In preparation for this, my final blog entry on my experience with the Garmin Vivoactive, I revisited my other two blog posts. It was always going to be an uphill struggle, getting me to take to any smartwatch, so I perhaps should have apologised to Garmin in advance. My attitude at the end of the project is pretty much exactly the same as my attitude at the beginning: boringly ambivalent.
The watch is ok. I haven’t made use of its numerous features: I still don’t quite know what it could add to a game of golf for example. I have, though, worn it regularly for my running and I know that my best time for 5k is 31 minutes when I do about 6+ minutes per km (dog willing).
It has made me slightly more competitive against myself. I can understand how, if you’re training for an event, or if you have a fitness goal it could help. And, if you want to analyse everything, comparing how you did yesterday to today, what was your fastest lap and so on, it’s the tech for you.
The thing is, I don’t. I know my running route, I know roughly how far 5K is and I want to do it around 3 times a week to keep myself reasonably fit. I know when I’m walking a lot and when I’m not so I don’t really feel the need to know exactly how many steps I’ve done. Does anyone? I guess if you are sitting in an office all day and struggling to get in any exercise, knowing that you’ve done 1,000 steps to the bus stop may be heartening, but once you know it, you know it. Is it really worth attaching yourself to the watch in order to confirm it every day?
Call me vain, but I can’t get past the fact that it is a really ugly piece of kit, and looks like a community tag. This is particularly bad for me as I have awfully skinny wrists. No doubt it would look a whole lot better on a man. It’s so bulky that wearing clothes creates issues. Not such a problem in the summer when t-shirts are the order of the day, but when you’re trying to push your arm into something long sleeved, and then get that into a jacket, it can become really awkward.
I can honestly say that – ugliness of the item aside – I don’t think I would have got on any better with the other watches. I am a self-confessed technophobe as stated in my first blog, so the Garmin had an uphill struggle to covert me to anything other. I’m afraid it’s really only confirmed my attitude towards these things, and it took me a lot less time that we had on this experiment to reach that conclusion, so I guess I wasn’t a great subject.
I do wonder, however, whether anyone really uses this type of tech over the long term as part of their fitness/lifestyle regime. Being the Chief Executive of a charity that funds research into bowel cancer, I am fully on board with encouraging physical activity and healthy eating. If these things help others embrace the lifestyle, then who am I to complain?