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Heart-rate monitoring has been the simplest way to measure and rate physical activity for a long time. But understanding what it means, helping people understand it, and then using the results to get people more active remained baffling.
If those behind the MyZone company (www.myzone.org) have their way, that is about to change with the delivery this month of the first proprietary measurement straps and upload kiosks.
“We are rewarding effort,” said CEO Dave Wright, based in England near London. “You have to find something to motivate people to get them moving.”
MyZone technology, now patent-pending, uses a heart-rate strap (about $55) with its own memory chip that tracks a person’s movement, no matter where they are using it – at the club, at the park, at a school, gardening, or walking the dog even. Everything resides in the belt, said COO Mike Leveque.
The other part of the system is key: A kiosk ($3,000) that will read what is on a user’s memory chip if they pass within about 50 yards of it. Once downloaded, the data can be interpreted and tracked – either by a trainer if the person is a member of a health club, or on their own as a member of the MyZone community on the website (www.myzonemoves.com).
Although launched at the IHRSA health club show, the dream goes far beyond that, with a lofty goal per Wright of 100 million users in the next 24-36 months.
“This is more than just a health club product,” Wright said, as he prepared for a meeting with England’s largest chain of markets. “Anyone can exercise anywhere.”
A kiosk at a local market would be like an ATM down the street for users, he explained. They can just swing by to “drop off” their data. And whether the user is accessing it on the website or via a trainer at a club, its goal is to encourage the less conditioned, Wright stressed.
“This says, ‘Hey, guess what? Do the best you can,’” he said. “This encourages and rewards the effort that’s applicable to each person.”
As the development and launch whirlwind progresses for Wright and Leveque, among others, the company is also developing visual displays for group exercise classes and point systems for achieving different heart-rate ranges. Thus, users can compete with themselves in classes or during other workouts based on points and not any one level. Watch some videos and demos on the company’s YouTube channel.
The system also allows corporations, hospitals and wellness centers to really know what a person has done. The knowledge is especially applicable to companies who could save money on insurance if they can product evidence its employees are physically active and therefore healthier.
Product is very limited, Wright said, with the first deliveries sold out.
“The heart rate is the only direct measurement related to personal fitness and well-being. It gives you relevant data,” Leveque said. “This really is the only product that makes movement measureable.