As some of you who see me on a regular basis will note that I have put on a few kilos in the past 18 months. The bottom line was that whilst I don’t eat much unhealthy food I had completely stopped exercising. Fortunately, at the same time my gut was manifesting its own postcode, we started working with a client who is developing a wearable health device and application, so in order to understand how these devices can truly help your health, a few of us in the office decided to try the Fitbit – the latest craze in fitness monitoring devices.
Worn on the wrist and connected to an iPhone app, the Fitbit is designed to encourage you to reach 10,000 steps per day. Apparently, research demonstrates that this is good for you! So the experiment began…
Holy Crap! Having just worked a standard day at the office, sitting mostly at my desk, I reached only 1350 steps. This was startling. I knew I was lazy but it highlighted the fact that every office worker faces – that sedentary office work without a conscious effort to add exercise into your day will eventually catch you up.
I joined the local gym. Booked a session with the fitness trainer and jumped on the treadmill and jogged for 30min. 6000 Steps! It hurt. But at least I had started. I turn up to work the next day and my colleague, and now stepping buddy Michael, announced he had clocked 11,000 steps. The FitBit app also sent an email ranking me against other FitBit users. Bugger, now the competitive streak in me had just been sparked. This is Gamification at work.
The trainer encouraged me to start a food diary, so I used the Fitbit food log over the next few weeks to track my eating habits. It turned out I WAS eating crap! Whilst a little painful to setup, once you have your regular meals in the app, it is quick and easy to keep track of calorie intake for the day. This little device was highlighting the holes in my overall approach to staying focused on my health.
My target of 10,000 steps, 3 days per week was finally reached and with Michael ‘pulling a hammie’ (whatever) I had my chance in week 2 to get back in the game. I think one of the big successes of the Fitbit app is the Gamification element. It really made my initial few weeks of getting back into the routine of exercise more enjoyable.
Getting to 10,000 steps isn’t easy. I normally have to jog at least for 45 min and combine that with my workday and by 7pm the device buzzes on the wrist to congratulate me on my achievement!
A report from PSFK Labs in collaboration with iQ by intel suggests that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of ‘wearable tech’ trends …
“From wristbands and glasses to clothing and even embedded devices, technologies are undergoing a rapid evolution”. Visit http://www.psfk.com/report/future-of-wearable-tech for the full report.
This table outlines the future trends of wearables, from wristbands, jewellery, clothing and embedded devices in the human body.
So here we are, 3 months down the track and how have I performed? Well, I would have to say I am more obsessed by the Fitbit’s little flashing lights than ever. And last week I averaged over 10,000 steps EVERY day! I have lost a few kilos, still have a 1-pack, but well on my to achieving my weight loss targets.
A friend on Facebook asked me whether I love the Fitbit. I hate it, but I like how it keeps me focused on daily exercise. It is a constant reminder with just the right measures of competitiveness, guilt and satisfied achievement.
I would highly recommend giving it a go. It has certainly worked for me.
Posted by Jason Hawkins on 23 September 2014