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Wearable Tech and Corporate Wellness Week in Review -- Week of 6/29/15

By Russell Benaroya



I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July celebration!!

This Rhythm-Based Health Wearable Can Change How You Feel
Summary: There are plenty of wearables out on the market that can do everything from tracking your steps, monitoring your baby's sleeping patterns etc. And now there is a new breed of wearable technology that does more than track activity and send alerts — it can change how you feel.  Now that’s innovation.  Check out this article from Lauren Keating (@techtimes_news).

Summary: The life sciences team at Google X is building a wearable health sensor for cardiac and activity tracking, but it isn’t a Fitbit or Apple Watch competitor.  Google’s device is a clinical-grade sensor designed for investigational use.  Read more from Jonah Comstock (@jonahcomstock) at mobihealthnews.

Summary: Wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone are winning over a lot of consumers with their promise that data can enhance health. But will 10,000 steps/day alone be enough motivation?  Read more to find out in this article from Bryan Bumgardner (@bryanbumgardner).

Summary: Employers are fitting their staff with heart and fitness monitors. But not everyone is hailing it as a great step forward for health.  Does wearable tech create anxiety and guilt or empowerment and motivation.  Great article by Olivia Rudgard (@oliviarudgard).

Posted on July 5, 2015 09:44 PM

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EveryMove Wins Top 100 Best Places to Work for the Third Straight Year

By Russell Benaroya


EveryMove was honored last evening (7/2/15) to be recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Seattle  for the third straight year.  Receiving the honor is a testament to the incredible team at EveryMove.   It’s also probably the most emotional honor that we’ve received.  

We’ve had a challenging year at EveryMove and have had to make some difficult decisions to re-align our organization to support the opportunity in front of us.  We’re in an exciting spot with a clear path forward to change how healthcare is valued in our country but building a new type of business is not a walk in the park.  When people join companies that are changing a market they are joining a journey, jam-packed with all the unknowns.  So I’m reflecting on this award (and why it’s so meaningful for our team), and here is what is going through my head:

A best place to work is not always fun.  Don’t confuse fun with working for a great company.  Business can be tough, frustrating, confusing, and ambiguous.  There are times when we all get tired, question our direction, our sanity, and our capabilities.  Companies go through highs and lows.  A best place to work isn’t one that masquerades as “fun all the time”.  It’s a place that respects the individual, creates an environment where ideas can be shared, and is willing to celebrate wins but also learn from failure.  And yes, a good dose of fun is important.

Communication is everything.  When you think that you have communicated everything to the team, communicate it again.  It’s important to put the structures in place so that communication is consistent and timely.  It’s also important to communicate how change is going to impact each individual.   Whether done one on one or in a group setting, eliminate ambiguity.  Ambiguity is a killer.  Trust me.

Having a vision matters all the time.  Did you know that Microsoft just changed its mission statement?  Yes, that Microsoft.  That made me feel really good.  It means that re-aligning a mission may be necessary at any stage of company (phew!) and it’s okay.  What’s not okay is not being clear on the “why” of your company’s purpose.   When uncertainty creeps in it makes it hard to develop a product roadmap, align the organization, and set objectives.  Even if the vision is off the mark, it’s a direction for which momentum can build.

Depend on each other.  Great companies have people that depend on each other and come together when times are tough.  There are no superheroes in most businesses.  The power comes from many, many, many small victories that add up to something substantial.  Those victories could be generating revenue, a customer success story, building a backup system, hiring a new person, launching a new homepage, having a great team event, and thousands more small things.  Depending on each other is about letting people thrive in their area of expertise and make a mark (no matter how large or small) to benefit the greater whole. 

We’ve made some great strides as an organization and we’ll continue to overcome challenges.  The reflection I’m having here is not new.  It’s what I think about pretty much everyday and what I’ll continue to strive for in helping to make EveryMove a great place to work.  I’m grateful for the team at EveryMove and am hopeful that we can continue our streak of being a Best Place to Work in Seattle.

Posted on July 2, 2015 11:48 PM

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How I Move. The Stories of People that Move us to Better Health -- Ben Elowitz (Co-Founder, Blue Nile and Wetpaint)

By Russell Benaroya

Ben Elowitz is an extraordinary individual.  He is generous, funny, outgoing and an incredibly charismatic leader.  He has been behind some very exciting and successful tech companies like Blue Nile (diamonds anyone?) and Wetpaint.  There are some people that you meet and know they will make an impact.  That's Ben.  Ben is also committed to his health and wellness and it is integral to his life.  I'm proud to showcase Ben on this edition of How I Move.  I know you will get something out of it.


What do you do to stay fit?
I lift weights 3-6 times a week for my own goals, plus 0-2 hours of cardio a week on the treadmill.  On weekends I sometimes do other stuff like going for rides, walks, and runs – either when it’s for fun or to spend time with my husband or friends. I also choose to work a diet for my goals into my life, eating to hit targets for calories and macronutrients every day and choosing healthy (or at least healthy-ish foods… I mean, really, what’s so bad about a Chipotle bowl other than a whole lotta delicious sodium?) almost all the time. 

Why is it important to you?
I’ve had a long-standing goal of getting in ever-better shape, which I’ve pursued pretty relentlessly to the extent work has let me do it.  When I started, it was all about my goals.  Over time, I’ve come to love my workouts and they are my favorite hour-plus of the day.

Do you have any fitness goals in your sights?
At the moment I’m chasing down an elusive six-pack…  Gotta be one under here some place, and it’s running out of places to hide.  I can’t wait to find it.

How do you track your workouts?  Do you use any apps or devices?
I log every lifting day in a moleskine notebook, and fill up a couple books a year, one page per day.  I track my eating using MyFitnessPal.  I also weigh in every day on a Withings Smart Body Analyzer. Recently I’ve been playing with the Skulpt

What do / did you do to promote health and fitness at your Company?
At my last company, my COO Rob Grady and head of finance Deb Alexander worked together to create a flexible benefits program that they named MyChoice.  It gave every employee an annual budget of their own to direct to the personal wellness and development areas most valuable to them.  They could reimburse up to about $200/month in gym memberships, massage, elective education, and more.  It was a brilliant idea – our employees universally loved it - and I’m very grateful to Rob and Deb for coming up with it and making it happen. I hope other companies are inspired to do so as well. 

How does your commitment to health help you at your job?
My workouts have been the most important thing I do to manage stress and feel balanced when things are crazy; and to keep me feeling good year-round.  

Any advice you would give people that are trying to be more active?
For me it was incredibly valuable when I stopped having to exercise because I ‘should’ and started realizing I was doing what I enjoy.  I would say that for those who don’t enjoy exercise, the most valuable thing is to let go of expectations and see if you can find things you actually enjoy – and work at an intensity you enjoy to build the habit.  

Posted on July 2, 2015 02:53 PM

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Successful Employee Wellness Programs Embrace “Value on Investment”

By Russell Benaroya
Recently I attended the HR Health and Benefits Leadership Conference in Las Vegas and listened to some of the leading companies in America talk about their investments in employee health and wellness.  The topic is hot these days as more and more companies redistribute their healthcare dollars to prevention from insurance premiums.  I’m encouraged to see prevention being so valued inside of an organization and it bodes well for making employers a safe and supportive place for individual wellness.  Much of the discussion at the conference was how to value the investment in wellness.

So what’s at play here in the employer market?  First, we are starting to see the inevitable move to consumer directed health plans where employees are making their own benefit plan decisions and employers are contributing a monthly amount to an employee (think 401K contributions for health insurance).  There is a re-distribution happening here where the employee is bearing more out of pocket costs.  Wellness programs can offset some of that employee cost.  Second, regulation is accommodating more employer flexibility for incentives tied to wellness (up to 30% lower premium for participation) so the dollars can be meaningful for an employee.  Third, employers are recognizing that happy, productive employees contribute best when they are healthy (no surprise) so it’s worth the investment. 

We are all motivated to lower healthcare costs and investments in employee wellness are well aligned with that purpose.  However, many of the employers presenting challenged the group to appreciate that there is a lot of value to be gained along the journey to reducing healthcare expenditures.  It's like climbing Mt. Everest.  You can’t get to the summit unless you make it to the basecamps first.  In other words, if success if only defined as lowering healthcare costs (the summit) then employers will miss the other necessary milestones (basecamps) along the journey.  These milestones include:

  1. Success Stories:  Employees lives can be changed for the better because of employer sponsored programs.  Whether the success is losing weight, running a first 5K, or just being happy, unlocking these stories and sharing them throughout an organization are powerful waypoints toward better health.
  2. Feedback:  Are you offering something that employees enjoy?  Are you soliciting their feedback to make your program great.  Wellness is a great vehicle to get employees contributing to their organization.  Surveys can be effective here.  
  3. Engagement:  Are people actually using the program and how are they engaging with it?  Did the program attract a majority of employees?  Does the data show that we’re getting “activation” not just sign-up or participation? 
It is indisputable that active, healthy individuals cost less.  80% of our healthcare dollars are spent as the result of poor lifestyle decisions.  We shouldn’t argue this point.  What we should argue is how to best value the dollars spent on promoting a workplace that values healthy, productive employees.  While we all want to make it to the summit, let's makes sure we get to the basecamps first.

Posted on June 30, 2015 01:47 PM

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Wearable Tech and Corporate Wellness Week in Review -- Week of 6/22/15

By Russell Benaroya




Lots of action packed information this week on the back of Fitbit's IPO the prior week.  More and more attention is getting paid to the growth in wearable technology and its role in the corporate environment.  I hope you find some interesting articles in the roundup.


Author: Cheryl Swanson (@uthorcdswanson)
Summary: According to a report, over 20% of Americans own a fitness tracker, and another 80% are familiar with at least one wearable health device on the market. These products cover every sport and some even include social features. Fitbit claims to own up to 68% of the total market.


Author: Eamon Kunze (@eamonkunze)
Summary: Applications, wearables and nanotech are revolutionizing healthcare by empowering the consumer to take care of themselves and to perform better in their personal and professional lives.


Author: Rachel Metz (@rachelmetz)
Summary:  With one of the sensor-filled gadgets on the wrist, surely the user could get accurate information about the body. That’s the idea, at least. There are many reasons that may lead to inaccurate data/vital information.


Author: Frank Espinoza (@TexasFES)
Summary: Wearable technology can serve as a great motivational tool for many, but the experts are skeptical about its overall effectiveness.


Author: Matt Hamblen (@matthamblen)
Summary: Companies are encouraging their employees to use wearable fitness technologies by completing health focused challenges that can be converted to various rewards.

Posted on June 26, 2015 05:14 PM

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How I Move. The Stories of People that Move us to Better Health -- David Nilssen (CEO, Guidant Financial)

By Russell Benaroya
How I Move is a new series we are kicking off at EveryMove to learn how business leaders stay fit and healthy and how that contributes to their success in the workplace.  

This week I'm excited to introduce you to David Nilssen, CEO of Guidant Financial.  Guidant Financial helps entrepreneurs around the country start businesses (over 10,000 to date).  They provide the financing needed for visionaries to follow their dreams.  David is an accomplished author, speaker and business leader.


Here in his own words is how fitness contributes to David's success:

What do you do to stay fit?
I’m an avid cyclist. I hit the local Flywheel studio a few times a week and enjoy a long ride outdoors on weekends.  In addition, I try to lift weights a few times a week. My wife and I live in a very walkable community and we certainly take advantage of it.  

Why is it important to you?
Owning a business is stressful. Being fit – mentally and physically – is a must.  I have three daily goals that help me feel stronger and ultimately make good choices.  First, drink half my body weight in ounces.  Second, stretch for twenty minutes.  And lastly, make sure I get seven hours of sleep.  If I don’t, everything else suffers.

Do you have any fitness goals in your sights?
I’m currently training for the Seattle to Portland (STP) ride July 11.  It’s 200 miles which is more than I’ve ever done.  I’m excited to test my abilities and overcome the challenge.

How do you track your workouts?  Do you use any apps or devices?
I use FitBit to ensure I’m consistently being active.  I worry less about logging a specific workout.  It’s been even more fun since learning I can put the device on my shoe when cycling so it gives me credit for the work!

What does Guidant do to promote health and fitness at the Company?
We do but can always do better.  Each team member has access to our gym and we encourage our managers to conduct 1:1’s by walking around the block.  Each summer we offer “walking groups” and I’m excited to share that a few years back – two of our employees lost about 100lbs each.

How does your commitment to health help you at your job?
After a workout I’m a better version of myself.  The mind is calm, the body is strong and the energy is high.  It’s noticeable the days I’ve “done the work.”

Any advice you would give people that are trying to be more active?
What gets measured – gets managed.  And, if you don’t have a goal then the destination is unclear.  I have noticed significant improvements to my overall fitness since implementing the FitBit.  And, I’m training much harder with the STP on the horizon.

Thanks for contributing David.  You're an inspiration!

Posted on June 23, 2015 04:45 PM

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Wearable Tech and Corporate Wellness Week in Review -- Week of 6/15/15

By Russell Benaroya
Week in Review -- Week of 6/15/15

Here are some of the highlights for the week in wearable technology and corporate wellness. 

Fitbit goes public.  Here is a great article in the Economist that talks about the opportunities and the risks ahead for Fitbit.  There is a lot of competition ahead in a pretty new industry.  Watch what happens.  Article.

IDC predicts huge growth in the wearables market.  IDC estimates that 72 million devices will be shipped in 2015, up 173% from 2014.  That’s pretty huge.  Article.

Individual fitness tracking turns social.  Debora Gardner (Northwest Public Health) wrote an interesting article about the role of fitness tracking, data analytics and population health.  Check it out.  Article.

EveryMove Launches 3.0.  Exciting week for us here at EveryMove.  We launched our 3.0 product that improves the social fitness experience for everyone.  We hope you enjoy it.  Blog Post.

Posted on June 19, 2015 03:23 PM

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Congratulations Fitbit. An Industry Validated.

By Russell Benaroya
Today Fitbit went public and priced its shares at $20.  At the time of this post they were trading at approximately $29/share.  That values Fitbit at approximately $4 billion at its IPO price.  They just raised $730 million.  That is impressive.  What does this mean for wearable technology and the fitness tracking market?


  • Huge validation that fitness tracking is here for real -- By 2018, global shipments for wearables will reach 144 million units according to IDC.  We've got a big and growing market here.  
  • More competition is coming -- Fitbit was smart to raise so much capital.  The consumer products market is incredibly competitive and they will need to innovate ahead of the competition.  They are well positioned.
  • The employer market is going to be huge.  Employers are rapidly adopting innovative wellness programs to improve productivity and lower healthcare costs.  Expect to see significant consumer adoption coming through the enterprise market.
EveryMove is helping individuals make that Fitbit data purposeful by using it to build a social community that drives inspiration and motivation to achieve individual goals.  We then help individuals connect to their employer or health plan to drive financial incentives around their fitness.

EveryMove and Fitbit are nicely aligned.  Choose the tracker that works for you and plug it into the EveryMove network to amplify the impact of your fitness.  Tracking provides a whole new world of communication and social relationships that will help people be more successful in living an active and healthy life.

Congratulations Fitbit!

Posted on June 18, 2015 03:21 PM

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Welcome to EveryMove 3.0!

By Russell Benaroya
We’re excited to announce a new release of EveryMove today. We've made a big effort to help you connect and share your fitness life with the people that inspire and motivate you.  As many of you know there have been a lot of changes over the last several months and we’re excited about the stage that is being set with this latest version on iOS, Android and Web.

EveryMove is the best way to track and share your fitness journey. Because we connect to virtually every fitness tracking app and device it is easy to have one place to track your fitness and connect with others. Inspiration, support and accountability are the pillars of achieving your health goals and that is what you'll find at EveryMove. Whether it's your spouse, groups of friends, or people that do similar activities, you will find your tribe on EveryMove.

Here are some of the updates that you will see:


  1. You are in Focus:  We have cleaned up the visual design to make sure that your comments and photos are the star of the show.
  2. From Friends to Followers:  Following allows you to find people that motivate you and stay connected to their activities.  People will also follow you because you inspire them.
  3. New Add Activity:  We significantly improved the add activity feature on web and mobile.  You should find it very intuitive and easy to populate with additional information from pictures to people to locations to notes.
  4. Active Days and Very Active Days Simplified: We’ve simplified the formula we use to calculate an Active Day and a Very Active Day. To be awarded an Active Day, you must earn 20 activity points. To be awarded a Very Active Day, you must earn 55 activity points. Points earned for non-activity actions (like check-ins or Sharing the Love) do not contribute to earning an Active Day or Very Active Day.
  5. Public / Private Settings:  We simplified privacy settings so you can either be private and keep most of your activity solo or you can set it to public and put yourself out there to get a greater amount of community support.
  6. Sponsored Challenges on Mobile:  For those lucky enough to have their employer sponsoring incentives or team challenges on EveryMove we have gone mobile with our most popular challenge, Movetastic.  If you’re interested in our employer offering you can learn more here.


Until EveryMove there has been no digital destination to connect all of your fitness activity to a personal social network. Your friends. Your data. Your goals. Welcome to EveryMove 3.0.  


Posted on June 16, 2015 03:38 PM

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NEW: Get Fit for Summer with EveryMove Goals

By Bailey Nelson
Could your workout schedule use a little spring refresh? Our newest feature, EveryMove Goals, provide all the tools to stick with an amped up workout routine - plus, you can invite friends to join you in your new pursuit of fitness!

We’ve built Goals to help you form healthy habits by committing to doing certain activities consistently: think running, swimming, weight lifting, or biking three times a week and short sessions of planking, burpees, or yoga every day.  When you join a goal, your tracked workouts will count towards completing your winning streak and help you rank on your Goal Leaderboard.

Need a reason to start? With EveryMove Goals you can:  
  • Look & feel great at upcoming event: try daily burpees Goal along with a T25 Goal
  • Give an inactive friend some motivation: do a step counting Goal together
  • Train with a long-distance workout buddy: use a running Goal to keeps tabs on each other’s runs
  • Challenge your fittest friends: start burpee Goal and see who earns bragging rights
  • Go on more walking meetings: invite some coworkers to join you in a walking Goal

Goals are available in our latest iOS and Android apps as well as on the web.
To tackle your first goal, visit Goals, choose an activity to do either daily or three times a week, invite some friends to join you, and get moving!
For more detailed info on EveryMove Goals, visit our Goals FAQ: https://everymove.org/goals/faq

Posted on March 24, 2015 05:48 PM

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