ANT+ technology for health and fitness
Advanced Network Tools (ANT+) is a managed wireless network used by devices with sensor and display capability to transfer and interpret datai. There are hundreds of devices that natively support ANT+, including many Android smartphones, activity monitors, bike computers, fitness equipment and heart rate sensors. ANT+ devices are interoperable, allowing users to use various displays and sensors together at the same timei. You won't have to worry about ANT+ draining your smartphone battery either, as ANT+ technology is based on the ultra-low power ANT wireless protocolii.
If you own a device that does not feature an inbuilt ANT+ transceiver, such as an iPhone or iPad, you can purchase an ANT+ adapter to enable your device to talk to other ANT+ devices.
Here are just a few ways you use ANT+ compatible devices to keep tabs on your fitness and health.
Monitor your workouts in real-time and analyse them later
The next time you go for a run or bike ride, why not couple your fitness sensors with your smartphone to get real-time feedback on your heart rate, speed, cadence, distance and location? There are many fitness apps available, such as Wahoo Fitness, which can make monitoring your workouts easier by compiling monitoring data from multiple ANT+ compatible sensors in a single display on your smartphone. These ANT+ compatible fitness apps enable you to monitor your progress as you run or ride, and to analyse, save and even share your workouts with friends afterwardsiii.
Compare your performance with competitors
ANT+ technology supports 'many-to-one' transmission, meaning that a large number of transmissions can be made from sensors to a single receiveriv. This makes ANT+ technology ideal for use in competitive sport or fitness environments where multiple participants partake in the same activity, such as gym classes and race eventsiv.
Many gyms around Australia now use ANT+ systems such as MYZONE to capture heart rate data from gym patrons wearing heart rate beltsv. This data is then displayed live on large display monitors in workout areas, alongside the user's name. Smartphone apps such as MYZONE Lite can then be used after a gym workout to view information such as total calories burnt and average effort levels.
The aim of systems such as MYZONE is to promote engagement and motivation in the training environment, with some gyms even running points-based, competitive incentive programs based on factors such as the intensity and frequency of monitored workoutsvi,vii.
Manage your weight
ANT+ compatible weight scales, such as the Tanita Composition Monitor, can be used with compatible ANT+ displays such as watches and smartphones to keep track of your weight. Some ANT+ weight scales can also be used to measure body fat percentage, bone mass and body mass index, providing users with an accurate profile of body compositionviii. Information transmitted from the ANT+ sensor to compatible ANT+ displays can also be saved for later access or shared with others using smartphone apps such as Weight Logger.
Watch your blood pressure
If you have hypertension or any other condition that requires you to keep a close eye on your blood pressure, you can use an ANT+ compatible blood pressure monitor to do so. Wireless blood pressure monitors like the A&D UA-851ANT Ehealth Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor can be in doctor's offices or in the home to send real-time results of blood pressure measurements to ANT+ compatible devices such as smartphones and tablets. Doctors and medical professionals can then use your logged blood pressure results to monitor your health through applications and online health databasesviii.
As more devices continue to natively support ANT+, its various uses should continue to expand to include more than just fitness and health monitoring. Eventually, you'll probably even be able to use your smartphone and other ANT+ enabled devices to automate your home through controlled lighting, thermostats and security systemsix.