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Fitness Product Reviews: Password-Protected Bike Lock, Wearable Activity Monitor

Big into biking in the summer? Want to increase your activity level? Here are two products that will help you out!

Wordlock Bike Locks

Ever since Jenn and Tish became bikers, it seems that we’ve covered cycling products way more than we used to, from cycling clothing to a biking playlist. Now, we’re passing along the deets on a cool bike lock to keep your wheels safe when you’re not on them.

The Wordlock bike lock uses easy-to-remember letter and word combinations that can be set and re-set, instead of arbitrary numerical comb0s that can be forgotten or keys that can be lost. Seeing as I currently have two combination locks I’m unable to use because I can’t remember the three-digit codes, this would be perfect for me. You can get the Wordlock products as cable bike locks as well as weather- and tamper-resistant utility and brass locks at a number of retailers, including Target, Kmart, Sears, and hardware stores. The best part? No breaking the bankwith prices of $8.99 to $18.99. Now if I can just set the lock combination to “Erin” I’ll be set!

Philips DirectLife Activity Monitor

I went through a phase several years ago where I was hooked on my pedometer. It was fun to find ways to add steps throughout the day to increase my end-of-day step count. While not a step counter, the Philips DirectLife activity monitor has taken me back to those wonder years.

The DirectLife monitor is designed to record your daily movements so you can see how active you’re being throughout the day. It’s lightweight, waterproof, and quite small—about the size of several stacked quarters—and can be worn in a pocket, on a belt, on a necklace, or in a bra (ooh la la!). Once you install the software, you choose your wearing position and set out on an eight-day assessment to establish your baseline activity level.

After eight days of activity, I plugged my monitor in to assess my activity level, ready to give myself a pat on the back. Imagine my surprise to find that I ranked a Level 1, the lowest level of activity. I was so sad; I’d thought I was being my super-active self. When my personal DirectLife coach emailed me to see how it was going with the monitor, I relayed my concern about the monitor not accurately recording my activity. Come to find out that while I had the necklace position marked on my settings, because I wasn’t wearing it outside of my clothing the monitor wasn’t picking up my movement correctly. Once I switched to attaching the device to my bra, my activity level shot up.

To check your activity throughout the day, you simply lay the monitor down on a horizontal surface and see how much it lights up—each green light accounts for 15 percent of your daily activity target. I found it to be super fun to check my daily progress and to plug in the monitor every few days to see if I was meeting my activity goal. It’s also fun to check out your history, which is broken down by year, month, week, day and hour to see patterns in your activity levels. You can even label specific activities down to the minute.

One drawback to the monitor: Because the monitor records core movement and not muscle tension, activities like yoga or weight-lifting are harder to measure, while running and swimming are easier for the monitor to pick up. That’s when labeling activities really comes in handy: The program will notch up your activity level when you label it with a specific workout. Although there are a limited number of activity options to choose from, the company is in the process of adding more, which will only increase the accuracy of the system.

While it would be fun for anybody to use, I think the monitor would be best for those who are just starting out on a workout regimen or who are trying to add more activity to their lives. It’s a concrete way to know whether your overall lifestyle is an active one or whether you should add in more evening walks and subtract some TV time. Knowledge is power!

Have you ever tried an activity monitor? How did it work for you? —Erin


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