"Sitting Disease" and the Apple Watch

Work-life balance is a popular focus for corporate and nonprofit organizations.

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It leans heavily on the concept of the mind-body connection. In this way, proper care of physical wellness has a synergistic relationship with mental wellness. Daily exercise, meditation, and nutrition can positively affect employee performance. Although helpful, studies, research committees, and datasets are not necessary to see the benefit of this way of thinking. People feel better when they are healthier. It’s that simple.

Accountability

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 As a personal trainer, people seek out my knowledge and expertise to become healthier, achieve aesthetic goals, and slow down Father Time as much as possible. One of the most important components of the relationship I build with my clients is accountability. Individuals may be familiar with certain exercises, types of activities, and benefits, but they simply need someone encouraging them or even demanding that they complete the task. Let’s face it, if Army recruits were already disciplined enough to perform pushups, situps, and run 5 miles at 5:00 a.m. without being told to do so, drill sergeants wouldn’t be necessary. With regard to my own training, the Apple Watch provided me with the same benefit. It did not necessarily tell me what to do during my training sessions, but it increased my overall activity level. Being in a corporate environment often reinforces a sedentary lifestyle or “sitting disease.” Deliverables, meetings, and research are conducted while sitting. This is unavoidable unless one chooses to stand on top of the boardroom table during a meeting or use an elevated desk.

The "Sitting Disease"

“Sitting disease” may sound dramatic, but it is actually the most candid way of describing what happens to the human body during 8 or more hours of sitting at a desk that is not ergonomically constructed. According to Dr. Kimball Johnson, this level of inactivity places us at risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Although I typically exercise five times per week for approximately 1 hour, additional physical activity helps to reverse the damage done to my body while sitting. The Apple Watch has a cool feature that I like to call the Wheel of Activity. It tracks how much you move, exercise, and stand throughout the day on a circular graph.

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 Each data point is color coded (Red – Move, Green – Exercise, Stand – Blue) so that users are able to quickly determine their progress. Hourly, the device alerted me to stand up for at least 1 minute, which prompted me to step away from my computer, walk around, do cartwheels in the hallway, engage in some friendly interoffice mixed martial arts, or do whatever I desired to get my blood pumping. This refreshed both my mind and body. It did everything a Fitbit does and more but with an added flair. While I was in the gym, I could see incoming emails or texts and immediately decide if I needed to stop and respond to something urgent without having to pull out my phone and disrupt my “zone.”

Apple Watch = Trainer?

In all fairness, nothing can take the place of an effective training partner. Someone pushing you when you feel that your limit has been reached. Telling you that the pain is in your imagination, as you think to yourself, “My imagination is killing me right now!” However, the Apple Watch does an excellent job of filling in for one. Training without unnecessary interruptions? Check. Slaying the sedentary dragon? Check. Still meeting the needs of a demanding professional schedule? Check. A device that helps users incorporate a healthier lifestyle into their busy routine is an ally that both novice and experienced athletes can use to stand, exercise, and move into a stronger version of themselves.

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