In my post, "Taking a Break", I explored the reasons for taking a break and looked at the latest research on the length of break you need to take and the frequency. In my last blog post, "Get Moving" I looked at how you can move while working. In this post I want to review the technology solutions that are out there.
Most of the technology solutions currently available are wearable activity trackers. These products are basically advanced sensors that come embedded inside of bracelets or clips that hook onto your clothing. They measure your daily activity (steps taken and calories burned), sleep, and through an associated app, diet. Below I list some of the common trackers.
1. Apple Watch
Everyone knows that Apple is about to launch the Apple Watch which will have a plethora of health and fitness functionalities. However the Apple Watch heavily relies on the iPhone to function and is not really considered a standalone device. But I want to focus on one interesting feature which is that ten minutes before each hour, the Apple Watch taps on their arms as an alert to ecourage you to stay active or just simply stand up. I can see this being essential for people who want to stay active but find they lose track of time when they work.
2. Jawbone UP
The company’s wearable activity tracker, Jawbone UP includes a step counter, sleep tracker and an idle alert, which offers reminders to users by buzzing if they are inactive. What is neat about Jawbone is that it links to your calendar from your iPhone and see what your schedule is with meetings and we can say — rather than buzzing you during the middle of your board meeting — we can actually wait until the end and give you some insight.
3. Nike+ Fuelband
What is good about the Nike+ Fuelband activity tracker is that lets you set an activity goal, you can press a button on an LED screen to check your progress, and displays a green light when you have achieved your goal. However it can be inaccurate if for some reason you happen to move your hands swiftly throughout the day.
4. Fitbit One
Fitbit One is the best holistic tracking of activity, diet and sleep and is good value compared to some of the other activity trackers. The app creates graphs, charts and tools based on your data and lets you easily log food, water, weight, food plans and more. It is especially good for women as you can clip it in the center of your bra, rather than trying to blend in a wrist based activity tracker with your outfit.
“I'll help you unclog your mind and uncramp your body”, is the promise of HotSeat health app that turns short breaks into meaningful activity through nudges and social accountability. What I like about this application is that it allows you to create competition - which are always very motivational!
Darma - The Hitech Cushion
Digital health upstart Darma have developed a cushion that aims to help people take control of their sitting habits. It helps you remember to maintain good posture when sitting down for long periods of time. The cushion contains one millimeter-thick fiber optic sensors that sense the user’s movements. The pillow also has embedded sensors that detect heart rate, stress level, and respiration. All of this information is sent to a companion app on the user’s smartphone. The app can then track a user’s stress level, sitting time, and posture and try to motivate users to get up every now and then. It will also alert users when they’ve slipped into a bad position and explain how to correct their posture. If users are feeling back pain, the app can guide them through stretches that might help relieve it. To me this more directly provides relevant information to help my clients than some of the more wearable technology solutions. I am looking forward to its launch later this year, until then there is always massage!