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Awareness and Motivation: My case for wearable tech

How using wearable technology made me more health conscious and thoughts on how we can take it further.

Photo of Gaelle Gouraige
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FitBit. Jawbone Up. Garmin. Simple, stylish, and functional. While wearables have been around for awhile now, it wasn't really until the close of 2014 that we really started to see a greater variety for the consumer to choose from. And as companies like Jawbone released updated versions of their signature fitness tracker, the UP band, older models dropped in price, thereby reducing the barrier to entry for consumers. Being one of those consumers, I would know.

I had all of the free health and fitness apps and while I could get myself to be diligent enough to use MyFitnessPal to log my food and water intake, when it came to my overall activity levels, I could not for the life of me be bothered to wear one of those clip-on pedometers (what on earth do they go with?) or try to use my phone to "sense" my heart rate. Nor was I about to shell out upwards of $100 on a piece of tech I could place on my nightside table to figure out how well I slept.

Then my sister got a fitness tracker for Christmas that doubled up as a digital watch. It wasn't cumbersome, fit her personal style and turned her into a super stepping, super sleeping and healthier eating machine. So I perused the after Christmas sales and picked up a band for myself. Because as a late 20 something, I wasn't about to shell out big bucks for something that might end up collecting dust in about a month.

Well it's six months later and the red band around my right wrist is ubiquitous as the hair bands that sit underneath it. I never realised just how many steps I actually took. Or some days didn't take. I learned that when I tell my husband it takes me about an hour to fall asleep I was not at all exaggerating. I got helpful nudges in the form of a soft vibration that I've been inactive for too long and should take my eyes away from the computer screen and take a walk. I learned how many calories I burn per day and how many I should consume. I also got tips as to what I should actually be eating in the first place. The best part of all of this? Most of the time I forget I'm wearing the band, but the band still records all of my data- making updating my information impossibly easy.

It got me thinking- As wearable tech with a fitness tracking component begins to flood the marketplace, isn't this a fun and great opportunity to teach those who know little about their own health and fitness about living a healthy lifestyle? Perhaps this is the reality check that many need to make a turnaround. And with the social aspect that accompanies the apps tied to said wearables, you can find yourself in a community that is ready to embrace you.

There is a health revolution just hovering on the horizon. And soon, it won't cost much to get swept up in it. The key to living a healthier, more active lifestyle is encouragement. Having this encouragement come from your family, colleagues and peers can change they way that being "healthy" is perceived. This is done by embracing the social nature of these wearables and keeping the costs low, so as not to reduce any barriers to entry.

Perhaps for kids growing up, this new mindset might become the norm. They look at older generations and wonder how on earth we were okay sitting in front of our screens for hours on end. They might ask why we spent so much money on fitness videos and nutritionists when such personalised advice is free. They may wonder how food companies kept us in the dark about what we were putting into our bodies, keeping us so naive.

Wearables have the ability to democratise the approach to health and fitness--and as I know from my own personal experience, it can only be for the better.

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Photo of Ahmed Rub

Many insights out of your story !!! thank you for sharing. Im using wearable technology myself and I can tell you every time I achieve my goal our reveal new achievement I get happy and inspired !. at the end of the day when I check my steps and I find out that I need to walk few steps or move a little to achieve my (today-goal), I just stand up and do it !

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great story share Gaelle! We're looking forward to the ideas that these provocations will spark. The Ideas Phase of this challenge just started. Hope to see you there!

Photo of Gaelle Gouraige

Thanks, Shane- Looking forward to it!