How To Talk In English About New Fitness Technology
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Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our weekly podcast, which goes out every Monday and aims to help people who are learning English and who want to become fluent in English conversation. We launched our Most Common 500 Word Course a couple of weeks ago. This course is really good value for money and contains a number of recordings for you to listen to – articles and conversations in English – all using ONLY the most common 500 words in English.
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So today’s podcast. One of my Christmas presents last year – that means a gift that someone bought me last Christmas – was a Mi Band. If you don’t know what one of these is, then you may have heard instead of a Fit Bit – that’s the more common brand name for this type of device, though a Fit Bit is a lot more expensive than a Mi Band. So whether it’s a Mi Band or a Fit Bit or some other similar device, it is basically a piece of technology, a strap which you wear on your wrist, rather like a watch. A watch is something that you wear and it tells the time. And your wrist, W-R-I-S-T is the part of your arm, just above your hand, where you would wear your watch or a bracelet. So the Mi Band or Fit Bit is a piece of technology, which you wear like a watch, but it can tell you all kinds of information about your body. So it will measure how long you sleep and what kind of sleep you had. It will measure distance and speed if you’re walking or running. It’ll even display a little map of where you’ve been. It also counts the number of steps that you‘ve taken in a day. So even if you’ve been only in your kitchen, cooking – it will tell you how many miles you’ve walked between the fridge, the cooker and the kitchen sink. It will also measure your heart rate. Your heart rate? Well your heart is the organ in your body, in your chest, which pumps the blood round the body. It goes dut-dut-dut-dut – and we measure it in beats per minute. So one of those dut-dut-dut is called a heartbeat and the speed at which your heart beats is called your heart rate. So a good heart rate when you are resting would be 50 or 60 beats per minute – we call this your ‘resting heart rate’. If you exercise, for most people their heart rate goes up pretty fast. And some peoples’ resting heart rate is faster – it could be 70-90 beats per minute. But this usually shows you’re not as fit, not as healthy, if your heart rate is higher.
So before I had my Mi Band for Christmas, I was only vaguely, only dimly aware of these things. But now every day, I synch my Mi Band with my mobile phone – and I have lots of information about what my body is doing. Fascinating! When I say ‘synch’ my Mi Band with my mobile phone, synch, so S-Y-N-C-H – this verb is short for ‘to synchronise’ – and this just means that you have got two pieces of technology to talk to one another. The technology we use usually for doing this is called Bluetooth. If you listen to Adept English podcasts on your mobile phone, but you’ve also got it to come through your car radio, from your phone – we’d say that you‘d synched your car radio and your phone. So if you have Bluetooth in your car – and you haven’t tried this yet – why not? Download a few podcasts or buy one of our courses – and you could be learning English with me, while you’re driving to work. Lovely! Or actually, if you’re on your own, you could even practise your pronunciation with me. I bet you can’t wait!
Back to the Mi Band though. As I said, I now have lots of information about what my body is doing. Previously, I wasn’t very good at going to bed and usually didn’t get enough sleep. I do like to stay up late and I’m one of those people who has their best ideas late at night. However, when you have the information every day on your phone about how little you have slept, it’s a great incentive, it’s a great encouragement to go to bed a bit earlier and be more careful about how much sleep you have. It seems to know once you are lying in bed – and starts recording your awake times and the times when you’re sleeping. So if like me, you wake up sometimes in the night – usually with lots of thoughts about what you’re going to do, you can see afterwards actually how long you were awake. It also records your sleep, and it records your light sleep and your deep sleep. Deep sleep is the really important part of sleep when you are more soundly, more deeply asleep and hard to wake up. The device measures this by recording how often you move and how much your heart rate has slowed down. Some experts say that you can’t really tell accurately which type of sleep a person is having, unless you monitor brain waves – so you’d need a device stuck to your head for that. I can’t really see that catching on – meaning I can’t really see how many people would want to attach a device to their head when they go to bed. So although the band isn’t completely accurate, I think it has some degree of accuracy – by this I mean that it’s correct, it’s right a lot of the time. If I’m awake in the night – the results show next morning. And when I feel like I’ve had a really good sleep, I can see that my Mi Band has recorded a lot of deep sleep. So I think it has some accuracy. But it means that I’m much better at going to bed and I do take more care to make sure that I get enough sleep. And I feel better for it.
What has also happened for me, is that this device, my Mi Band has also meant that I’ve paid attention to how much exercise I’m getting. So exercise is both a noun or a verb – you can say ‘I’m going to get some exercise’, ‘I’m going to do some exercise’ or you can say ‘I’m going to exercise’. So examples of doing exercise would be swimming, walking, running, cycling – or playing football. Now I have a job which means I sit a lot. All day long sometimes. So my Mi Band tells me just how little exercise I get on the days when I’m working. So this year, I also decided to do more exercise. My heart rate is pretty slow, I’m lucky. But I thought that probably it would be good for me to do some more exercise and be more healthy.
So I have been going running and using my Mi Band to monitor my running. It logs the number of steps, how far I go, what speed I run – even the average length of my stride. So my stride length is the distance between where foot number one lands on the ground (when I’m running) and then foot number two lands. I’m not sure quite why I need this information, but it does tell me. It also quite cleverly uses GPS. GPS is Global Positioning System – that’s what it stands for. And it uses this to tell me where I’ve been. In case I didn’t know, perhaps! Anyway, after my run, it gives me a map of where I went. Again it’s not absolutely accurate, because I’ve done the same run – and yet it’s measured it at a slightly different distance sometimes. I’m told that this is maybe because the satellites which are used by the GPS move around.
So I have been running since January – and I had a little break over the summer, because it was too hot to run. That is true, even though it’s the UK. I’ve come back to it in September and I’m not sure whether I’m going to continue with running as my exercise. Although I can see it’s probably good for my health, I can also see that my heart rate, which is really low – shoots up when I run. And I don’t really enjoy it very much. So I’m just experimenting with taking up cycling instead. I’ve decided what route I’m going to take and when I’m going to cycle – and I hope that this will raise my heart rate enough to improve my health and fitness level.
My Mi Band however, doesn’t have an app for cycling, only for running. So it thinks I’m doing really, really well – I’m running really really fast, when actually I’m speeding along on my bike. Perhaps I ought to come clean with it, perhaps I ought to be honest – and tell it I’m on a bike. We live on a hill, so I do make sure that there is part of each bike ride where I’m puffing and panting and my heart rate is going dut-dut-dut-dut – just to make sure that I’m getting enough exercise. And it’s good to have a device measuring it for me.
Anyway – there is some vocabulary for you about fitness monitors and exercise. Enough for now, have a lovely day, speak to you again soon. Goodbye.