Activity tracking – Why is it important to measure elevation

Blog Post written by Jonathan @ Withings |

Among the metrics tracked by the Withings Pulse, there is elevation. But what are we talking about? Does it mean this smart tracker has an altimeter? How does it work? Why would someone want to know this? Let’s elevate the debate and learn all about the second metric displayed by the Pulse’s screen.

The explanation

take the stairsWhen you walk up a flight of stairs you burn more calories than if you just walk the same distance on a horizontal plane. If you are serious about tracking your activity it is important to have a tracker that does more than just counting steps. This is why, beyond steps, the Pulse also measures the vertical distance you climb. In the end, taking elevation into account provides a much more accurate calorie-tracking.

Elevation has many shapes

The Withings Pulse counts all your upward steps, whether you are exiting the subway, swallowing steps 4 by 4, or you are slowly but surely conquering the Mont Blanc climbingin the Alps. The Pulse tracks it all, and converts them into burned calorie equivalents.

An informative metric

girl running up stairsYou get an interesting feedback when you consult the elevation data on your Pulse. After a balad or a race you can instantly see how many feet/meters you’ve moved vertically. You can even try to guess it with your friends! You’ll be surprised by how steep that flat stretch actually is. Some of the bigger trackers use an altimeter to measure this, but the tiny Withings Pulse is able to calculate the same data, thanks to its high precision MEMS 3-axis accelerometer and carefully carved algorithm.

Know when to take the stairs

When you are wondering how active you have been today, and if you should take the stairs instead of the elevator coming back from work, the Withings Pulse comes in handy. Whip out your Pulse, press the top button twice, and check how much elevation it has measured so far today. See a low number? “No problem! I’ll take the stairs!”. See a high number? “OK! I could take the elevator… But I’m going to use the stairs anyway! Wow this Pulse device really turned me into an active person!”.

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