Then, I started to warm to the idea, especially after understanding there are two types of IMs -- moderate intensity, and vigorous intensity. Vigorous minutes count for 2 moderate intensity minutes. This way, you can set a week's goal and hit it with some intense minutes, running, elliptical or hopefully stationary bike (not walking/running/ellipticaling exercise) in my case, or with some moderate minutes - like walking which I do a lot of - particularly in a two dog household
and with a downstairs treadmill + flat screen TV setup.
So I did a little math (emphasis on little):
4 days minimum of 30 minutes running = 240 intensity minutes
1 day minimum of 90 minutes running = 180 intensity minutes
420 intensity minutes from running alone
That's what I set my weekly goal as, with the expectation on a good week I will hit 720 minutes from running alone -- a three hour run equaling 360 minutes all by itself - and four additional runs averaging 45 minutes = 360, plus another five days of 20 minutes walking per day or some biking could easily get me up to 720. What good are Garmin goals if you can't smash them on a regular basis?
Activity minutes seem to be activated, according to Garmin Connect, from ten continuous minutes of step activity. I confirmed this today from a 10+ minute walk around the block with dog #1. When I started walking, the IM screen on the Vivosmart HR started flashing. And after ten minutes, the minutes started increasing. This is what I'm talking about:
This is what Garmin Connect (web) looked like before my walk:
1180 fairly easy dog walking steps = 10 intensity minutes (and a heart rate spike to 98bpm). (Note - the distance on the band showed .38 miles on a 1 mile course, even though I've custom selected my step length properly. Not sure what's going on, but I think the Vivosmart HR might be a little funky on the distance measurement - the Vivosmart classic was definitely better. But I digress...
Now, for my next trick, a trip to the gym to see how a stationary bike ride (stepless motion but with an activity created on the watch) will work.
I hit the stationary bike for 15 minutes, creating an activity on the Vivosmart HR at the start, ending at the end, syncing when done. I got a good HR reading, and pedaled away. A few minutes into it my band slid down (I didn't take my own advice and tighten it a notch before exercise, serves me right) and had a little dropout until I readjusted it. But it gave what seemed like an accurate hr reading which was expected.
Unfortunately, the minutes didn't show on my watch as Intensity Minutes. Zero, zilch. Let's examine what Garmin says about Intensity Minutes: "You must do at least 10 minutes of moderate or higher intensity activity at a time to get your health benefits and for your Garmin activity tracker to count it." Meaning: waving your arms for 10 minutes, either running, walking, or ellipticaling but not biking, unless you pedal and flap your wings at the same time.
I repeated the exercise on an elliptical which bore this out. 20 minutes on the elliptical gave me 20 intensity (therefore they were moderate minutes) on the treadmill. I kept my avg HR under 110 - not sure what the trigger is for vigorous intensity, but this workout didn't do it.
Garmin needs to allow the HRM to trigger activity minutes to make it useful. Or bikers, yoga-ers, etc., will cry themselves to sleep at night onto their Vivosmart HR, possibly shorting out the Elevate HR modules on the fitband.
Otherwise, let's just stick to Total Activity Time (below, seen on Garmin Connect web), and Garmin should create a window for it on the Vivosmart HR and on Connect Mobile rather than the rather silly (in current incarnation) Intensity Minutes.
See newer post: Intensity Minutes part ii