Logging Exercise and Effort Level on Activity Trackers

My Jawbone activity tracker app has a nifty feature which can sense when I have been on a walk or other activity where I have taken a lot of steps and will prompt me to enter my activity type and effort level, this will also come up when you manually enter an activity along with start time and duration.  As I haven’t used any other tracker I am unsure whether they have this feature as well or not.

Why are these things important and what do they mean?

The activity type is pretty self explanatory as the tracker gives you options for activity types you may have done (walking, cross train, bike etc) logging the type will give the tracker app information on the kind of work out you have partaken in and the basic level calories you will have burned (approximately).

Start time and duration are either logged for you, if your activity tracker picks this information up automatically, otherwise, note the time you started the activity and what the duration was.

The last thing to log is Effort Level.  My app for Jawbone gives me a few different options – Easy, Moderate, In the Zone, Difficult and Gut Buster.  But how do you decide which one to use?  I use a checking system based on breath, heart rate, body temp and sweat levels (sounds gross but trust me on this…)  Here’s how I calculate Effort –


Easy – Breathing is normal, heart rate is normal, body temperature has remained the same (don’t feel any hotter temperature wise), not broken out into a sweat.


Moderate – Breathing is a bit quicker but you are able to hold a full conversation with no trouble, heart rate is a tiny bit quicker but not that noticeable, body temperature has risen slightly and skin feels slightly damp (noticeable under arms, and lower back)


In the Zone – Breathing is quicker, you can talk but are out of breath quickly, heart rate is faster and noticeable, body temperature has risen a lot and you feel hot, you are feeling hot in the face, and you feel sweaty (most noticeable on back, underarms and face)


Difficult – Breathing is even quicker, it is hard to talk more than a few words at a time, heart rate is noticeably quick, you can feel it pumping and even hear it, you are hot all over (and may have removed a layer of clothing in order to cool down), you are sweating a lot and you feel damp all over.


Gut Buster – Breathing is hard to the extent where you cant even speak, heart rate is pounding, you feel really hot and the sweat is pouring off you.  (I have never got to this stage!)

The other way you could measure this when walking is by incline and terrain type

Easy –  where the terrain is flat and smooth, there are no inclines or declines that are noticible.

Moderate – the terrain is slightly rocky or pot holed, there are few inclines that gently rise and fall.

In the Zone – the terrain is rough with several inclines that rise steeply but level out after a short time before rising again.

Difficult – the terrain is rocky with steep, long inclines and declines.

Gut Buster – the terrain is unwelcoming and hard to navigate, it is steep to almost vertical and in some instances specialist equipment and knowledge may be needed to continue (think rock climbing and Ben Nevis).

How do you decide on your effort level?

And now for yesterdays stats…how did I do?


I did better than yesterday!  I’m feeling better today and have more energy which is a good thing!  Hopefully I am on the mend!  🙂


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