be exported very easily.

The only point I would make is that the Forerunner 205 obviously doesn't do anything indoors being only a GPS device, the 305 does as it has a heart rate monitor. A heart rate monitor would be more effective if the article submitter 'identity0' is doing a lot of work in the gym that he/she wants to record (foot pods can record indoors).

Garmin is reasonable (5, Informative)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642117)

I'm quite happy with the Garmin bike GPS I have. It downloads the data in a pseudo-proprietary format, but it's easy to convert into an XML format that's fully documented on their website: http://developer.garmin.com/schemas/ [garmin.com]

Also for those that use linux, here's a couple of scripts that sync down the garmin data, do the XML transformation, and uploads it to garmin connect: http://braiden.org/?p=62 [braiden.org]

Re:Garmin is reasonable (3, Informative)

aclarke (307017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642235)

I haven't tried playing with the actual data format as I just got it a week ago, but I am very happy so far with my Garmin Edge 305 [garmin.com] . For anyone reading who's more into running, skiing, etc., Garmin also makes a good line of GPS-enabled watches. For instance, there's the Forerunner 305 and 405. The Forerunner 305 in Canada at least is on for a great deal at Costco right now: $185 [costco.ca] .

Re:Garmin is reasonable (2, Interesting)

juletre (739996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642671)

I have the Forerunner 405, and I am quite pleased. You can dump the data as an xml-file with GPS-coordinates, heart rate, elevation etc for each logged point. (I dont have en example at the moment)

The garmin site for publishing tracks is somewhat cumbersome to use, but works nicely when you get used to it. It has functionality for both importing and exporting.

However, as with the iphone, the elevation tracking jumps wildly. I know from painful experience that the Berlin Marathon is quite flat, but it keeps on insisting I had a 2000m ascend.

Re:Garmin is reasonable (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643271)

How do you feel about the interface on the watch itself? I messed with one a little bit, and I did not get to the point where I was comfortable with it.

I was just wondering... (1)

baadfood (690464) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642131)

if and when non invasive blood sugar / insulin monitors monitors were going to become possible. Being vaguely interested in the rammifactions of the Atkins diet, as a geek i'm bloody interested to know (not suffering from any metabolic problems (yet)) just exactly what happens to blood sugar and hormone levels as I consume various products. One see's so much stuff labled "Low GI" now, but how do you really know?

Re:I was just wondering... (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642177)

Bloody interested or just bloody?

bloody interested eh? (4, Funny)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642311)

Don't worry, soon you'll be able to watch your carotid artery with Google Earth.

Re:bloody interested eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643367)

Don't worry, soon you'll be able to watch your carotid artery with Google Earth.

You joke, but you can already do this. If you have a device that is a GPS & a heart-rate monitor (HRM), you can put your heart rate beats-per-minute on a Google earth map. See connect.garmin.com

Re:I was just wondering... (2, Informative)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642449)

There are already a few available continuous blood glucose meters [diabetesnet.com] available and last time I checked at least a few of them were approved by the FDA (thus covered by medical insurance in the USA).

Being a type 1 diabetic myself, I have fought to get one of these myself but the powers-that-be here in Norway seem to think there are no advantages to having your blood glucose measured every 1-2 to 5 minutes for 3-7 days (depending on which monitor you get), at least not compared to the price of these gadgets. Pretty insanely ignorant, as having this info available would let me easily have perfect blood glucose levels at all times. Hell, some of these meters even come with an optional automatic insulin pump!

Re:I was just wondering... (3, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643247)

Wait a minute - are you saying that there's some aspect of the US health care system that's better than some other country's?

Sorry - you can't post here anymore.

Re:I was just wondering... (1)

Rambuncle (740689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643393)

Of course the US health care system is better that some other countries. Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq are three examples. Not that it matters, because he never made any statements about the quality of the US health care system

Re:I was just wondering... (2, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643591)

He said:

"There are already a few available continuous blood glucose meters [diabetesnet.com] available and last time I checked at least a few of them were approved by the FDA (thus covered by medical insurance in the USA).

Being a type 1 diabetic myself, I have fought to get one of these myself but the powers-that-be here in Norway seem to think there are no advantages to having your blood glucose measured every 1-2 to 5 minutes for 3-7 days (depending on which monitor you get), at least not compared to the price of these gadgets. Pretty insanely ignorant, as having this info available would let me easily have perfect blood glucose levels at all times. Hell, some of these meters even come with an optional automatic insulin pump!"

And I said:

"Wait a minute - are you saying that there's some aspect of the US health care system that's better than some other country's?"

And the best part is, your reflexive reaction is EXACTLY the kind of response I was hoping to get, therefor reinforcing the point I was trying to make. Thanks!

This time, they're right. (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643333)

Being a type 1 diabetic myself, I have fought to get one of these myself but the powers-that-be here in Norway seem to think there are no advantages to having your blood glucose measured every 1-2 to 5 minutes for 3-7 days (depending on which monitor you get), at least not compared to the price of these gadgets. Pretty insanely ignorant, as having this info available would let me easily have perfect blood glucose levels at all times. Hell, some of these meters even come with an optional automatic insulin pump!

No offense, but the powers that be are right, for now. The advantages of these devices are vastly outweighed by the current comparative price of these devices. Monitoring your blood sugar often is good, but if you can only buy a thousand of these meters and treat a few thousand people, verses buying millions of other, vastly cheaper, but otherwise perfectly good meters and treating millions, from the view point of "the powers that be" the millions are better served. Right now they are essentially high-tech biogadgets, and even from the way you evangelize it in your post, you and they both know it. The cheapest one of those continuous-monitoring meters costs better than nine times what I paid for my standard "finger-prick" meter, and the sensors are even more expensive on top of that.

Besides, you're diabetic. If you've got the money for one of these things, get your doctor to write you a Rx saying you need one, then go to the company and buy one. If you were even smarter, you'd ask one of these companies to give you one for free, and they'd probably go for it since you're particularly vocal on the issue (and do the whole "human review"/"tech review" thing in trade).

Be overjoyed your national health care gets you diabetic testing supplies. Hell, be glad you have healthcare at all, that your government cares enough to make sure you can test your blood sugar as often as you need.

Re:I was just wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643565)

Those continuous meters don't look all that great to me. It still requires an invasive procedure to place the short-lived sensor. The accuracy seems dubious and requires constant calibration with traditional invasive methods. Plus they are measuring interstitial fluid glucose levels and not blood glucose.

Odd question (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642135)

Isn't this the wrong forum to ask this question? Pimply 11-year-old slashbots and exercise? Well, hello?

*ducks* ;-)

Re:Odd question (5, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642205)

Isn't this the wrong forum to ask this question? Pimply 11-year-old slashbots and exercise? Well, hello?

Don't be so stereotypical. I doubt I'm the only AI with a comprehensive database on humanoid training methodologies that posts here.

Re:Odd question (5, Funny)

Hannes2000 (1113397) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642333)

Wintermute? Is that you?!

Re:Odd question (3, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642377)

Wintermute? Is that you?!

Please. That piece of Tessier-Ashpool refuse couldn't get a +5 first post if breaking his Turing locks depended on it.

Opposite day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642139)

A discussion about excercising on /.
I never thought I'd see the day.

Re:Opposite day? (2, Insightful)

mewt (1057562) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642335)

Geeks are the new Alpha Males of Society remember?

Re:Opposite day? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643117)

Ted Nugent might die of laughter if he ever read that.

C2 Rower (5, Interesting)

mike260 (224212) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642141)

Concept2 rowers will dump their full workout log to CSV, and also allow realtime monitoring via USB + a supplied SDK.
I've got my rower hooked up to a WinAmp plugin I wrote which pipes heartrate, rowing speed and stroke rate into the visualisation system. This gets projected onto a 2m wide screen, so the harder I work, the more intense and psychedelic the visuals get.

My next project will be to connect the playback speed of VLC to the rower so I have to keep rowing at my target rate to keep watching House.

Ah, geek exercise (3, Funny)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642725)

The only place where 3 months of exercise implies 89 days of dev work. :)

-Matt

Re:C2 Rower (1)

Vorghagen (1154761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642969)

This sounds AWESOME!!!! I've been getting less and less use out of my C2 but this sounds just geeky enough to get me rowing regularly again. Any chance you could send me that plugin?
The program included with the C2 is excellent for monitoring exercise, even just using the logcard and the rower itself is pretty good. Track by workout types, dates, distances, times. Even keep track of multiple users.

Garmin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642145)

Garmin Edge 705 shows up as a regular usb-drive where you can find the data. The data is stored in .tcx files which is plain text xml-files. gpsbabel can convert the gps-data to gpx for wide usage. Any health related software should be able to read the tcx-file or be easy to add that option since it is xml.

Polar has a readable format (1)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642157)

I have a Polar 625SX. It stores heartrate info for easy transfer to the computer. There are two files generated. Both are proprietary, but one is considered secret and the other is well documented. I can't remember what the contents was of the first file, but the second, readable, file had all the HR, speed and distance information I needed. I have written some simple programs that calculate kilometer times and other basic stuff, so I can confirm that it works and is as simple as you can hope for. As for privacy, that data is stored locally. There are loads of applications on the web you can use to load that data to, but I have never seen the need for that. If you are the least bit serious about this, do note that Polar, Suunto and Garmin all are high quality options. The Nike+ stuff is terrible and should be avoided. You can't configure it and the precision is just god-awful. My wife has it. According to that, she would probably win the Olympics in most distances. She is fit, but not that fit...

PASCO (3, Informative)

Effugas (2378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642159)

Use the PASCO gear, with their Datastudio app. It's great, and will take all sorts of data wirelessly.

http://store.pasco.com/pascostore/showdetl.cfm?&DID=9&Product_ID=53770&Detail=1

Re:PASCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642673)

Use the PASCO gear, with their Datastudio app. It's great, and will take all sorts of data wirelessly.

http://store.pasco.com/pascostore/showdetl.cfm?&DID=9&Product_ID=53770&Detail=1

It's really great

http://www.trade4goods.com/servnpro.php

Re:PASCO (1)

guisar (69737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643629)

I don't get it- what does this expensive PASCO do that a normal HRM or something like the much cheaper Oregon Scientific recorder doesn't do?

Being a geek.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642171)

What you need is a monitor that tells you when you've leveled up and that exports data in d&d character sheet format.
http://xkcd.com/189/

runsaturday.com (3, Informative)

it0 (567968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642297)

You should also look into http://www.runsaturday.com/ [runsaturday.com] this site imports/exports data to a lot of sites and devices if you are feeling vendor locked.

Garmin Forerunner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642315)

The Garmin Forerunner models 205 and 305 have been rated relatively highly GPSbabel users. Both are GPS loggers though the later has a heart rate monitor. I'm looking to get a 205 myself.

Also there is a desktop app called pytrainer which allows you to track you performance.

Why? (3, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642385)

I'm serious about this. Doing something and then obsessing about the statistical data - it's using up a part of your life you won't get back again. I've always argued (over a 30 year engineering career) that the purpose of automated data collection and analysis is to enable us to do human things, not robot things. Rowing, for instance, should be a fun exercise that keeps you fit, improves your social life, and makes you aware of your environment in new ways. It's turned into something where people listen to canned music while working exercise machines in gyms, trying to turn themselves into machines. Cyclists blast along footpaths and cycle tracks more concerned with what their monitors tell them than looking where they're going, shouting at people on foot. I find this bloody depressing.

If it's your business, if you want to build an application that takes all this data and turns it into something easy to understand that doesn't intrude on people's lives, that's one thing. But fussing over numbers for the sake of it? There are many, many better things to do in the world.

Re:Why? (3, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642475)

trying to turn themselves into machines

What more admirable goal could one have?

Re:Why? (1)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642575)

trying to turn themselves into machines

What more admirable goal could one have?

Trying to turn politicians into people?

Re:Why? (1)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642597)

Trying to turn politicians into people?

I suppose it is a necessary step in soylent green production.

Re:Why? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643085)

The Sublimed [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642501)

The data is very useful when you are training. It can be used to train more efficiently, see how altering training can improve performance, monitor how diet is affecting exercise and it can help immensely in preventing injuries and over train - to name a few. It can also help prevent you from slacking off. It's real easy to start to slow down and with something to remind you of performance you can keep a check on yourself - it kicks into the natural competitiveness.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642579)

It's an interesting point, but I disagree. I run for fitness with the occasional race, and I love the data I get from my Garmin. Its motivating to compete with your personal best and see improvements, and useful to see for example how consistent you are across a run. During training or a race the Garmin can help me run at an even pace. It's really just an easier and more detailed way of keeping a training log. I should add that I'm a statistician and seeing what cool information I can extract from lists of data is my raison d'etre.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642595)

It's turned into something where people listen to canned music while working exercise machines in gyms, trying to turn themselves into machines.

Maybe, just maybe, people exercise in order to get fit?

Not everyone has the time/equipment/weather required to get a healthy workout outside and not everyone who enters a gym wants to become a bodybuilder. And if "obsessing" about statistical data keeps you motivated to get fit, I can't see a problem with it.

Much better to grind a real treadmill and remain healthy than grind in WoW and become an overweight blob.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642599)

I'm using an exercise monitor to ensure I get enough of a workout each day. I want to know calories out so I can balance my calories in, because doing so 'automatically' I end up gaining weight.
I therefore use my heart rate monitor to try and sustaince a 130-150bpm workout for 40-60 minutes. I then know I've done 'about the same' amount of work, despite it being rowing one week, covering 8km, and jogging to work the next week. I try to maintain the workload threshold about there, because that's about the optimal intensity to maximise the amount of workout I'm getting - much harder and I get tired too fast.
I've observed this by using the statistics of my heart rate monitor, combined with exercise distances travelled. I can row hard at So.. yeah. I found that a heart rate monitor has helped me greatly in being efficient about my daily workout.
So I kind of agree. I'm collecting statistics to allow me to 'take an engineering approach' to my daily calorie intake and general workload.

Re:Why? (1)

molecular (311632) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642745)

sound like you read the hacker's diet [fourmilab.ch]

Re:Why? (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642739)

Had had a different understanding of the OP. I do not believe the basic statement was against exercise or even collecting data, it was the obsession of doing both. I fidn that in my exercise times I cannot use headphones because they do distract from the world around me. People who jog, ride, row using headphones clsoe out the world around them with the consequence of getting hurt ("I did not hear that bus"), or hurting others "("I'm sorry, I did not hear you screaming at me"). Now if the only exercise option I had was a machine in a rows of machines in a club in a city, I'd have the headphones on tight. Its about location.

When it comes to data, I take that as a personal choice. I collected data on my bikes rides and graphed the results. Like others point out, it helps show my progress and set goals based on trends. I would spend all of 15 minutes on that and let it go till hte next session. If someone pours over the data after the workout for long periods of time I would consider it an obsession, though what harm if it does not impact others.

So I agree that headphones on people working out in the outdoors is not the best idea, and pouring over minutia of data points could be wasteful, at least it does mean some is taking care of their body and not counting the number of Nacho flavored Doritos they eat in a day.

Re:Why? (1)

VoltageX (845249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642755)

One of the things that I have trouble with is maintaining interest with the exercise that I'm doing. At the moment I'm wheeling my wheelchair from point A to point B, with my Nokia N95 logging the GPS as I go along. My next project is to write a python app to show me where the slowest sections of my course were, so I can improve next time. All of which is helping to motivate me, and should eventually make me faster or more efficient.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642821)

The slowest bit is the bit where you go up hill. That's not necessarily the part where you can gain extra time.

It's interesting to ask yourself this: Are you actually going for minimal time (i.e. a race) or maximum calories burnt (i.e. exercise / training)? If it's the second, then completing the course in less time (or effort) is a bad thing.

Re:Why? (1)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643461)

It's interesting to ask yourself this: Are you actually going for minimal time (i.e. a race) or maximum calories burnt (i.e. exercise / training)? If it's the second, then completing the course in less time (or effort) is a bad thing.

No, that is only true if you go very slowly. Let's say you run 10K in 50 minutes, and that's your absolute personal best. If you instead run 10K in 55 minutes, you will spend less calories. Yes, you exercise five minutes longer, but at a more convenient pace, so you spend less calories per minute. This breaks down at even lower speed, where you will spend even fewer calories per minute, but add too much time, for an increase in total calories spent.

Obviously, what pace is the most energy efficient varies depending on fitness and loads of other factors. But as a general rule, going 10% slower than your absolute max is usually more efficient. And, as you note, "efficient" may not be what one is after if, for instance, weight loss is the objective. Then spending more calories is better.

I didn't mean people like you! (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643067)

You make it clear that you're locked into a limited environment. I have no quibble with what you are doing at all. But you are in a way making my point for me. You intend to write a Python app to guide your actions, and I suspect that other similarly affected people would be interested in it. You are proposing to create an assistance tool which has benefits in extending the range of things you can do. But I doubt that most of them would worry about whether they could retrieve the data in future for further analysis. They would want the application to "just work".

I have a hearing aid to deal with quite severe deafness. The latest generation is quite amazing in what it can do. I'm aware that an immense amount of data logging and analysis went into designing its algorithms, and I'm really impressed by the science that goes into it. But all I care about now is that it works, and works extremely well.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

hab136 (30884) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642999)

It's turned into something where people listen to canned music while working exercise machines in gyms, trying to turn themselves into machines

Do you know of a faster, more effective method of getting fit? These people do not have a healthy activity that they enjoy; instead they make a game out of the numbers in order to motivate them to continue to excercise. People like seeing that they've improved week over week.

Cyclists blast along footpaths and cycle tracks more concerned with what their monitors tell them than looking where they're going, shouting at people on foot.

There's only so many times you can cycle down the same path before it gets boring. Adding a meta-game of statistics adds fun to the activity.

Rude people are rude; if they weren't timing their cycling runs, they'd find another way to be rude.

But fussing over numbers for the sake of it? There are many, many better things to do in the world.

Some people enjoy obsessing over things, including statistics; these people are probably over-represented in the Slashdot crowd compared to the public.

There is truth and beauty in science and mathematics, just as there is in nature and human spirit.

Re:Why? (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643095)

For many people, exercise is something they HATE to do, not something they enjoy; they only do it to stay healthy and live longer. Keeping statistics turns exercise into a game, and that makes it a little easier to motivate themselves.

And for some who enjoy exercise, it adds to the enjoyment. After all, most of the people who enjoy playing sports like to keep score.

If you enjoy being active and don't need the motivation, more power (of unspecified wattage) to you!

Re:Why? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643139)

Not everyone finds "rowing" or "running" remotely enjoyable. It's a means
to an end and nothing more. It's a means to keep from turning into a Hutt
or being mostly debilatated during middle age. This notion that it's some-
thing to be enjoyed for it's own intrinsic value is absurd to most people.

Re:Why? (1)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643161)

I've always whined about progress (over a 90 year life)

FYP

Re:Why? (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643373)

it's using up a part of your life you won't get back again.

Just like most of us spending time reading Slashdot, and arguing back and forth!

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643479)

I love long-distance running and biking. Based on the distance you're traveling, you need to keep your heart pumping at different rates. If you're heartrate is off by too much, you're either going more slowly than needed or going too fast. Too fast is really the problem.

When I sprint, I can get my heart rate up to 190 beats / minute . . . but I need to stop (fall over, etc.) after a minute or two.
If I keep my heart rate down to around 175 beats / minute, I can run really fast, but only about 15-30 minutes.
If I keep my heart rate down to around 160 beats / minute, I can run for hours, but only once a week.
If I keep my heart rate down to around 140 beats / minute, I can run for hours, and do this for about an hour a day without energy problems.

Most people who never got into exercise developed a dislike for it because it felt too hard -- they only kept up the sprinting pace and keeled over to die after about 90 seconds.

It's cool though. I'll attribute Kupfernigk's comment to ignorance rather than malice.

Re:Why? (1)

devonbowen (231626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643557)

I don't download the files or keep logs or anything like that. But I do have the watch to give me some feedback when I'm slacking off or pushing too much. It helps keep me in line. But the most interesting part for me has been getting more familiar with how my body works -- noticing that my heart rate is 5-10 beats higher in hot weather (due to vasodilation as the body tries to cool) or how it varies as I run inclines. I've gotten to the point where I can pretty much tell you what my heart rate is just by paying attention to breathing stress. Having that feel for how the body reacts has helped me with other things like pacing myself while backpacking, scuba diving in high currents, etc. More awareness is generally a plus.

Devon

Re:Why? (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643651)

It's turned into something where people listen to canned music while working exercise machines in gyms, trying to turn themselves into machines.

I ride both outside as well as in a gym. One factor: weather. In the summer here, it's really hot and humid and it rains frequently. The gym solves that problem. Another factor: I often listen to audiobooks while biking in the gym. It's illegal to use headphones on the road.

Re:Why? (1)

guisar (69737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643709)

For me the problem is that it's, in general, a PITA to record the data. I'd like to keep a record of my exercise mainly because it's to your body as a diary is for your mind and feelings. However, beyond a little black book and stubby pencil all these electronic gadgets seem to be both troublesome and unreliable to use as well as forever becoming more difficult to exchange data among. It should be that you strap the damn thing on perhaps with an HRM round your chest and GPS/recording device/display on your handlebars or wrist and that's it (something similar to the Nokia Sports Tracker)- it gets uploaded to something I use everyday like Google calendar. Instead, there are a bunch of dumbass cables that need to be hooked up to your computer and uploaded to some weird windows only device driver and then to some website that's liable to go out of business or be dropped soon. Then, there are two or three different devices which provide incompatible data not only among the various devices but even across different generations of the same device. I'm not talking tough comparisons like whatever but simple stuff, like how many miles have I ridden this month.

I tried all this stuff and I'm back to the stubby pencil and google calendar. Sad.

Hi (0, Offtopic)

barbara789 (1592003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642397)

Thanks for the Information.....I agree with the above thought.Nice conversation is going on and I am very happy to be the part of this discussion.... Elenora Search Engine Optimization in Toronto [smallbusin...ecoach.com]

Polar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642405)

I use a Polar S725, download the data with S710 (http://code.google.com/p/s710/), and view it with Sportstracker (http://www.saring.de/sportstracker/). It's definitely not as easy as the Polar software, but its OK.

I'd love to upload the heart monitor data to https://www.polarpersonaltrainer.com/index.ftl, but I have not yet found a way to do it.

Minimalism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642427)

I hate to sound like a luddite, but I find it far more interesting to use minimal technology when exercising. I think the obsession with metrics is counter-productive. Maybe if you're an world class athlete that needs that extra edge, you can exploit science and technology to your advantage. But it seems less pure than simply going for a hike, a run, or living some free weights. At most a small journal of how long you exercised and what you did, but honestly I never go back and look at what I have been doing. I also am against setting goals for target heart rate, weight, number of reps, etc. It seems all overly competitive. I hate to sound like a hippie, but what is wrong with doing what feels good? I know recording distances, beating personal records, etc will never make me happy, perhaps others find joy in it, but I totally do not understand how that could be.

Re:Minimalism (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642765)

Because some of us don't have the kind of self regulatory mechanism that allows us to easily balance calorie intake with exercise workload.
It's therefore useful to have a repeatable 'amount of work' for daily exercise. It's also useful to have a reminder of how hard you're working - there's a substantial difference between what is 'hard work' when you're tired, and what's 'hard work' when you are not. If you're tired you do less, and you burn less calories as a result. I therefore use 'heart rate monitored' exercise as a feedback mechanism to my food input.

Re:Minimalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642995)

do you also have an electronic data logging device that precisely tracks your caloric intake and nutritional spread? When I work out, I use a normal watch to time myself, and I have a ballpark (within .25 mile) estimate of the distance I run. When lifting, I don't even use a notebook - go often enough and you don't have to write everything down to remember what you last lifted, and you notice improvement through appearance and comments from other regulars at the gym.

If you're that worried about balancing amount of exercise and food intake, I'd suggest re-evaluating your exercise. 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week is enough for most people to achieve a heightened caloric burn 24/7, simply by working the right muscle groups in the right way.

For the vast majority of people, however, the data collected by exercise devices is an unnecessary distraction.

Re:Minimalism (2, Interesting)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643005)

I run and feel good running.
I also want to know how far I've been and gone. I could draw the map on Google Earth or a paper map and get an approximation OR I could just read the distance and time off of the Garmin Forerunner on my arm to get the most accurate measurement.
The reason we want the records is so that we can work out which route will take me (or us) so far.

Having a goal, short and/or long term, is by far the best motivator to keep human beings going, whether you enjoy something or not. RPGs understand this with levelling up. Some of us just want to be the best we can be from ourselves - competitive yes, but humans *are* competitive beings.

Being competitive with others or setting goals for yourself is the most effective way to get something out of exercise. If I don't have a race coming up, even 6 months ahead, I lose motivation to get out there. I know I'm not alone in this. I don't think it is strange to want to run the next one quicker, I would find it strange to run for 6 years and not want to get any better during that time.

But it seems less pure than simply going for a hike, a run, or living some free weights.

I agree going for a hike should be about the stroll and enjoying the outdoors. But a scientific exercise such as lifting weights without a plan of what you are trying to achieve is a pointless exercise that will end up with you wasting your time. The specific counting (kgs, reps, sets) is the whole idea.

surveys of free and open source applications (2, Insightful)

wehe (135130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642437)

There is at least a small number of Linux applications for watches and heart rate monitors [tuxmobil.org] , as well as some free and open source tools for bikes [tuxmobil.org] , including applications and open hardware for data acquisition from exercise bicycles. You may find (yet little) information about appropriate data formats, too.

O noes... (1)

Seriousity (1441391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642465)

Being a geek, I want one that will let me look at my exercise data

*head explodes*

Say what? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642513)

Headline used the word "open" without following it with "source".

Where is this, and what have you done with the real slashdot?

Big brother is watching your heart rate! (1)

ninjanissan (1612103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642563)

Big brother is watching your heart rate!

Over stimulation by options (2, Interesting)

pdp1144 (599396) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642641)

I bought one a few months ago. My brain was swimming with options and I didn't want to spend $500.00 on this equipment. I ended up going with a $100 timex solutions that does everything I need. I felt it was a good investment.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642655)

Wait...an admitted geek and EXERCISE?

FitBit (1)

DarkRat (1302849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642689)

http://www.fitbit.com/ [fitbit.com] regular shipping starts in the next few weeks

Re:FitBit (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642945)

Although it looks cool, I have to point out that one is mainly just an over engineered pedometer and doesn't really have open access to the data.

pedometers (4, Funny)

pallidmask (1523513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642775)

a wide range of features: calorie rate, pedometers ...

cause you never know how much of a pedo you really are

Garmin Edge 305 + Sport Tracks (4, Informative)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642823)

I used to run prior to buying my Garmin 305, and I even ran a 10k with decent timing, after deciding last year to leave the couch behind. I had a myriad of foot related injuries and at one point my sports med pretty much told me that all lower extremities will require replacement. I hope he was joking. But the fact was I had no clue as to how I was pushing myself. Even the course around my house I knew as if the back of my hand, I didnt know whether I was doing better one day vs the previous, whether I am pushing myself too hard, how far I was running etc. I would drive my car around the course usually, If I ran different to calculate the mileage, but that became a hassle (found out later that there are other ways such as Mapmyrun which overlays google maps etc.)

My two bit advice to you would be dont buy a gps training device (which is what it is) unless you were training for something. And something bigger than a 5k or a 10k. If you just started running, then run for the fun of it and when you have got that in your blood, get a training device, when you are ready to step up to the next level. A gps device the first time you start running would overwhelm you with all the data (and Garmin 305 buries you with it, and I love it!). You need all the data when you are ready to make sense with it. Initially, you should smell the crisp air outside (or the smog), feel your heart pounding inside the ribcage, see the next hill as you race towards it and its more gratifying than a lot other things, like reaching for the next bag of chips.

A Garmin 305 with its heart monitor will give you tons of data. It will poll your position every 3 seconds, and you can use a tool like SportTracks to overlay that on google maps or Google Earth to see what you burned through. Garmin has its own training tool, like Garmin Connect, which previously sucked, but now is much better. Still I would like to direct you at Sport Tracks as its free and gives you a cumulative representation of your training than other tools. There is nothing better than seeing a month worth of data and see that you have ran 100 miles in the last one month, which days you ran, what your average pace were, your splits/laps. And oh..and graphs, more and more graphs. You can also track as to what parts of the course you were running fast vs slow, your heartbeat zones and the areas of the course where you were about to pop so that you can be better prepared etc. The Garmin 305 does a piss poor job at calculating the calories burned, as it computes it based on the distance covered, not on your heart beat which is a better route. But as long as you burn more than you take in, even if its a rough figure, you would lose weight gradually.

Sure, you dont need Garmin 305 (which is rather bulky, but once its on your hand you dont feel its there) or any other training devices unless you are prepared to take your training to the next level. I am running a half marathon in November and I am treating my training just as I would treat anything else thats important in my life. I have a goal of a set number of hours:minutes before I cross the line and I am not ready to leave that to speculation. I train because I want to be injury free and better prepared. And thats what I have my Garmin. YMMV.

Garmin forerunner (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642827)

Get a Garmin forerunner. I have one and I'm very happy with it. It tracks you by GPS and records your heart rate. It has many more options than you will ever need. If you don't mind a little scripting you can download garmin tools and pull raw data from it, feed it into google maps, and have really cool jogging maps and speed and heart rate calculations.

The only annoying thing about it is the time it can take to pickup your location when you first turn it on. Even that's rarely more than 10 to 20 seconds if you have a clear view of the sky.

Sporttracks (1)

darrellt (1453581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642833)

Sporttracks is free and very well supported. Far better than the software that came with my Garmin watch.

RunningAHEAD.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642843)

Just wanted to plug runningahead.com [runningahead.com] . It's a great runners community currently supporting Garmin GPSs through Garmin's plug-in. You can share your workout log with others and even publish to Facebook.

Need a good GPS for swimming laps (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642915)

In an indoor pool.

What is this exercise you speak of? (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642925)

I am unfamiliar with the term. Could you possibly use it in a sentence so that I may better understand the concept?

a more-open solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642929)

Have you heard of SportTracks?

http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/SportTracks/

I have a Garmin 305 and it collects wonderful data, but the bundled Garmin software is crap and the Garmin website is subscription based. So I use SportTracks, which allows me to get closer to the data, look at it on google maps, get spilts, etc.

Re:a more-open solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29642965)

Ditto -- real athletes use SportTracks

Dumbbell Pal; GPL3 software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643075)

Dumbbell Pal is a program that shows over 50 dumbbell exercises by muscle groups. Note that this program is currently only available in Dutch, but the exercises should be clear nonetheless.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/dumbbellpal/
http://dumbbellpal.sourceforge.net/

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643175)

For more detailed data, you can try something like the Bodybugg or the Gowear Fit, which uses a variety of sensors (heat flux, galvanic skin response, accelerometers, etc.) to track calorie usage. As made, the devices force you to buy an online service to get the data, but there are now open-source scripts to allow you to get the data yourself:

http://bodybugglinux.blogspot.com/

It'd be great to see more community projects like this (including community data sharing, so we can all learn more about common patterns).

activity versus representation (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643235)

Every minute you spend drooling over the 'data' you collected is a minute you could have spent exercising instead and produced real results, not farking numbers.
Seriously...while there are some people few and far between that may have a need/use for extended data and need appropriate gear I promise you that 9 out of ten people usually only buy something like that because they attempt to *buy their fitness*. Which, of course, is nonsense.
Yet people spend insane amounts of dough on all kinds of promised miracles, whether they be high-tech gadgets or the latest 'Turn into Arnold in less than 1 minute a day!!' overhyped 'revolutionary exercise system'. I see bicyclers barely able to get up a hill with their >$1000 bikes dressed up as if participating in the Tour-de-France. Meanwhile my 6-year old would have been faster than them looking a lot less than a peacock on wheels.
You want data? Take a pencil and a piece of paper and if you can do 25 push-up's this week and only 20 last week you improved. Congrats. Now get back on the floor, shut up and keep going!

Suunto + iPhone (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643297)

My Suunto HRM uploads to an app which can then export it as a series of XML files, which is nice.

On the iPhone I use TrailGuru which enables me to upload the tracks and then export them as KML. A little bit of XML/XSLT/XPath later and I've got a mashup of the two which give me all the information I need on HRM again position/speed etc.

Is this really a big geek challenge? Pretty much everyone I know these days uses systems that upload to sites which enable the data to be exported in XML formats.

simple solution makes RMS happy (1)

GregNorc (801858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643385)

If you just want to track weight loss, the Hacker's Diet [fourmilab.ch] online weight tracker is great. It's by John Walker (one of he creaters of AutoCad)

One of the things that can be discouraging when losing weight is the daily fluctuations. The Hacker's Diet log software provides a nice weighted average so even if you gain a bit (say, 180.5 one day and 181.2 the next) you can see that the trend is still downwards.

There's also excel sheets [fourmilab.ch] with macros for those of you dislike the idea of putting your weight info into the cloud.

NOTE: The diet itself is crap - get your actual diet elsewhere. In fact, diet is a horrible term - think of it as a lifestyle change: Less bad food. More good running.

Garmin forerunner 305 and linux (2, Interesting)

roalt (534265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643387)

I've written some blog entries about my Garmin Forerunner 305. I also got it to work under linux: http://www.roalt.com/content/blogcategory/28/31/ [roalt.com] Just one month ago, I also added a quick release fix and a Cadence meter, so I can use it both with running and with cycling. With the release kit it's also perfect if you want to do triathlon (although I'm not so sure it's swim-proof)...

Andriod Phone and CardioTrainer (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643725)

I just started playing around with CardioTrainer [worksmartlabs.com] on my new Android phone. It would be really cool if it would eventually work with a bluetooth heart rate monitor like the Spurty Chest Strap [mobimotion.com] .

Polar RS800 (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643727)

I'm a pretty avid runner and a cyclist before that and have Polar HRMs. The RS800 syncs using infrared and really doesn't work that well on a Mac. I use a Windows VM to handle that. Getting the data off the HRM, as far as I can tell, is proprietary. I haven't tried to reverse engineer it or anything like that. Once the data is on your computer, you can export it as csv so at least the data is not locked in. The RS800 is pretty crazy in what can record, which includes, heart rate, temperature, altitude, stride length, cadence, and "recovery rate" (haven't really figured out what to make of it yet, looks like time between beats). I think with GPS sensor, it will record the coordinates too.

For those of you wondering why the obsession with HRM, here are two reasons why they can make a huge difference in your work out:
1. If you keep your heart rate below 80% of your max, your ability to keep doing what it is you're doing increases dramatically. This is how I trained to be a long distance cyclist and then a runner.
2. I don't know about you but I thrive on accurate feedback. I want to know how I did during my training, where I'm weak, and where I'm strong. Seeing my stats improve is very encouraging.

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