For so long we’ve viewed health as something to handle in our leisure time. We eat healthy, we go to the gym, we don’t smoke, we hike and surf on the weekend – it seems like we really got it covered! And for many years, that did basically cover us. But times are changing, and as you’ve probably heard, there’s a new green eyed monster trying to take down your well-being. It’s not sugar, it’s not gluten, it’s not the TV…it’s your job.
Today, over 80% of our workforce works an inactive job, one where they sit idle and inactive for 40 or more hours a week. Most of us know that it’s bad for us. Diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, neck pain, back pain – each of these conditions can be related back to prolonged sitting. Our bodies are made to move, and without motion, we experience a cumulative dysfunction that results in jaw dropping statistics like this one: every hour that you sit takes 22 minutes off of your life. To truly experience good health, we have to take care of our bodies all of the time, whether we’re at work or not.
Luckily in recent years a bevy of products have entered the market, offering alternatives to sitting all day in a cushioned office chair: standing desks, balance boards, ball chairs, activity trackers, the list goes on.
But according to one local chiropractor, “working well” isn’t as much about your office furniture as it is about your habits. “I’m a huge proponent of standing desks and active work stations, but just buying one isn’t enough. For many people, the standing desk in their office functions as well as the treadmill in their living room – just another product bought with the best intentions and then not used or used correctly. I knew that I needed a way to teach, motivate, and reinforce healthy workstyles for my patients. And using technology, I was able to do just that.”
Dr. Eric Soltanoff is the founder of a program called Voom, and together with pro-surfer Tyler Fox, he’s encouraging you to focus on your workplace habits when you think about your health in 2016.
“My interest in inactivity and prolonged sitting came about when I noticed that the majority of my patients – male or female, young or old, athlete or couch potato – were coming to see me for an injury I could relate directly back to how they were sitting at work. It was 2013, and my brother and I set out to create a solution for our own patients that would be simple, easy, effective, and turn the problem, our reliance on technology, into the solution.”
Voom is a software, web application, and phone app that encourages users to move more throughout the day with push notifications and 2 minute Work Out videos. In the world of health and wellness, mixed messages and new science can be complicated and overwhelming. Voom aims to keep things simple: sit a little less, move a little more, feel a whole lot better. The program’s other goal? To be a one stop solution for anyone looking to make their workday healthier.
Bi-coastal and working with different patient populations gave Dr. Eric and his brother an opportunity to build an app that would work for anyone. “In my brother’s practice in upstate New York, he sees a lot of repetitive strain injuries. Here in Santa Cruz, I was seeing a lot of deconditioning injuries. My more active patients – surfers, hikers, runners – were hurting themselves in their normal workouts. The time they spent inactive all week was having an effect on their physical performance outside of work.” The result of their shared experience is a progressive program, perfect for athletes or couch potatoes, and focuses on both alleviating injuries and the risk of long term chronic illness.
That’s how Voom’s founders got involved with our own Tyler Fox. Looking for more advanced Work Outs for the program, Dr. Eric reached out to one of his local Santa Cruz athletic role models. “I loved the idea of being able to reach my students through technology, and offer them an opportunity to keep themselves healthy and in shape wherever they are” says Fox. “When Doctor Eric asked to film some of my personal workouts for his program, I said I’m in!” Today Voom users can access 40+ videos of Tyler’s personal stretches and exercises with more to come in 2016.
New Year’s Resolutions
With great frustration at the fail rate of most New Year’s resolutions, Dr. Soltanoff and Tyler decided to promote their relationship in time for the holidays. “We really loved the idea of giving people something realistic and sustainable just in time for the holiday season. I hate to see people set their wellness goals too high in January, only to get discouraged and abandon their efforts altogether by February” said Soltanoff.
Promising to change your work habits is by no means an easy goal, but with Voom’s help, you can create a sustainable behavior change that will last you through the year. According to Soltanoff, “The program is gamified and incentivized, you can track your progress and compete with friends. It makes it fun and user friendly – perfect to use together in your office.”
With most of us spending the majority of our waking hours at work, it’s more important than ever that we learn how to focus on our bodies wherever we are. Within the first day of using Voom, users can expect more energy, focus, and accuracy, as well as a decrease in their musculoskeletal pain. Over time, active work will decrease your risk of chronic injuries and illness and increase your cognitive function.
For more information on the science behind Voom, visit www.voomwell.com/resources.
Santa Cruz Wave readers can follow this link to register for a one year Voom membership. If you’re interested in deploying Voom company-wide, or in bulk pricing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Santa Cruz Waves and Voom teams, we wish you all a happy and HEALTHY holiday season!