Saturday, January 21, 2006

Exercising with GPS

After reading about heart rates associated to GPS tracks with colors I decided to check for the gadgets that make this possible. We mentioned a while ago the Forerunner 305 just released at CES that includes the same features in a smaller package, but if you don't mind using a generation older device now is a good time to check the Garmin Forerunner 301 that includes a heart rate monitor, barometer and USB interface. It is currently on sale for about $170 at Amazon. It includes the Training Center software with which you can upload data from the GPS device and draw graphs to analyse your performance and fitness.

Garmin partner, MotionBased offers free accounts to its website where "GPS data is effectively harnessed and analyzed for fitness and training".

You generate log data by exercising, upload it from your device to a PC and your account's inbox at their server will let you identify, arrange and analyze its data, in cumulative series & stats.

MB will provide graphs on elevation, time, distance and speed data for an activity, plus heart rate, calories and weather conditions. Including a map with elevation profile. You can choose between street, photo, topographic and elevation background images for you track map. You can also join MotionBased's online community TrailNetwork to share your data and compare it with other members of the site.

Geek.com published a not too favorable review of the Forerunner 305 a while ago.

Garmin also produces a GPS Cyclocomputer, the Edge that also includes heart rate monitor, a bike mount, USB interface and the Training Center software.

[Update Apr 4th, 2006: Los Times article on Motion Based and the exercising with GPS trend.]

Another Garmin partner is TrainingPeaks, an online coach for endurance sports that will soon be supporting data upload from the Forerunner 205/305 and the Edge.

Timex is another company that produces GPS-based watches with heart monitors and data records, what they call BodyLink System which also includes the Timex Trainer software for data analysis.

[Update 2/22: Taiwan-based GlobalSat announced two wrist-based models GH-601/602 equipped with Sirf Star III chipset and USB interface]

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