Unless you have been under a rock for the past few years you would have heard about “wearable technology”, or at least seen people walking around with bands on their wrists that track their movements. Think Fitbit, AppleWatch, Jawbone, and TomTom etc. In short, it is a device you wear on your body that measures your movement, predominately steps taken during the day.
These devices have varying measuring abilities. Some just measuring steps with others also measuring sleep, heart rate, workouts and a myriad of other activities. Whilst the jury, research and academics are still out on the accuracy of the devices and their varying ability, the research currently suggests they aren’t bad. One thing is for sure, they do measure trend.
For example, disregarding whether the wearable device of choice is 100% accurate, if you begin with a fitbit after a few weeks you may realise you record on average only 3,000 – 4,000 steps a day (not uncommon for office workers). You may decide this behavior needs to change, especially when you hear the recommendation is 10,000 steps a day for healthy individuals. You then decide to implement strategies to increase your daily movement and after two weeks start averaging 7,000-8,000 steps a day. You can confidently know your trend of movement has greatly improved.
This is the power of the wearable technology in regards to healthcare and why money is being poured into this quickly growing area. Apps and devices are coming out all over the place and they’re coming fast with people taking more of a conscious effort to improve their health! But, whilst a fitbit might be a great motivation to start moving more, the trouble is in sustaining the change long term.
With “sitting the new smoking” being touted in the media and the growing health problems that come with a sedentary society, wearable technology can play a big part in combatting this. The key is accountability. PHW started “the Movement Movement” packages within our Health Focused design to assist workplaces with accountability and are exploring more ways to use wearable technology to help with this.
The great use of the wearable technology lies in its ability to form groups. I personally use and have a fitbit and am in a group where we track each other’s weekly movements ensuring we reach our targets. Once a month we do a weekend warrior challenge competing against each other to have the highest step count for that weekend and do various other activities. It is great fun, and something that can be implemented within workplaces relatively cheaply for those concerned with how little their staff move in the office. Without doubt the accountability and being part of a ‘group’ helps everyone and is one of the best ways to increase your movement.
Currently we are creating a ‘Health Focused Design’ office in Richmond and will be having businesses co-work in it whilst running case studies around the improved productivity, health and movement of their staff. Data from this and other client case studies will provide stronger evidence for the concept of this form of office design to improve health outcomes and also improved business and bottom line outcomes. The use of wearable technology will definitely play a part in this and we look forward to keeping you up to date with it.
In the meantime if you do have a Fitbit, AppleWatch, Jawbone, TomTom etc. find a friend and start using accountability to get you moving more!
As always have a healthy & productive day,
- Allens Operations Pty Ltd (Aust) – Australia wide (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane & Perth) - September 24, 2018
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- Australian Physiotherapy Association National office, Victoria - August 2, 2018