When it comes to gadgets, gizmos and technology, I consider myself and early adapter. I am a sucker for blinking lights, retina displays, and lighted keyboards to name only a few of my weaknesses.
Couple my love of technology with the distaste for exercise I’ve developed in middle age (read: gained weight) and there is at least a fighting chance that I will get healthier by utilizing tech gizmos.
My work and leisure activities tend to be sedentary in nature. As a matter of fact, I am trying to go from pretty much zero activity to some activity.
When you’ve been inactive for a long time, small increases seem more prudent. I’d love to get back to the running, racquetball, and hiking that I engaged in when I was younger. But I think slow and steady wins this race rather than getting out and running myself straight into an ER visit.
Here are seven gadgets, gizmos, information sources, or technology items that I’m using to keep myself moving. I’ll be describing specific products, so it’s important to note that these mentions are unsolicited and uncompensated. I am in no way affiliated with the publishers, writers, developers, and distributors of these products, nor are they paying me to mention them. I highlight them here simply because they are helpful for me and I’d like to share their information with you.
I recently read Scared Sitless: The Office Fitness Book, by Larry Swanson. I was motivated to purchase and read this book after reviewing research suggesting that sitting too much may be one of the most unhealthy things many people do.
The premise makes sense: Neither creation, intelligent design, nor evolution seem to have crafted us to sit almost all day every day. However, many of us do.
It isn’t laziness that has us sitting so often. It is commuting, the nature of office work, and the types of leisure activity available these days. Swanson digs deep into the research for his book, so I won’t steal his thunder here; but suffice it to say, if I notice myself sitting when I could be standing, I get up on my feet.
The health benefits are already evident, and I have only been doing it for a short time. Depending on your size, standing—rather than sitting—can burn 20-50 additional calories per hour. While this additional burn may not seem like much, it can add up to a lot over time. If standing for one hour a day burns 50 additional calories, this adds up to 18,250 calories over 365 days. That is the caloric equivalent to over 34 fast food hamburgers or over 6,083 candy-coated chocolates.
After reading Scared Sitless, I invested in a standing desk from IMovR. I say invested because it was not a small purchase. I also say invested because calories burned by standing combined with the health benefits of not sitting in a chair all day is an investment in myself.
I find that I stand to work for a total of about three hours a day now that I have this desk. And because it goes from sitting to standing position quietly and easily, I can vary the time on my feet. I may spend an hour on my feet, sometimes thirty minutes, or even ten.
The bottom line is, I can stand to work when I want, keep my productivity up, and experience the benefits from doing both things.
My mat from Smart Step Flooring makes standing at my desk much easier on my joints. It has the added benefit of being so squishy soft that standing on it requires a little bit of balancing effort.
I was surprised what a world of difference this mat makes in how long I can stand and how comfortable I am while doing it compared to standing on carpet. It’s a perfect helper for burning extra calories.
The Mind Jogger app for iPhone has a variety of great functions. I use it to remind me to take medication, stand up, and move.
It’s a great exercise assistant because I can have it remind me to move every thirty minutes, which keeps me from spending a full hour in a chair.
Some days I use it to remind me to stand while I work. I can obviously ignore the reminders when it is not convenient to move; however, I find myself responding positively to the reminders more times than not.
Briefly standing and moving from time to time don’t add a great deal of activity to my life, but at this point any increase in movement is a good increase.
My Jawbone Up 24 helps me track my daily steps and gives me insight into how well and how long I sleep. https://jawbone.com/store/buy/up24
It’s a flexible little bracelet that I wear around my wrist. Its sensors accurately capture motion as it relates to walking, registering activity in steps.
The Jawbone works with a free app on my phone that does a variety of very cool things. It shows when the bulk of activity occurs via graphs, and also has a coaching function providing tips and encouragement.
If you like audiobooks as much as I do, you’ll enjoy The Walk—Fitness Tracker made by Six to Start. It’s a combination book on tape, step counter, and interactive adventure.
As you walk, the story plays. The listener/walker is a character in the story and quickly becomes highly involved in mystery and intrigue. The more the listener/walker moves, the more the story progresses.
This is a nifty little motivator for the lover of audio books who also wants an added incentive to move. The promotional material for the application states that there are 13 hours of audio in the application. That is a lot of steps that are less boring for me than they would be otherwise!
My new best friend is an application called Dragon Recorder by Nuance Communications. It’s a voice to text software that allows me to dictate while I take the dog for a walk. Actually, that’s what I’m doing right now.
The Dragon Recorder works best for writing short pieces. It pauses every so often to process the recorded information, so not exactly ideal for working on a book. But since I am more motivated toward activity if I can do something else at the same time, this is a great tool for me. I need a focus beyond activity to keep myself from getting bored. If I get bored, I will stop.
For me, going from sedentary to a little more active has been a process. I have been aided by information and my love of gizmos, gadgets, and technology.
What things do you use to assist in your personal struggle against inertia? Tweet your answer to @NutshellPodcast.