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Can exercise at work help you to be more productive?

Could taking an exercise break every hour on the hour make your company more productive? Overit Media’s employees can tell the time by whether they’re doing leg lifts or tricep dips. They’re convinced their workout program is good for the company’s bottom line.

It’s an interesting concept:

The folks at Overit are convinced that OverFit boosts productivity, and they unconditionally recommend it to other businesses. Company founder Jen Graybeal finds that merely getting the blood circulating seems to fuel her creativity and that of her colleagues. Not to mention, it’s likely to reduce health care costs. “We’ve seen the articles that say that sitting is the smoking of our generation,” says Graybeal, referring to studies that suggest the perils of a sedentary lifestyle.

At first I couldn’t help but think it’s a totally disruptive concept and then I considered that many “getting things done” proponents recommend slicing your tasks up into hour stretches where you work for 50 minutes and relax for 10. This kind of minute exercise every hour fits perfectly into the mindset.

According to Graybeal: “We’ve seen a big difference not just in terms of the way we look but the way we feel,” she says. The two estimate that about half the employees are regular participants, with another five or 10 who drop in and out. They span both ends of the fitness scale, from a marathon runner to folks who weigh well over 200 pounds.

For me this is less about time or even fitness but a discussion on culture. By getting together every hour the employees are forced to spend time together in a positive manner; it’s something of a no brainer. Exercise might not be the glue that holds the company together; it could be an hourly musical session or something that allows for people to connect on a more emotive level.

Original source (Fast Company)

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Cheap technology to raise living standards

When you consider that around 80% of the world live on less than $10 a day there needs to be some seriously innovative technology to provide housing, cooking facilities, refrigeration and even cheap sanitation. Here’s a great Slideshare on how technology is being harnessed by low cost innovators around the world:

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Work related anxiety and stress

You’ve come back to work relaxed and ready to smash 2013 but invariably stress will rear its ugly head sooner than later. In addition you’re a bit of a workaholic so you’re chained either to your desk, laptop or email on some mobile device. Is it possible to have a lifestyle of hard work without anxiety and stress? Inc Magazine put together seven ways it is possible, here are my top 3:

Work your tail off when you have to, not when you don’t. Business happens in spurts. Always. Whether you’re developing a product or growing a business, those long hours don’t go on forever. It’s OK to kill yourself for a few weeks or months, as long as you chill out for a while when it’s over. If you do it constantly, you’re asking for trouble.

 

Mix business with pleasure. Whenever you’re going through high-stress times, take your team out for dinner. Have a few drinks. Take breaks and goof around. Yes, it probably takes longer to get things done that way, but I would argue that higher morale increases effectiveness.

 

Strategize and plan. Here’s a method for managing stress you’re not likely to see anywhere else. When things seem overwhelming, they’re often the result of day-to-day inertia. To thwart the evils of the status quo, take a step back and gain some perspective. Get some time away from distractions–just you or with your team–and brainstorm, strategize, and plan. Have a nice dinner out. You’ll be amazed at the results.

For the rest, click here

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Another competitor in the fitness tracking arena

I’ve reviewed the Nike Fuelband before and after months of lusting after the device I have totally ditched it back into its box. The reason: it’s actually fairly useless and only tracks certain activities. Knowing that I achieved a certain amount of fuel points is great but the fact that I got more points for a run compared to an equivalent gym session made it quite frustrating. You could use a spinning bike for ten hours and receive absolutely zero points since your arms were not moving. Speaker and bluetooth headset manufacturer Jawbone released the “Jawbone UP” around the same time as the Fuelband but it was, in general, a massive failure due to the fact that it broke… a lot. Now another manufacturer, Fitbit is trying to create the best device.

Fitbit have traditionally made very expensive but very good pedometers. Their latest product, the Fitbit Flex is the usual wrist based tracker that works out  counts calories, steps taken and distance covered (but not flights climbed).

According to the press release

The Fitbit Flex then automatically sends that data to a personalized website over Bluetooth. You can record your food intake, too, but you’ll have to do it manually using either the website or one of the company’s mobile apps.

The Flex tracks your sleep quality as well, but the approach here differs from other Fitbit products: whereas the Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip have a key you can press to enter sleep mode, the Flex has no buttons at all, so your only recourse for logging sleep is to use the app or website.

I still don’t think anyone has gotten this concept right although as I said in my Fuelband review: “This device gets me off the couch on lazy days”. If everyday was a lazy day for me (I run a good distance weekly) these types of devices would be great.