There is a silver lining (or two) to having a spinal fusion & not being able to run.
I’m serious. Hear me out.
If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, or if you know me in real life, you may remember that I was a big fan of running on a treadmill. I know that’s uncommon for runners. But I can’t help it. I like air conditioning and TV. I also liked yoga classes and working out in a gym in general.
So despite being active, I had a tendency to be an indoors sort of girl.
I had to stop running in December 2015, and I stopped going to the gym a few months later. We’ve since cancelled our family gym membership.
So here’s where that silver lining comes in: I can no longer get the exercise I need by staying inside. Sure, I can stretch and foam roll and do my PT exercises in my house. But unless I want to walk laps around my living room (I don’t), I need to exercise outdoors. And that’s a good thing. Having back surgery has forced me to spend more time being active outside.
I’ve had to find new ways to move my muscles and clear my head in the fresh air. My favorite, of course, is walking on the beach. I take water aerobics and splash around the pool with my kids. I go on long sightseeing walks (and the occasional bike ride) with my family. We’ve been kayaking, and I even went sledding in Colorado.
So. Many. Gadgets.
Back when running was my primary form of exercise, I used a pretty basic GPS watch (which I loved). It tracked my distance and pace, and it allowed me to time my run/walk intervals.
It wasn’t really designed to be a fitness tracker though, so I also used a FitBit Flex to track my daily activity and my sleep.
In 2015, I also began experimenting with the Maffetone Method (heart rate training). Neither my GPS watch nor my FitBit had a heart rate monitor, so I had to wear a separate chest strap + wrist band to track my heart rate.
And of course, if I wanted to listen to music on my runs, I had to be connected with my iPod or smart phone.
That’s a lot of gadgets for one little run. (No wonder I liked the treadmill. Everything I needed was built-in. Plus did I mention the air conditioning?)
One Gadget, So Many Uses
My favorite thing about the TomTom Adventurer is that it’s a whole bunch of gadgets rolled into one.
Fitness tracker? Check. It records my daily steps, miles, active minutes, calories burned, and sleep.
Sports watch? Yep. You can use it for running (road, treadmill, and trail), hiking, cycling (outdoors & on a stationary bike), swimming, skiing, snowboarding, and more. It can track pace, distance, speed, intervals, elevation, and it can even help you plan your routes ahead of time. It’s also water resistant up to 130 feet.
Heart rate monitor? Indeed. The TomTom Adventurer measures your pulse directly from your wrist – bye bye, chest strap! It also help you find and track your personal heart rate training zones.
Music? Yes, that too. It has a built-in music player that you can listen to with bluetooth headphones (included).
Snacks? Well, no. Not yet. But anything is possible, right?
My Experience with the TomTom Adventurer
I’ve been using the TomTom Adventurer for a few weeks now, and while I haven’t quite mastered all the bells & whistles yet, here’s what I can tell you so far.
Comfort: The Adventurer is surprisingly comfortable for such a hefty watch. It’s lighter than it looks, and it fits my (very small) wrists well. In fact, it’s comfortable enough to use as an everyday watch.
User Friendly: My old GPS watch has 4 different buttons, all serving different purposes. The Adventurer is navigated via one large, square button (press up, down, right, or left) that vibrates when pressed. The watch face is large and easy-to-read, and it includes both the time & date.
Battery: The Adventurer uses a proprietary charger that syncs the watch with your computer. I found the charger a little difficult to connect at first, but it was fine once I got a feel for it. The battery life is good. I use the watch periodically throughout the day (not 24/7), and I only need to charge it every few days.
Fitness Tracking: This watch seems to work just as well as my FitBit Flex, in terms of tracking my daily & weekly steps, mileage, calories, etc. I haven’t used it to track my sleep – it just seems too large to be worn comfortably all night.
App: The TomTom Sports app is straightforward and pretty easy to use. You can use it to set goals and to determine your personal heart rate zones. You can also sync your data with other sports apps like MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, Strava, NikePlus, and more.
Music: I haven’t been able to figure out how to sync my Adventurer with my iTunes account yet. I’m not super tech savvy, and the instructions (both written and online) are a bit outside my wheelhouse. Still, I love the idea of this feature and I plan to use it – I just need to learn how.
You can learn more about the TomTom Adventurer on TomTom.com. It retails for $349.99 but is currently available online for $297.49. And I’m happy to answer any questions for you about my personal experience – just leave them in the comments!