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Why You Should Be "Life Hacking" in 2017

Over the holidays, I upgraded my smartphone to the new Samsung Galaxy S7.  Unbeknownst to me, Rogers was offering a holiday/boxing day special so my phone arrived with the GearFit 2 watch.  My previous stance on these “smart watches” was that they were mostly a gimmick.  The original Apple Watch was marketed as an exercise companion, yet it didn’t have GPS built in to measure distance, and it wasn’t water proof. Apparently the 2nd generation Apple Watch has fixed these flaws.  The GearFit 2 has built-in GPS, music storage, water proof, and all the stuff that ‘fit-bits’ and the Apple Watch has, like step counter, flights-of-stairs counter, heart rate monitoring, and more.  Okay, so what?  All of these things are being referred to as “Life-Hacking”.  Life hacking essentially means you get real time feedback about various things related to your health and physical activity.  Historically, I have explained to people that getting 10,000 steps per day does not equate to anything “healthy” because 10,000 steps doesn’t mean you are strong, mobile, stress-free, with a healthy heart, lungs, and brain.  But, I’m changing my opinion.  While walking (or running) steps don’t tell me if my hip, knee, ankle, and spinal joints are healthy, it does give me a tangible amount of feedback about how active (relatively speaking) I was during the day.  Monitoring my heart rate allows me to know if my resting heart rate is rising over time (or lowering because my heart is stronger).  I’m also finding this level of feedback incredibly motivating.  I find myself climbing stairs just to hit my target (purposely forgetting things in my bedroom just to have an excuse to climb stairs to get it).

Imagine the future for life-hacking: What if we can have an adaptor to the watch that attaches to our chest to monitor our heart (real-time feedback electrocardiogram “ECG”)?!  What if diabetics can have real-time feedback of their glucose levels?!  What if lungs can be monitored for proper lung sounds?!  And whatever else the future may hold for life-hacking to give humans more knowledge of their current health status.  Now, there are other implications for life-hacking that are not so positive: Who’s collecting this data besides you?  Health privacy matters.  But, anonymous collection of this type of data may have profound scientific health value.

Life Hacking is health feedback.  You’ve read/heard from me about the incredibly valuable role of having feedback about your own body.  In the context of exercise, and more precisely Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs), feedback tells you if you’re worse, the same, or better than the last feedback.  The more routine you are with your CARs, the more self-aware you are about the health status of your joints.  Is your range of motion (ROM) bigger, smoother, less painful?  Where and when is the pain during your CAR?  This feedback is so valuable to maintaining, restoring, and optimizing your physical body.  I cannot endorse this type of feedback and not recognize the incredible value of the technology-based “life hacking”.

This is in no way an endorsement of any of the watches, phones, or companies that sell these gadgets.  With each successive generation, the various companies will produce similar products at varying price points.  This is my first foray into the “wearable tech” market.  And, quite clearly, I am quite impressed with the feedback my wearable is providing.  In related news, my own Hip CARs are getting bigger, smoother, and more controlled.  How are yours?!

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