Health Apps for iPhone

What is New in the Area of Health Apps for iPhone

Well, I have always been a believer that the iPhone offers a very versatile platform for tracking your exercise, your biking, walking, running…etc health related endeavors we all have.  As you know from this blog postings – I tried the Apple Watch and was rather frustrated with its lack of good repeatable measurements.  At the same time the iPhone has been relatively solid performer with a slew of applications – e.g. (in no particular order):

Earlier last week during the holidays, I decided to figure out how I can aggregate all the apps tracking information via the Apple Health application – why?  because I wanted to track all my walking, jogging, biking, hiking exercise as an aggregate.

Apple iPhone Health App

Apple iPhone Aggregation point

Apple iPhone

Next level of detail

So I tried to accomplish that.  Took me a while to figure out what applications actually interface with the Apple Health app.  

Well, turns out all of the apps have gaps in their ability to synch up with the main Health app

So I am using Argus, Bike+(b+), MountainBike-Pro, and Under Armor Record – all of these applications have the ability to measure relatively accurately the distance, steps, calories, miles of walking, hiking, biking,  BUT – there is the big disappointment – they all have gaps in their ability to interface, synch and feed into the iPhone Health app.

Here is the summary of what I have found so far:

Under Armor Record

The Under Armor Dashboard

 

Under Armor’s Record is the application which allows you to capture your Hiking, Walking and Biking exercise – but when I tried to synch up and connect the app with iPhone Health – I was able to, the apps connected – but I was only able to get the walking results into the Health app.

Why?

I could not tell…!

I tried all sort of options – but NO luck with getting the biking info into the aggregation app.

 

Under-Armor-Record

Dashboard for a ride on Under-Armor-Record

Here is the information from the Under Armor Record application – it properly captured the exercise info but no luck getting it into the Health App

The other issue that i found, although I would say that is a smaller issue as it only relates to how calories are counted.

The Under Armor Record captured my biking distance and calories at a much lower level vs what both Argus and MountainBike Pro recorded.

Again – no big deal as it just means one of them is more accurate – who knows.

 

Here are the other two (Argus, MountainBike Pro):

Argus Mountain Bike

Summary of a ride on Argus Mountain Bike

MountainBike Pro

Summary of a ride with MountainBike Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, net-net, Argus injected the information of calories into the Health App, Under Armor Record injected the Walking data, and the actual Cycling info from all three Apps (Argus, MountainBike Pro, Under Armor Record) never made it in…!  Very frustrating.  Next few days I will try Bike+(b+) to see if it will feed into the Health App – it is supposed to….!  I want to find the way to get all my excise data / results into one place….and I will find a way  to do it.

Will report on my progress in the next posting…

Bike+ and Runtastic Pro Mountain Bike

Today I went on a bike ride with the purpose of both getting back on the trails as well as reviewing a couple of biking applications for IOS / iPhone.   The two applications are Bike+ and Runtastic Pro Mountain Bike;   The second one – Runtastic – has been on my phone and in use for about a year now.  About a year or so ago I reviewed the Free version and now in this posting I will give you a view of the paid for PRO version.

Before we get to that one, lets first take a summary view of the Bike+ app.  I just downloaded it about a week ago, and today decided to give it a try.  It came with a lot of promises – apparently Bike+ was developed by bike pros and is supposed to address many of the needs of the biking enthusiast.

Biking applications Biking statistics application Bike+ Biking Application

The application offers quite a few capabilities among which are the ability to give you real time assessment of the climbing conditions you are experiencing as well as the usual speed, distance, time duration;   Also interestingly, the application allows you to enter tags for hazards you may encounter on the trail / road and via the application share with other users.  The application allows also integration with the Pebble Smart Watch – but NO Apple Watch integration that I know of (or being planned).

Bike+ biking statistics Bike+ biking statistics Bike+ biking statistics

Now about the negatives that I observed:  (1) the Grade reading and update should be happening more frequently hence with higher precision.  I noticed that I was climbing for several minutes before the field on the front panel updated.  You tend to miss some of the real time feedback – may be the software captures it and it is just that you do not see the real situation;  I am guessing this could be addressed easily by way of doing more frequent reads of the GPS by the application code; (2) By default the front panel / screen is not locked in and as a result only 5 minutes into my ride the screen was turned off – I had to manually turn the screen on – after the ride I found the option in the Settings allowing me to lock the screen in display mode – but that should have been the default state rather than auto turn off.   So not big issues – I will give it another try or two to experience it fully;

Now about Runtastic PRO Mountain Bike:

I bought the PRO version more than a year ago.  It is actually a very useful little program.

Rungtastic PRO Mountain bikin Runtastic biking application Runtastic PRO Mountain Biking software

Runtastic allows you to view a whole bunch of statistics as well – and be able to measure the distance, calories burnt, time on the track, speed, elevation climbed, etc.  All in all a fairly useful set of statistics for amateur biking enthusiasts like me.

IMG_4821 Runtastic PRO biking application Runtastic PRO biking application

In terms of some deficiencies – about the only one I have experienced is when I bike with my iPhone 6 Plus and the phone is mounted on my bike via a case that aligns it in a landscape view on the screen. Unfortunately, Runtastic Pro does not re-orient itself in landscape mode – it remains in portrait and as a result tough to read.

All in all, I will test the Bike+ a bit longer and see which one I like better – Runtastic PRO or Bike+

Enjoy your rides!

Adding a Smart Phone Holder to My Bicycle – A Way to Use Cycle Tracker Pro

I have been posting about my experiences with the Cycle Tracker PRO which is the alternative I use for a cycling computer.  Until now I was just placing my iPhone in a pouch after I turn on the GPS tracking on the phone.  Yesterday, after using the program on my iPhone for about 3-4 months now, I decided to add a holder for the phone on my bike.  

I looked around at various options on the Web — they all have very different ways in which the holder attaches to your bike.  Some use just spring loaded mechanism which is supposed to grip the handlebar of your bike, others have more substantial friction based approach.  

Here are the ones I saw on Amazon for sale:

       

I personally went with the Delta model.  It looked most sturdy and secure to ensure that the phone does not go flying off the bike if and when I hit a sizeable bump…

Here are the photos from my installation. 

Delta Smart Phone Caddy on my bike   Delta Smart Phone Caddy – Another view – It is very sturdy

Delta Smart Phone Caddy – Just installed — Next need to put my iPhone in it   Delta Smart Phone Caddy with my iPhone-4 in it – ready to go…

Now the bike is ready to go  

The actual installation was very easy.  All I had to do is remove the cap and bolt from the stem of my bike handlebars, take off the cap from the bolt, and replace that with the base of the Delta Caddy.  Then I gently tightened the bolt into the stem securing the holder of the Caddy.  Ideally you want to have a wrench which allows you to measure about 4Nm force when tightening the stem bolt, but if you do not have that wrench you can just feel it.  

Once the base was attached to the stem, all I had to do is attach the rest of the Caddy to the base by using the provided bolt and nut.  Then you just need to fit your iPhone or other smart phone into the Caddy and you are ready to go…!

 

 

A Glitch in the Cycle Tracker PRO or Super Speed on My Bike

Last week I posted a quick update on my 29-inch HardTail Rockhopper mountain bike and the high speeds it can achieve as a result of the nice 29-inch wheels… This week I did my usual morning ride to meet a friend and fired up the Cycle Tracker PRO software to record my to and from treks. Well I did have a nice ride with good speeds (als as a result of the good hills along the way) but on the way back it turns out I hit EXTRAORDINARY speeds !!! 

Take a look at the snap from the Speed Graph 

Crazy Speed on a Recent Ride Do you believe this? Cycle Tracker PRO snapshot

I would say that is a glitch in the Cycle Tracker PRO tracking algorithm….or else I have gained magical capabilities 🙂  

Who knows?!?! May be I have 🙂