Can an electrical shock actually encourage you to get a workout in for the day? The creator of the Pavlok, a new fitness wristband, thinks so.
Stanford graduate Maneesh Sethi created the wristband designed to literally shock you if you don't move in a certain period of time. Sethi has his set up to vibrate at 6 a.m. every morning. It'll vibrate the first two times he snoozes it, but the third will provide him with a shocking jolt.
"Pavlok combines accurate tracking capabilities, powerful commitment techniques, and 'on-your-wrist' reminder triggers to change users' brains and form the habits they wish they had," he writes on an investor page.
Basically, you're paying upwards of $250 to get hurt.
The device is in the development phase right now, with Sethi planning a crowdfunding campaign later this year to get the capital to bring the wristbands to market. The device also has a social component that will allow friends to track your progress through social media.
"I myself have lost 30 pounds just doing this in the last few months, simply forcing myself to go and swipe the card at the gym... and my friend can monitor my swiping the card at the gym," he told Engadget.
The goal of the Pavlok is not unlike any of the other umpteen fitness wristbands or clips that are all the rage this year: It uses the power of negative reinforcement to get you to move. Some use social shame, while others (like the smartphone app Pact) charge you real money when you don't get in your workout. No matter the method, you end up paying for a little device to shame you into your Lululemons.
I'll admit I've jumped on the bandwagon with my Garmin VivoFit. At first, it was a nice reminder to get in my recommended 10,000 steps a day. Eventually, it turned into an obsession to get in those steps — and if I didn't, I felt like a fitness failure destined to spend my days as a blob on the couch.
The negative reinforcement didn't work for me — and now my VivoFit sits on my bathroom counter, unused. I still do my regular workouts, but now I don't have the constant nag on my wrist. Instead, I just developed my own habits by scheduling my workouts on the calendar — no excuses, and no anxiety.
Are these wristbands good for some people? Absolutely — especially if that's what inspires you to move your body and get in those recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day. But ultimately, strapping your body with all of the step counters, heart rate monitors and motivational apps in the world won't physically make you get off your butt and work out.
And I'm willing to bet pain won't make you move, either.
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