Omron HJ-720IT Pedometer
I’ll admit it, I am a complete geek when it comes to gadgets. I am constantly looking for new devices to automate every aspect of my life. I have no idea why I find this so fascinating but I do. So when my wife suggested that perhaps we should start walking to get a little exercise; the first thing I did was to begin looking at pedometers.
In its simplest form a pedometer is attached to your waistband and will measure the number of steps that you take in the course of a day. Obviously though I was not interested in the simplest form of a device. No, I had to find the most tricked out pedometer on the planet.
I wanted something that would not only document the number of steps I took but would also provide other data that could be used to determine how efficient I was walking. I began my search for the ultimate pedometer and after exhaustive research I found the Omron HJ-720IT pedometer.
The HJ-720IT will calculate the number of steps you take but also offers several other features. For example, you can calibrate the pedometer by entering your weight and length of stride and the device will calculate how many steps you have taken, the number of calories you have burned, and the distance you have travelled. It will also measure the pace of the walking you have done as well as the time you have taken. With these measurements it can determine if you have entered aerobic exercise range and will calculate the number of steps and the time you spent working out aerobically.
All of these data points are supposed to help you understand what type of exercise you are getting and how long the exercise is lasting. Of course having all of this information on your pedometer is great but who wants to have to go home each night and write down the data for tracking your progress?
The people at Omron understand what a pain that is so they designed the HJ-720IT with a mini-USB port that can be connected to a personal computer running Windows. The pedometer comes with health management software that will download the information from the device and enter the data in a proprietary Microsoft Access database.
The data is then presented to the user in graph format. Within the software you can set daily goals for each of the measurements. When the data is downloaded from the pedometer it is compared against the goals and will display which days you reached your goal and which days you were unsuccessful.
The software is fairly straight forward to use. You can create separate user accounts for each person having a pedometer. The software will recognize when the pedometer is attached to the computer and if you try to download the data in the wrong user account you are given a warning.
Initially the software would only support Windows XP but a recent release has also made the software available for Windows Vista as well. I’ve attempted to find out whether a new version will be made available for Windows 7 but no work yet from the manufacturer.
The display on the pedometer itself will display data for the last seven days but the pedometer itself will store data for up to 45 days after which you will get a few days of warning to down the data on the pedometer. If you ignore the warnings the pedometer will cease collecting data until it is downloaded.
Once data has been downloaded to the computer it is erased from the pedometer so I would definitely recommend backing up the database on the computer regularly to avoid losing anything.
The HJ-720IT pedometer runs on a single 2032 wafer battery. The battery life is roughly 6 months regardless of whether the pedometer is used or not. The device does give you some warning when the battery is low but not very much so when the display begins flashing, make sure you replace the battery soon.
Overall the device has worked flawlessly. It has given me an indication of exactly how sedentary I have actually become which is kind of depressing to think about. Having the data in graph form has been interesting and I can see what times of day I am most idle.
I do wish there was a Macintosh version of the software but that does not seem to be a high priority to Omron making it fairly useless for Mac users. The software will also interface with Omron’s blood pressure devices to allow you to track your blood pressure as well as your walking activities.
While I probably didn’t need a pedometer with a computer interface it has been fun to watch and see how my walking activities have changed since I’ve started using it. I would recommend the HJ-720IT but with the caveat that you need a Windows PC to make it useful. For now, I have to go, I’m still 7,231 steps away from my daily goal and the day is half over.