I was asked recently what advice I would give to a group of co-workers that wanted to use the apps and gadgets while at work together. Having spent more than 20 years within the corporate wellness industry, I’ve seen all sorts of gadgets and gizmos promising better health while at work, but I have never been as excited about the potential for real success as I am today about these new consumer health technologies. Here are a few that I think are worth exploring if you are looking for ways to stay active at work by using technology.
If the current market research is correct, you probably have and use a smartphone. In fact, you probably keep it at arm’s reach throughout the day, which makes it a great wellness tool—it is always near you, always on and always ready for action. I will discuss possible apps to use next, but I am talking about what is already installed on the smartphone. For example, I set my iPhone to remind me to take my hourly 10-minute mindfulness break. I also use it to check the progress of my FitBit walking group members (some of whom are my co-workers) that have a pact to walk at least 7,500 steps during each work day. If I see someone who needs a quick pick-me-up, I send them a text—and they do the same for me—thus keeping us accountable for our wellness goals, even though we may not be in the same city.
If you are frequent reader of my blogs, you know I am a big fan of mobile fitness apps. It really doesn’t matter which app you and your co-workers use. Rather, it is more important to create the “social network” around that app and keep each other motivated and accountable toward your own health and wellness goals. Monday mornings around the water cooler is a great time to discuss your weekly goal with your co-workers. I suggest creating an actual group (I once even created a fun written contract) of like-minded co-workers who can help you on your healthy journey. Adding the power of wellness apps makes the experience more enjoyable, more accountable and more productive. Don’t try to do too much—pick three apps, have the group come to a consensus about which one they like the best and then get active.
Over the years, I’ve tried many of the more popular fitness wearables. My current go-to is the FitBit Charge HR. One of the greatest benefits of the FitBit family of products is that there is most likely a tracker that is affordable and usable by your co-workers. They also have a very user-friendly dashboard on both the web and the app. I have a virtual wellness team comprised of 12 people who inspire, motivate and, at times, heckle me to stay active. On those days when I don’t want to move, I just log into my FitBit account and see that my co-worker Scott is beating me in steps for that day. I don’t like losing to Scott in anything, so that’s usually all the motivation I need to get moving.
These types of apps and wellness gadgets are not a magic pill that will effortlessly transform you into the person you’ve always dreamed about. It still takes time, effort and dedication to reach your health and wellness goals. However, tools like these—combined with support from your co-workers—can help guide you down a path of continued improvement toward your wellness goals.