This was a comment directed to me a few days ago when I stood up at a meeting after I received a notification to stand on my Apple Watch. Of course it's hard to tell tone in the text of this blog post (although I'm guessing you may know waht it was). The tone was definitely sarcastic and somewhat demeaning.
I understand that technology often plays such a large role in our lives that it may seem like technology runs our lives. How many of us have felt that phantom buzz in our pockets from what we thought was our phone buzzing, or now on our wrists with smartwatches. Technology is in our cars, in our homes, at work, and in our pockets. At times it feels like we can't escape it. I'm guessing that's where that comment came from - an effort to not let technology run our lives.
As much as I understand and align with that perspective and effort, and believe that there was no ill will from the person who said it, I also see the benefits of technology on our lives - our healthy lives. First, we rely on technology to help us wake up. There really isn't anything wrong with setting an alarm so we can get up in time for work, for important meetings, or even just to not miss out on the possibilities of the day. We rely on technology to help us get around. I'm sure there are still times when people pull out a paper map to find their way around (maybe at theme parks) but most directions and methods of getting around now involve technology - Waze, Google Maps, ... (Many theme parks now have mobile apps to help you get around too.) Another example of how technology benefits our lives is through communication. This is done through email, phone calls, Twitter, Voxer, and so many more platforms for communicating ideas and learning from other people's words and perspectives. Although I am not active on Facebook anymore, many people often speak about how Facebook helps them stay in touch with friends from years ago and in different countries and continents. Technology benefits our lives.
So, do I rely on technology, namely my Apple Watch, to tell me to stand up? Yes. Why shouldn't I? I appreciate the notifications to stand up. I appreciate being able to look down and see my progress on the activity rings. I appreciate the notifications to breathe - to pause and focus on being mindful. I appreciate being able to see how many steps I've taken on my Fitbit One (yes, I use both an Apple Watch and a Fitbit tracker - my Fitbit One is the basic model that serves its purpose). I appreciate the social aspect of technology to help promote healthy living.
I've used the Fitbit platform since February of 2014 and the social aspect of the platform has really helped motivate me to stay active, to get my steps in, to live a healthy lifestyle. The challenges with others have really helped me and I know it's helped others who are in those challenges too. Maybe it's the competition, the cheers, the comparisons, the analytics, ... that help the challenges. No matter what the reason is, it's helped me maintain my focus on activity and healthy living.
Recently, another educator, Mark Loundy, shared with me a benefit of the Fitbit challenges for him. Mark sent me a screenshot of one of data collection options in the Fitbit platform. He said that ever since I connected with him on Fitbit and initiated the challenges, he's seen his body weight go down. It's really incredible to see his excitement and sense of accomplishment. What an incredible example of using technology for healthy living.