Sunday, January 18, 2015

In The News: Fitness Fads.


Occasionally I stumble upon a news item that drops my jaw to the keyboard.  Now, I am a pretty hardened Internet surfer and it takes a lot to truly surprise me, but this, this is pretty special :-
Fitness tracking company Jawbone has a system that lets businesses monitor the activity data of their employees. The system, called UP for Groups, combines movement, eating and sleep data from Jawbone's apps and wearable trackers, which is then anonymised before being shown to bosses. Jawbone hopes the system will help companies combat obesity by promoting healthy behaviour in the workplace. [via: BBC]
Yes - an electronic tag providing employers with metrics of their employees eating and sleeping habits. Surely they wouldn't fucking dare suggest a healthy work force is good for company productivity and profits?  But, yep, they went there:-
Success comes from combining individual behavior change and group culture change. With UP for Groups, we can bring our proven experience in individual behavior change to deliver collective impact. This is the opportunity to transform the health of companies, groups and larger organizations.
How well we sleep—and healthy we are —has a clear impact on our workplaces. So we want to inspire a health-focused conversation in the workplace, while encouraging everyone to strive for a better work-health balance. It also comes from trying new techniques to inspire healthier behaviors. That could mean walking meetings, using the stairs rather than the elevator, healthier food options, and standing desks. [link]
I find our health industry fascinating because it is so utterly broken.We are peddled promises of earthly salvation, of transforming our vice ridden lives through rationally directed goal setting. Our health will improve, we will become more attractive and find that special someone, our careers will suddenly take off  as we tap into our new disciple and mental energy.

But of course it doesn't work for most people. So we outsource our willpower to personal trainers or buy faddish technology like this electronic tag for groups to maintain the illusion of rational self-directed free will. Or you can just embrace old-school behaviorism by turning yourself into one of Pavlov's dogs with a bracelet that administrators electronic shocks to break bad habits:
A US company has crowd-funded over $200,000 (£127,000) for a device that helps you break bad habits using electric shocks.
The Pavlok wristband delivers a 255 volt shock if you dare to visit time-wasting websites, with the aim of conditioning your behaviour for the better. [link]
I recommend a volt bracelet used in conjunction with daily deep yoga mediation, positive thinking, goal tracking software, positive reinforcement through self-administrated treats, angel prayers, a diet of pure organic vegetables and exercise three times daily. After four weeks you won't recognize the new you!

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