Multiplying the Value of Wearables

This Herman Trend Alert is great news for people like our author Joyce who wears a FitBit. Not long ago, we had the pleasure of sharing a flight with Mark Silverio, Vice President, Sales, for the company that makes these practical wearables. We took the opportunity to learn more.

Wearables are becoming smarter
Like many trackers and watches, FitBits are evolving. Not only are the touchscreens easier to use, but there will be more notifications—if you want them—and they will even detect problems in the wearer’s heart rhythm.

But that’s only the beginning
In the future, these wearables are going to not only deliver the user’s health stats, but more health insights and additional coaching as well.

Monitor and motivate
Already, the Fitbit reports the user’s Cardio Fitness Level—shows how fit one is compared to others of the same age and sex. The score is an estimate of the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise. The level is based on the resting heart rate and the user’s profile. The Fitbit also currently tracks the percentage of time the heart rate is at fat-burning versus cardio or peak level. Knowing what your levels are and what they could be creates the motivation.

Now employers can get even more from wearables
The recently released 2018 HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Media Report says that blending wearables and PGHD (Patient-Generated Healthcare Data) with health coaching multiplies the value of the devices and data alone.

Why collecting data works
According to Rob Havasy, Senior Director, Health Information Systems at HIMSS, “It’s the Hawthorne effect. When patients believe their doctor or their nurse is looking at their data, they don’t eat the cake, take a walk rather than sit in front of the TV—they change their behaviors because they think someone is watching.” Moreover, researchers are learning how to transform wearables and activity monitors into more effective tools in both preventing disease and managing chronic disease. In fact, this HIMSS report found that 90 percent of business leaders who include wearable devices in their wellness initiatives believe they can have a positive impact on chronic disease management.

What to expect
With increasing capabilities, wearables will become more valuable to individuals and companies alike. Expect to see an expanding variety of wearables to suit every preference and taste.

To read the entire HIMSS study, visit here.

© Copyright 1998-2018 by The Herman Group, Inc. — reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From “The Herman Trend Alert,” by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 orhttp://www.hermangroup.com.

To sign up, visit http://www.HermanTrendAlert.com. The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc.”

Henrico County Walks to Better Health

by Liz Stovall, Division Manager- Fitness and Wellness

Do you know that on average, every minute of walking can extend your life by one and a half to two minutes? The benefits of walking are endless! Not only does it help to prevent chronic diseases, it also gives you more energy, makes you feel good, helps you to relax, reduces stress and assists with weight management. Walking is a great choice for regular, healthy exercise. It is safe AND effective!

To address growing health concerns and to keep our employees in the best health possible, we are launching a new Health Trip initiative. HENRICO COUNTY WALKS is for all County employees to focus on the importance of regular physical activity to maintain physical and emotional well-being. It’s a fact – regular physical activity is essential for good health!

Every nine weeks employee teams will walk toward a new destination city. You can join at any time! The journey begins in Augusta, Maine and heads first to the Big Apple – New York City! To cover the 386-mile distance, employees can form a team of four, where each team member should walk two miles a day, five days a week, to stay on track! This goal makes it easy to achieve 150 minutes of physical activity per week, supporting the American Heart Association’s physical activity goal to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. For employees who are already physically active and like to jog or run on a regular basis there are options to form a team of three, two or one. These options allow smaller teams to cover the same distance with a greater per week distance to be achieved by each team member.

From New York City, walkers will head to our very own capital city, Richmond. After that, the next stop is Charleston, South Carolina and then on to the final destination city, Orlando, Florida. To assist employees with locating feasible walking routes, the County’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) office has mapped out walking routes at each County facility, including libraries, parks, schools and general government buildings. These recommended walking routes are available to view on the HENRICO COUNTY WALKS Story Map. This GIS site has several site selection tabs to assist employees in searching for a convenient and safe path close to their work location. Employees can select their work location and the recommended walking route is highlighted on an aerial map. A description of the walking route is provided including the route distance, surface-type, and step-by-step directions on how to navigate the route. Locations that do not have a feasible walking route are given the recommendation to walk at the nearest park. You may preview the HENRICO COUNTY WALKS Story Map today.

Getting started on your HENRICO COUNTY WALKS journey takes a few simple steps and can happen at any point of the journey:

  1. Form a team.
  2. Think of a fun team name and officially register by completing the registration form.
  3. Submit your registration form by September 7th to Liz Stovall.

Before you hit the road, stop by the HENRICO COUNTY WALKS information page on the employee portal for complete program details.

What About Water?

by Liz Stovall, Division Manager- Fitness and Wellness

Water bottles seem to be everywhere you look. Perhaps right now there is one on your desk, or you filled a water bottle for your child as they headed out the door this morning. In fact, water has become the second most popular drink (behind soda). However, water lovers got a rude awakening recently when a new report found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. Apparently, the suggestion to drink eight glasses of water is nothing more than a suggestion, not based on scientific research.

Don’t put your water bottle or glass down just yet! There are plenty of reasons to drink water. In fact, drinking water is essential to your health. Think of water as a nutrient your body needs. It can be found in other liquids, plain water and in high-water content food (fruits and vegetables). Throughout the day fluid loss occurs continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine and stool. These losses must be replaced daily for good health. When water intake does not equal output, dehydration occurs. In addition, fluid loss is accentuated in warmer climates (think summer in RVA), during exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.

Here are six evidence-based reasons to drink water:

  1. Drinking Water Maintains Body Fluid Balance- The body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and stabilization of body temperature.
  2. Calorie Control- While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, drinking water instead of higher calorie beverages can certainly help as a weight loss strategy.
  3. Muscle Energizer- Cells that don’t maintain their fluid balance shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. As a result, performance (either daily or exercise) can suffer. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend drinking 16 ounces of water two hours before exercise. During exercise, the recommendation is to drink at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
  4. Keep Skin Looking Good- Skin cells contain plenty of water and function as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration makes skin look dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration.
  5. Detoxification- Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in urine. The kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding the body of toxins as long as fluid intake is adequate. When getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor.
  6. Normal Bowel Function- Adequate hydration keeps things moving along in the gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When fluid is lacking, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration – and the result is constipation. Water and fiber is the perfect combination, because fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep bowels functioning properly.

Try these helpful tips to support increased fluid intake:

  • Have water with every snack and meal.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high-water content will add to your hydration.
  • Keep a water bottle in hand, in the car, on your desk or in your bag.
  • Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, go for non-caloric water.