As a youth, my philosophy on communication was simple: speak the truth. In recent years as a health professional and college educator, the value of situational euphemisms has become more apparent. Now, a healthy communications outlook may be, "Try to say things nicely, but above all speak your truths." Besides, if we sugar-coated everything, we would all have cavities and diabetes!
With that being said, let's be politely blunt. Strap on your helmets! We're going full-on esoteric today.
The biggest mistake I have made so far in my short time of exploring the stock market was not shorting Fitbit's stock (see below image) when it hit the upper 40's per share. Anyone in our exercise physiology graduating class at Miami could have called that one. I say this not out of a stance of antagonism, but rather of fascination for how we may see recently emerged and newer technologies being more cleanly assimilated into our lives in the coming years. They kind of took over for a while, there..
Paraphrasing a quote from Warren Buffett here - the stock market has a way of eventually being right about most things. The timing, on the other hand, is somewhat of a crap-shoot for many people. Speaking of timing, f relativity does not just pertain to Einstein's theory concerning time and space; it can be used in investing also. Let me explain.
There are at least two ways to look at any one stock from a stance of relative value. The first is in a stock's relative value to itself. Company financials, price to book, dividend and yield, people and leadership, all of that good stuff. Cool. This is often where most analysis stops. The second part is in a stock's value relative to other stocks, not limited just to those in its sector either.
Anyone half-paying attention should have known that Fitbit (sorry to be picking on you) simply would never be close to half as valuable as Apple on a per-share basis. Then why would that be reflected on the stock market at one point? My guess would be, "hype."
As I predicted a few years ago to the tin ears of close friends and family members, we are now entering a mass assimilation - not quite a contraction in which things will shrink - a small era in which the new technologies and processes will be made more smooth, the scopes of various endeavors more properly aligned in their respective markets. We will still see some cool, new things emerge, of course - change is the only constant. But the massive impact of smarter technology should be a little more familiar from now on, a little less jarring to our day-to-day.
The iPod, iPhone and Steve Jobs will of course be for a long, long time remembered for their effect on humanity. The simplicity of the man's thinking and the resulting devices has caused what would seem, were it in the chemistry world, like a very simple reaction, but without control for one set of variables:the heat and entropy (disorder) that were given off.
So many hopped on the gravy train of "Tech + X = $" without accounting for, well, anything else really. What we have gotten in return is possibly our most impulsive version of humanity yet.Not that this is all-negative, but in this internet era where the consumer is perhaps more informed than ever before, in order to combat the potential decline in sales, we needed to have some companies emerge and lower the barrier to entry for sales or else perhaps the economy would have halted, aside from essential goods and services. A smart consumer is a dangerous one.
*A number of the more lauded, recent economic successes such as Uber and Amazon thrive on the lowered barrier to entry for use of their products and services.Translation: impulse buys. They have tapped into the very human emotions, feelings and needs that can translate into quick sales. The question I have is not just whether this convenience is "a good thing," (not really my place to ask that) but is it sustainable? Will people eventually tire of certain conveniences in exchange for something greater?
Now, entropy is not all bad. I recently read an article -
in which researchers from the University of Toronto and Paris Descartes University believe that the entropy we all experience may indeed create our consciousness. Blew my freakin' mind! So simple, yet so elegant. And quite possibly correct!
Back to Exercise and Tech..
We can all see that fitness happens inside your body. It didn't take a crystal ball four years ago to see that technology would not have quite the impact on our health from an exercise standpoint that many thought it would.
Many industries that may be less morbid than the health industry can paint broader strokes to sell consumers their goods and services. Give you the "feels," make you want to buy their stuff, y'know? The fitness industry is showing this to be a very popular way of marketing. Just look at Instagram.
But the industry will not stand still. Change is and always has been the only constant. There is a lot of attention being paid to fitness right now. The current ceiling among the popular fitness press would be strength training for women, mobility work, and the pendulum-swing away from H.I.I.T. after it has been worn out, when in fact there is much more than can be covered on interval training (article coming soon). Some more specified sites run by specialized physical therapy groups and select are putting out some really good, ahead-of-the-curve information for the every-person. Those are few and far between, though.
The industry is continuously changing. Check out Nike Phil Knight's book, "Shoe Dog" for proof of change over time. You should read it. Highly recommend it. Without ruining the book for you, he mentions at one point how running became very popular right around the time he had started selling running shoes in the 1960's. Running and physical activity in America were undergoing a boon.
Since then, fitness as an extracurricular activity has continued to explode. Just look at how, over the last few decades, we have gone from big box gyms to boutiques and studio cycling right in your home, with many fads, good or bad, in between. We are truly seeing a shift towards individual preferences, the all-important "customized lifestyle," if you will.
However, with changes in healthcare and insurance coverage we are also being forced now more than ever to be ahead of the curve in our own health care. This means measured fitness decisions that not only ask of us what we are getting from our money and time spent, but the return on investment for our health.
Sure, a business-like approach to fitness doesn't sound as fun as whimsically floating through the next trend like a jellyfish, but what if:
- Performing better
- Being able to tackle new physical challenges
- Saving money on health insurance and health costs
- Preventing sickness, injury and disease
were all related and could be approached concurrently?
They can. "How," you ask? With your initial, up front investment - that is the only way to achieve ROI - investing your time and your money up front. Then watch the "health dividends" pour in.
This is our mission, our greatest and most rewarding challenge at Cado - Excellent Quality of Life, while putting the "fun" in functional.
In the healthcare industry, it is especially important to deliver relevant information and products that actually help our clients and patients. Anything less is unprofessional and detrimental to the conduct of good healthcare.
**Put your clients and your patients before your own self interest. That statement should be added to the Hippocratic Oath; Capitalism wasn't nearly as large in 400-300 BC as it is now.
Fun side note: speaking of Hippocrates (according to Charles M. Tipton, PhD's textbook titled "History of Exercise Physiology"), in addition to being the father of medicine and a major advocate of the humoral theory, he is also credited with being the first person in recorded history to actually prescribe exercise for his patients.
According to Dr. Tipton's text, to Hippocrates, exercise meant "walking running, wrestling, swinging the arms, push-ups, shadow boxing and ball punching" (hopefully volleyballs?!) at a moderate intensity. Hippocrates also believed in warming up prior to exercise, and that excessive exercise should be avoided.
In Dr. Tipton's text, an example of Hippocrates's exercise prescription was provided, for a patient with "consumption":
Walk 3.7 km the first day (at the time measured in "stades") and subsequently increase by 0.93 km/day (5 stades) until a total distance of 18.5 km (100 stades) was reached. Then that distance was maintained for 30 days. That is just under 11.5 miles per day!!!
However, Hippocrates was not the first person in the world's recorded history to mention the health benefits of Exercise. According to Dr. Tipton's book, the distinction of earliest exercise advocate would go to Susruta, the Indian doctor from ~600 BC. Quoting Tipton, Susruta advocated for "moderate exercise to restore equilibrium among the dosas (humors), maintain health, and minimize the problems of diabetes and obesity."
How human of us to still be battling these issues 2,600 years later.. personally I believe if technology were to more fully take over vital human jobs, we would simply have more time for leisure, and hence, exercise. Then again, that is the particular lens through which I am looking every day..
So, what does this history lesson have to do with the relative value of pedometers?
To bring this article full-circle, another philosophical question:
Did we really need an expensive Fathers' or Mothers' Day gift to tell us what we have known for over 2,600 years?!
Did anybody even read a &@$!*%# paper on the proper utilization of pedometers before selling them? No. The people who should have, the developers of these overly expensive toys, were too busy pushing sales. Adding a bad type of entropy to our collective consciousness by too closely following "The Startup Owner's Manual" (also a good read) and simply trying to push out an MVP (minimally viable product). If the pedometer protagonists properly informed their customer base, I'll bet there would have been sold at best 1/100 of the pedometers that actually were. Besides, by now most smartphones come equipped with some sort of pedometer.
Here is one research paper written in 2010 by one of my college professors, Tony Musto, PhD - http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/abs/10.1123/jpah.7.6.737 -
It shows that, in a very specific population, using a pedometer may be helpful to people in gauging their incremental progress when going from no exercise to a safe amount. The example from the study was parking one's car further when showing up to work and adding to her/his daily movement count.
The greatest weakness for many people who are starting or changing a fitness routine is failing to accurately assess their current situation. This includes not having the proper objective data, or even worse, being led by the wrong type of information down some sort of convenient, cognitive bias path. This can take people further away from their truly desired destinations by misleading them, or causing them to focus on the wrong details.
We become that on which we place our focus. The head leads the body. We are what we do with our time. Instead of hiding from our truths, let us harness them to be even more productive. It may not feel good at first, but eventually the effects of good, objective information will push us to an evermore positive place.
The right type of information and feedback can help guide our decision making towards greater performance and health. Next week, we will continue on a bit more specifically about cardiovascular exercise - dive into the VO2 max assessment, the relevance of select genetic tests, their ties to cardiovascular performance and disease, and learn further about what technological relevance really is in exercise science.