It is the last day of my quantified self week, I’ve been using a pedometer, blood pressure monitor and WiFi scales to keep track of my body data, while tracking all of this in Microsoft’s Health Vault tool.
Through using the web dashboard and Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps, it has been really simple to keep my devices synced (with help from the Connection Centre tool) and even log other areas, such as the food I’ve eaten and calories consumed as a result.
It has been interesting to see my body data and have such a focus on it over the past week. I’ve learned I eat too many calories, have too high a body fat percentage, yet when I put my mind to it I can get plenty of exercise, even if just walking more which is surprisingly easy to find the time for when you start to think about taking meetings on foot or even going for your full lunch hour each day, outside.
With the Windows Phone app, I found myself keeping a check on my data throughout the day – even showing friends and colleagues who were interested in the experiment. It makes you much more aware and accountable to make a change, which has led me to focus on getting out more and eating better – especially after reading about the medical problems associated with obesity and irregular blood pressure.
The Windows 8 app also came in handy, giving me the ability to track my food, log other activity – such as weights at the gym – when on the go, with my Samsung Tablet. The free apps were essential to the week and the simplicity of tracking was a huge benefit.
While I did have a lazy day, it didn’t make too much damage – it is okay to have a rest day it turns out – and it also gave me the opportunity to discover how else Health Vault can be used. It is capable of much more than tracking your personal fitness goals and can be used to keep track of your entire family, manage chronic conditions or even provide the emergency services with the information they need.
Tracking your personal information is already a growing trend in the UK, known largely as the quantified self movement, however I would recommend anyone who has not yet tried doing this, to pick up a pedometer, a decent pair of scales and start using Health Vault and see how it goes. You might learn a thing or two about yourself that you were not aware of. It could even give you the push to make changes to your life that may help reduce your chance of medical problems in the future.
by David Clare
Microsoft Health Team