Mark Trahant is a Kaiser Media Fellow examining the Indian Health Service and its relevance to the national health care reform debate. He is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Comment here.
This New Year I am experimenting, instead of resoluting. (I know, it’s not a real word. But it just sounded right.) I’m interested in how technology can play a role in behavior change, how to eat less, drink enough water, exercise more, and sleep better.
The tool I’m playing with is called a Fitbit. I’ll write more about that later, but it’s already interesting because it measures steps, your sleep pattern (although I am quite ready to argue about falling asleep in the chair while watching TV. The device (and my family) says “yes,” but I know better.
I see how this technology could be helpful to wellness programs. Sunday I walked 11,289 steps (not quite 3 miles), consumed more than 2,000 calories and slept 8 hours, waking up 7 times during the night.
We change what we measure – and that includes our own behavior. Just by watching my personal data, I am inclined to walk more and eat less.
But that’s only part of what could make Fitbit important to a wellness routine. Part two will come when others I know are on the system and add their stats through social networks. Think of a community of folks who are rooting for your success, for your better health, as you urge them forward.
This is more experiment, than a resolution. But this is the season for resolutions – and for many that means it’s time to quit smoking.