Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Taking the stairs

I was interested to see my colleague Fergus Walsh's recent piece (video below) on taking the stairs at the BBC in London. Like him, I have been using the stairwell at my BBC building in Los Angeles.

Actually, it's not a BBC building - we have some space in one of the suites on the 15th floor of a building that houses many media and entertainment-related companies. A few decades ago it was the headquarters of Motown and housed the corporate offices of some of the label's biggest names. I have it on very good authority that we work from what was the Jackson 5 suite. 

Anyway -- taking the stairs. The parking lot is on floor 3, there is no floor 13 (I guess some people are superstitious) and I work on 15. That means I climb 11 flights and a grand total of 220 steps, from the car to the office.  I like the idea of StepJockey, but I'm not sure that I'd bother scanning my phone on every trip. Which is why I've just placed an order for one of the latest wireless activity monitors - the Fitbit Force, which counts steps, calories burned, sleep activity and other exercise related data.  Nike's Fuel Band does much the same thing, as does Jawbone's Up.  I am planning to use the Fitbit to step up (sorry...) my collecting of personal data, rigorously to test the benefits of self monitoring in 2014.  I'm making a few other modifications to my lifestyle, but more about calorie restriction and fasting, later. 

Personal health monitoring devices have exploded in their popularity and efficiency in recent years. I have worn a sports shirt that records and sends my ECG data via a smartphone to the internet.  Nowadays doctors are able to monitor the health of their patients without meeting them.  I am sleeping on an ultra thin Beddit sensor (attached the the mattress, hidden under the sheets) which records my sleep patterns. I have used the data to self-experiement with the conditions that keep me awake, prevent me from going to sleep or routinely disturb me at night.  My sleep has improved as a result.

True, I am a little obsessed with it all. But I love the technology and quite like feeling fitter as I get older.

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