For the last week I've been running an app on my phone called "Human". (@humandotco)
It tells me exactly how long each day I've been active. It can distinguish between walking, running, cycling and driving / getting a train.
I downloaded it out of curiosity and it's proving to be a very interesting experiment.
It starts off with a target of 30 minutes a day (which I personally find absurdly low). I guess there must be some very inactive people out there for whom this target is worth striving towards. It reminds you to get up and take a walk if you've been sitting around for too long. For car driving office workers with sofas, this is a very useful nudge.
Having said that, maybe 30 minutes is not absurdly low. On Monday by the time I had been awake for 12 hours I had only clocked 62 minutes of activity even though I had been out and about to two external meetings.
There's something strangely addictive about monitoring your activity. Hitting 30 minutes early in the day, shooting for 60, and then 90.
The old business adage, "you can only improve what you measure" clearly also applies to human well being.
Hours activity data is fast becoming a personal KPI ("key performance indicator").
Other systems have already been on the market for some time (e.g. Fitbit and Jawbone) but these systems require a wristband which is used as a sensor. Human doesn't require any hardware other than the phone itself - and it's free. However, it doesn't have is the ability to monitor sleep - a key feature of the wristband based options.
Clearly this space will evolve fast over the coming years with the advent of wearable tech (e.g. smart watches) and more advanced connected sensor technology. Personal health monitoring systems are here to stay and will become more common place
So, looking at my data from the last 7 days, what can I tell you?
Saturday: 2 hours
Sunday: 6 hours , 36 minutes
Monday: 1 hour 30 minutes
Tuesday: 2 hours 42 minutes
Wednesday: 1 hour 51 minutes
Thurday: 2 hours 52 minutes
Friday: 1 hour 32 minutes
Total hours: 19 hours, 12 minutes
General activity: 7 hours 20 minutes
Walking: 2 hours, 2 minutes
Running: 9 minutes
Cycling: 9 hours, 45 minutes
It turns out that I sleep for 35% of the week, I'm awake and inactive for 54% of the week and I'm only actually active for 11% of the time.
If I were to have guessed at the beginning of the week how active I was, I would have put the number at higher than 11%. It turns out that I sit down for 90 hours a week. Both of these numbers are ones that I'd like to improve (active: up, sitting down: down).