We are all becoming first responders and all diligently listening to and responding first and foremost to our wrists. We used to listen to our left hand to see if our watch was still working. Now it’s to make sure our heart is.
When I married her, I didn’t know what a large amount of data my wife contained. When we got married, I didn’t know I was marrying a pedometer and altimeter. My wife is a modern wireless-enabled woman. Her smartwatch is an essential part of her wardrobe. It’s a vital body part. She feels naked, fat, ill, under-exercised, and death-threatened without it. Fitbit has transformed her life. And mine.
Walks aren’t the same. Walks aren’t walking anymore. They are “real-time exercise”. Walking is no longer walking. It’s “data collecting”. We don’t go out for a walk. We go out to generate, collect and collate information.
“Let’s go out and feel some sun on our faces,” I might suggest, shrugging into my kagoule.
And my wife, tightening her wristband, replies “Yes. I’m up for a bit of outdoor journaling and in the mood to study the personal temporal associations between exercise and mood. You can’t beat a couple of hours’ regular quanti-metric self-censoring.”
Then, I wait outside the back door for five minutes while she checks whether she needs to go to the loo or not and check whether she has had enough roughage.
Then five minutes more while she dials into her G new photoplethysmography algorithm to identify any atrial fibrillation risk.
Wellness trackers are now man’s best friend. We don’t take the dog anymore. We take my wife’s watch for a walk. We meet fellow walkers out for a bit of bracing body data.
We ignore their cute little dachshunds and pass no admiring remarks about their pedigree Alsatians. Now, we just fulsomely admire their water-resistant, self-tracking applications.
“What a cute Lunar White Fitbit Inspire 2!”
“What an adorable little Charge Soft Gold Charge.”
Last weekend, on one of our app-orientated ambles, we met and asked a man for the time. He consulted his watch and said “120 over 70.”
He apologized and then said “5.1 miles. 34 levels.”
Fitbit is the app apotheosis of digital trends. The latest must apparatus. Fitbit’s live our lives for us. Apps dictate the way we live. They are the modern I-Ching.
My married life has become one long live stream of digital apparatus.
“My glucose levels are chaotic,” my wife announced in a restaurant recently, having checked on her latest well-being management app.
“My blood sugar needs to normalize. And my carbo counter app says I have already reached my carbo limit. So I’ll have to skip dessert.”
She even sets the alarm to wake her (and me) up in the middle of the night so she can be reassured about how well she is sleeping and the quality of her REM.
Her Versa 2 notifies her immediately if anything untoward is happening inside her body. It gives her traffic reports on the traffic in her lower intestine.
It’s so sensitive and caring that when we do go for a stroll, I expect it to start bleeping and tell me when I need to stop for a pee.
Status symbols are ever-changing. Once, you had to have a Filofax if you needed to tell the world what a disorganized, anal wally you were.
High-tech information tools that they are, Fitbits tell everyone what an enthusiastic and perhaps very successful hypochondriac you are. And how far advanced your Methusala Complex is. And how many steps a day do you need to do to outlive him?
Health is new wealth. Self-knowledge is power. The empirical has taken over from the abstract. No one meditates anymore. A Third Eye and naval gazing are passe. These days, even Buddha wears a Fitbit. For inner enlightenment.
Life is getting noisier too. There are more interruptions. The background music to modern life used to be the pinging of the microwave, the whirring of the oven hood extraction fan, and the throb of the washing machine on spin cycle. Now peace is shattered by health metrics alerts sounding on all sides.
You can’t seem to go anywhere without someone’s ova app phone going off, causing them to shout excitedly, “I’m spiking! I’m spiking!”
Lifelogging. Data fetishism. Self-knowledge through numbers. Self-quantification. Auto-analytics. Body hacking. Self-surveillance or surveillance. Personal informatics.
Whatever you call it. It is taking over our lives.
Obsessed by her data stream, my wife wants to get me a Fitbit. To improve my personal and professional productivity. And record how I spend my “active zone” time. As if the lawn mower, the wheelbarrow, garden kneelers, and decanter levels aren’t clues.
Modern fitness technology will soon help us avoid unhealthy situations and pastimes. Just like cars that tell us how far we are from other cars and let us know how far we are from a hedge or wall our smartwatches will soon be sounding warnings about how after we are from the nearest butter and frying pan.
They will issue emergency health warnings.
“Indian restaurant 100m left. Danger! Danger! Approaching fish and chip shop. Take the next left to avoid Macdonalds. Your aortal arteries are presently 23.6% clogged.”
GPS will soon tell us if we are abusing our bodies and inform us about the quickest route to the nearest personal trainer and salad bar.
A Fitbit brings social approbation. Our family won’t be complete without another Fitbit. We can’t stop at one.
As my apparently app-absolutely anatomically-apprized wife has said on many occasions. “Spending time together brings more satisfaction and fulfillment if the numerical data gathered helps us to take decisions concerning healthcare, disease prevention, and health promotion to maintain or improve quality of life during our shared life course. Appy days!!”
I’d like to think, as a married couple, we know our bodies better.
Fitbit, founded originally as Health Metrics Research in 2007 and now owned by Google, may be the most popular tracker but the best and most luxurious must be:
Garmin D2 Mach 1 Titanium SmartWatch
With classic style and a vivid AMOLED touchscreen display, the D2 Mach 1 offers advanced tools for flying — plus health and fitness features that enhance your pilot life. Designed to show your passion for aviation, the watch features a sapphire lens and titanium bezel, and a coordinating bracelet for a robust yet stylish finish.
TAG Heuer Connected Stainless Steel Smartwatch
With its futuristic design, this digital timepiece from TAG Heuer’s Connected collection is the ultimate companion.
The 42mm stainless steel case with an intelligent interface allows you to analyze your speed, pace, heart rate, and distance: the integrated sensors accompany you through all your workouts. The versatile H-shaped steel bracelet with folding clasp and safety pushbuttons provides adept security whilst retaining a professional appearance.
Montblanc Summit 3 Black Leather Strap Smart Watch
This smartwatch embodies Maison’s heritage of fine Swiss watchmaking and its experience with high-end materials. Although this watch can easily be mistaken for a classical analog watch at first glance, it is equipped with advanced smart technologies. With improved battery life, multiple health monitoring sensors, a superior fitness experience, enhanced performance, and many great apps, Summit 3 supports you in all aspects of your life
Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar Red Rubber Strap Watch
The first T-Touch model was released in 1999. A tactile interface beneath the sapphire crystal allows you to touch certain areas on the glass to display its given function – time, navigation, and meteorological information. This model now also offers “the innovative connectivity of today”- an activity tracker and app updates and notifications from your smartphone (iOS and Android).
Garmin Fenix 7S Solar Cream Silicone Strap SmartWatch
This multisport GPS watch, styled for smaller-sized wrists has a scratch-resistant Power Sapphire™ solar charging lens which uses the sun’s energy to extend battery life and power advanced training features, sports apps, health, and wellness monitoring sensors, and more. Waterproof up to 100m.