Healthy Living Tool Box: Nike+

by Stephanie on February 22, 2011 · 0 comments

in Healthy Living Toolbox

Nike+ has been integral in my personal progress in running and weight loss over the past several months, so I thought it only fitting that I share it!

Nike+ is the result of a partnership between Apple and Nike.  It works with the iPod Nano, iPod Touch, and iPhone and tracks your time, distance, pace, and calories burned while running or walking.  It uses a sensor in your shoe which talks to your device.

Some Nike shoes have a cutout under the insole where the sensor fits.  I don’t wear Nikes though, so I just bought a cheap little pouch that attaches to the laces of my shoes and holds the sensor.  It’s worked great!  The Nike+ sensor costs $19.  The iPod Touch and the iPhone come with built in support for Nike+ in the form of an app.  Just go to Setting and enable the feature.  If you have an iPod Nano you need to purchase the $29 Nike+ Sports Kit, which includes an adaptor that lets the sensor and iPod talk to each other.

When you first start using it you will be asked to calibrate it to your running and walking stride.  This helps keep the distance accurate.  You also have the opportunity to double check your distance and calibrate it at the end of every workout.  I find that my distance is pretty close to actual, but I calibrate about once a week especially on longer runs.  Calories burned is calculated based on your age and weight, which you enter.  The pace is something that I take with a grain of salt.  It will read slightly differently depending on weather I hold it in my hand, have it in a pocket, or have it in an armband.  It’s a good approximation but I pay most attention to the average pace given in the workout summary.

While you’re running you can see all the data (time, pace, distance, etc) on the screen and if you push the main button it will say your current stats out loud via speakers or connected headphones.  When using an iPod Touch or iPhone you can go to other apps and Nike+ will continue to run in the background.  This is really nice!  You can also, of course, listen to music while using the program.  At the end of milestone workouts famous athletes like Lance Armstrong and Paula Radcliffe will come on and congratulate you on your longest/fastest/farthest workout.  That’s kind of fun =)

Now, when you’re done working out you can upload your workouts to the Nike+ website and track your progress.  And of course I take the calories burned from the workout summary and enter them into the Lose It! app.  That way I know where I stand with my calories for the day and week.  This has really shown me how important exercise is in losing weight.  It’s so much easier to stay under my calories when I have some extra from working out!

If you want a more accurate distance tracker, you can download the Nike+ GPS app for the iPhone or the iPod Touch.  This uses the GPS in your device to more accurately track your distance.  The app only costs $1.99 and has good reviews but I haven’t made the leap.  There are other similar apps out there in the iDevice world as well but I’ve been happy with this so far.  It’s not perfect, but it’s worked great for me.  If I do try the other options, I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have any of you used Nike+?  What do you think?

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