Earlier this year I reviewed the Polar Loop, a wearable activity tracker that allows you to count your steps and monitor your heart rate (check out my review here). The display on the Loop shows you how many steps you’ve completed, a few suggestions of how to accomplish the remaining steps and your current heart rate if you are wearing the Polar H7 HeartRate Sensor. The Polar Flow app, however, allows you fully view your daily, weekly and monthly results. This gives you the opportunity to analyze your results and view your progress over time. This will increase your chances of staying motivated and sticking to your fitness goals!
Once the app has been downloaded and opened, you just need to tap the centre to start syncing your Polar Loop data to your phone. After the data has synchronized successfully with your phone, your data will begin to automatically download to your account on the Polar Flow website (you need to have a website account in order to initially set up the Polar Loop activity tracker).
A tap to the upper left corner of the screen opens a dropdown menu that outlines all the app’s features. The tabs include “Activity”, “Training Summary”, “Info” and “Settings”.
Your daily activity can be viewed on the app’s screen in two different views. The first view, as seen in the screen shot below, shows a circle in the middle of screen with different colours indicating how long you’ve spent doing different activities, for example sleeping, walking, and jogging. The darker colours indicate a more intense level of activity. The different activities are also separated in little tabs at the bottom indicating the amount of time, in hours, that you spent doing each activity. The second view is set up as a 24 hour clock, with each activity separated as slivers indicating exactly what time you completed them throughout the day. I personally preferred the first view as I found the 24 hour clock view confusing and the slivers of activity hard to see.
In addition to the chart view of your activity, you can also view a summary. There is a bar along the top that indicates the percentage of your daily goal that has been completed. Beside this, it acknowledges that you were sitting for a long time. Below, there is a summary of your total active time, total calories burned, total steps and total sleep time. Similar to the actual Polar Loop device, if you have not completed your activity goal for the day, this app will make suggestions of how to complete your goal, for example “24 min jogging”. If you have completed your daily goal, the app will congratulate your successes and suggest ways to improve.
View your long term progress by viewing this page of the app in the weekly, as seen in the screen shot below, and monthly view. Both are in a bar graph format with activity time tracked vertically and dates tracked horizontally.
The Training Summary tab allows you to see a summary of your week’s training you completed with a Polar HeartRate Sensor. It indicates how many sessions you completed, their duration, the amount of calories burned, and the total fat burn %. By tapping on a specific session, you can view a charted breakdown of the heart rates you had at various phases of your workout, as seen in the screen shot below. What I also love about this feature is that it separates your heart rate values from your training into those that fell within the “fit” zone and those that fell within the, lower heart rate, “fat burn” zone. As I mentioned in my review of the Polar Loop, one of the huge advantages of wearing a heart rate monitor when working out is that you stay within a specific exercise zone and ensure that your workout is effective. If you continue to scroll down on this page the app will give you the average heart rate and the maximum heart rate you hit during that specific workout. It will also give you the calories burned in that workout and the total fat burn % for that workout, as seen in screen shot below. These individual fat burn % values are tallied throughout the week to give you your average “fat burn %” value, which is found on the “Training Summary” homepage. The very bottom of the page indicates the “training benefit” achieved during your workout. For example, if you stayed predominately in the fat burn zone, like the picture shown here, it will indicate that you are developing endurance and increases the ability for your body to burn fat during exercise.
Info & Settings
Below the Training Summary tab is the Info tab, which is basically the instruction manual. This instruction manual can also be found on the Polar Flow website. This tab gives you an overview of the Polar Loop, a description of the setup and how to pair this Polar Loop and the app with the Polar HeartRate Sensor.
The last tab is the Settings tab. Within this tab, you can change your profile picture, set up the date, change the units the data is shown in and modify which wrist the Polar Loop is bring worn on. You can also modify the notifications you receive. The app has the option to give you a sound notification when you have reached your daily activity goal. It also has the option to alert you (with or without sound) if you have been inactive for over an hour. What I don’t like about these features is that you have the app continuously running in the background for these features to work, which I found resulted in wasted data and battery life.
All in all this is a pretty great app! The Polar Loop is relatively simple in design and concept, but the Polar Flow app gives it depth by allowing you to view and analyze your
short and long term fitness data. The Activity tab displays a breakdown of your daily activity and gives you the option to also view your weekly and monthly data. If you decide to pair the Polar Loop with a Polar HeartRate Sensor, the Training Summary tab will provide with data including your average heart rate, maximum heart rate and how much of your workout was spent in the “fat burn” zone and/or the “fit” zone. This ability to view and analyze your data will increase the chances that your will stick with your fitness goals and start to see results! So strap on the Polar Loop, get out there, and start tracking your progress!