Monday, November 03, 2014

Are Wearables the Cure for Rising Health Costs?

The bottom line is that we’ve become lazy. We’re all looking for a quick fix. Your doctor recommends that you change your diet and exercise, and you ask if there’s a pill you can take instead; it’s less work, and your employer is going to pick up all or most of the prescription cost anyway. Improved prescription drugs have, in some instances, become enablers for continued poor lifestyle behaviours. So what’s the solution? The first step is simply to get your employees moving again. Think of Newton’s first law of motion: an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. Statistics Canada data show that about half of the population spends less than 30 minutes per day engaging in moderate physical activity during leisure time. How you get your employees moving is where wearable fitness tracking devices come into play. If you’re not familiar with wearables, they’re electronic devices that you put on your wrist or clip to an article of clothing. There are dozens of these devices on the market, but the most popular are made by Fitbit, Garmin and Jawbone. These gadgets are more than just a pedometer—they track sleep patterns, heart rates and calories burned while exercising. Some devices can even remind you to get out of your chair at programmed intervals of inactivity. And all of this data can be uploaded to a website and monitored on your mobile phone. It was the electronic age and the advent of television and the remote control that created the couch potato and arguably contributed to more sedentary lifestyles, so maybe electronic devices will get us out of this mess. more

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