Tag Archives: leadership

With My Left Hand Free…


No.  I’m not paying homage to Alt-J but I love that song and love the band.  What I’m referring to is my new life connected to my Garmin Vivoactive smart watch activity tracker.  I’ll explain.

First off, this is the best activity tracker for endurance athletes.  Aside from tracking your steps it has built in GPS (doesn’t require your phone) and comes loaded with widgets and apps for various activities such as swimming, biking, running, walking and treadmill workouts. There are smartwatch features as well.  At less than $250 it’s a great value.  It’s slim stylish and lightweight.  I love it.  But don’t take my word for it.  Check out this most excellent in-depth review from our good friend DC Rainmaker.

I bought the Garmin Vivoactive for a couple of reasons. First, I am, after all, a fitness metric junkie. Any activity worth doing is only worth doing with a GPS device. Second, like many of you, I’ve seen the research that talks about the dangers of the sedentary lifestyle. I was quite dismayed to read that even though I log many miles of running, swimming and biking each week, my cardiovascular disease risk is elevated because for most of the day I am sitting at my workstation pounding through x-rays, CT scans and MRI scans.   It is quite easy for me on a busy day to sit at my desk for hours at a time uninterrupted. For this reason alone, having an activity tracker that vibrates and tells me to get my ass out of the chair every hour or so will pay great dividends to my health  down the road.

So let me tell you little bit about how wearing an activity tracker changed my behavior and is improving  not only my physical health but all my also my professional well-being.

The hourly reminder to get up and walk is very useful to me. Admittedly, sometimes I can’t get up and walk when the Vivoactive tells me to but for the most part I try to leave my chair and at least do a lap around the department if not longer. Aside from the obvious health benefits of leaving one’s chair and walking a little bit several times a day, the Vivoactive has improved my professional standing as well. Something funny happens when you get up and walk around at work. You see people. You talk to people. When you’re in a position of leadership like I am, people tell you problems that they expect you to act on.

The simple act of getting up once an hour and making a lap around the department has connected me with my physicians and staff. Admittedly, there are certain areas of the department that I will avoid because I know if they see me it’s going to turn into an hour-long sufferfest pity party.

But there’s no denying the fact that donning an activity tracker keys me into my activity and lack of activity. It gets me out of my office and into my department actually talking to people while improving my health. I realize this seems simple enough but trust me on a daily basis this was not happening. Now when I sit for more than an hour my watch buzzes and I have to get out of my chair in order to reset it. Sometimes I can do this, and sometimes I can’t. However, I try my best to obey the watch’s promptings and I’m doing better. Let’s face it.  Modern living has made us lazy, fat and sedentary. There would be no need for these devices if that were not the case. Even somebody like me who is considered very active but works in a sedentary job will benefit from this device. If you haven’t taken the plunge and bought an activity tracker, I would highly suggest checking one out. There are many on the market and depending on your needs and level of activity there should be a right purchase for you. For the endurance athlete who likes to swim, bike and run, the Garmin Vivoactive is really the perfect fit.

Ha!  But I forgot to explain the title of the post and the biggest change in my behavior that can be attributed to my new watch. You see in order to track the steps the watch has to detect a swinging motion. And since I wear the watch on my left hand I have to keep my left hand free. If I’m carrying coffee or walking the dog and my left arm is in swinging, my steps to get counted efficiently. And you know me, if I’m wearing the watch then my stats have to be counted and my data must be uploaded to Garmin Connect.  I’ve got to beat my peeps…that’s what its all about!