Wearable Technology Helps to Motivate, Build Teams and Track Personal Fitness Goals

Fitbit photoBy: Miranda Underwood, WEtech Intern I am a 24 year-old student, intern, waitress and vice-president of student council, with zero to little free time available … So, it is safe to assume I have not made attending the gym a priority. I still pay my 40 dollars or so a month to the gym, not to mention the additional free gym membership I get through my college; yet setting aside those one or two hours a day to sweat isn’t on the top of my to-do list – and it should be. Physical and mental health is incredibly important and plays a huge factor in one’s overall success. As graduation nears, it is important I step up my game, both academically and physically. Insert a black rubber bracelet that holds the technology to track, monitor and cultivate a culture of fitness motivation. Now, typically, I am not one to spend money on a device that tells me to take the stairs over the elevator, but Fitbit and comparable brands represent an increasingly common trend in wearable technology and social trends in leading a healthier lifestyle. So, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and become one of the thousands of Canadians who are making the active decision to begin tracking their fitness levels and monitoring their health. Like most similar devices, my Fitbit works in sync with an app on my Android-operated smart phone. This dashboard of information lets me know how many steps I have taken, kilometres travelled, active minutes and calories burnt (among other key statistics). Some days it can be a little depressing when I am behind my desk and I have only taken a mere 2,000 steps. But that does trigger the little voice inside me that says “Tonight we will NOT watch Netflix. Tonight we ARE going to the gym!” This is the beauty of being aware of your activity levels (or the downfall of such awareness, depends on the day). One of the most motivating parts about all of this is the ability to join challenges with friends, family and/or colleagues. I am currently in a “work week hustle” competition with the rest of my student council board. We can send each other messages of encouragement, cheer on our accomplishments and, at the end of the week, someone is crowned the winner. I can’t say that I’ve won a challenge yet, but I have my moments, and the awareness that the rest of the participants can also see my daily steps is motivation to park my car further, and do that extra lap around the track at the gym. It fosters a little healthy competition among our board members, and gives us the opportunity to push one another that much harder. In any work environment, it is important to build a team that works towards a common goal, encourages one another, and takes initiative. Fitbit (or like items) may not be the answer to becoming the most in-sync work team out there, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. And, on the all-important individual level, it will motivate you towards your personal health and fitness goals. It is a new year and I am working towards a slightly more “new” ­­– and improved – me. Are you?