You may or may not know that I have a brother, Marc.
In addition to being one of my favorite people in the world (and being married to another one of my favorite people in the world, and 6 months ago having my favorite baby in the world), Marc is also the product development / sales manager for this awesome little company called MUVE. No, that's not a typo, and YES, it's pronounced like "MOVE." The premise of the company is, well, to get us all to MOVE.
(Or Muve, as it the case may be).
The company was founded based on the research of Dr. Levine, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN who has spent about 20 years studying obesity and weight management. Dr. Levine came up with this neat little theory called, uh, NEAT, which stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
(Learn to say that ten times fast from memory and you get an automatic pass into the cool club).
The theory postulates that it's not necessarily those who are hitting the gym all the time that are naturally thin, but those who are constantly in natural motion -- walking instead of driving, parking far away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. We used to be a society of people who burned calories by farming, washing clothes by hand, doing dishes, cooking, walking, laboring, etc... and now we're a technology-driven society that doesn't burn calories, because we're so busy sitting on our butts all day, letting computers do the work.
Think about it -- you wake up unnaturally via alarm clock (probably tired because you were up too late watching TV or surfing the internet or working), you get in the shower. You slurp down some coffee and MAYBE pack down some sort of packaged food for breakfast (granola bar, whatever), before you get in your car and go to work. Once you're at work, you SIT in front of your computer all day. Instead of getting up to talk to your co-workers when you need something, you call/email/IM/text them. MAYBE you bring your lunch -- so you're not even walking to the cafeteria or to your car at noon -- if not, you're probably eating something less than healthy for lunch. At the end of the day, you get in your car, sit in rush hour traffice for an hour, get home, and your evening probably includes some amount of couch time, while you watch TV, sit down to eat, and maybe work or cruise the internet again.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
If you're particularly virtuous, like most people reading this blog (grin), you probably spend an hour or so at the gym most days, or hit the pavement for a run when the weather cooperates. \
That's a great start.
But Dr. Levine believes that our society is fat not because of what we're eating (though thatcertainly doesn't help), but because of the lack of natural "MOVEMENT" in our lives. WHat do you do AFTER the gym? AFTER your run? Do you come home and watch TV for 5 hours? Do you pick up some takeout on your way home from the gym, to sustain you while you burn the midnight oil?
You may have heard of the treadmill desk -- where people have treadmills outfitted to hold laptops and phones, and walk for about 1 MPH while conducting business... this is also a product of Dr. Levine's research.
But how do we stay on top of our necessary calorie burn? How do we know how much movement is enough, and when we've been sitting too long?
Enter... MUVE... more specifically, GRUVE.
The handy little GRUVE device, about the size and shape of a pedometer, clips onto your pocket, waistband, or beltloop, and using fancy technology I don't understand, tracks your "muvement" throughout the day -- it isn't a heart rate monitor, so you won't get a SUPER accurate calorie count if you're doing something like lifting weights, but it will track it as "muvement" and therefore it counts towards your daily goals. With the device comes an online membership (available for 1 year or 2 years) that will take your information (age, height, weight, goals, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc), and come up with a daily calorie goal for you to EAT, and to BURN. After a week of taking data, then the real fun comes.
Where the device really differs from a pedometer is in it's user interactivity component -- there is a "halo" bar on the top, which changes from red to green as you meet your daily "muvement" goals. And after too much time sitting on your tush, the device will subtly vibrate to encourage you to get up and "muve" around for a bit -- the user can choose the length of time, and can also opt to silence the vibrating, should you be heading into a meeting or other quiet event.
Not only is this a project and company near and dear to my brother's heart, it's a company and philosophy that I wholeheartedly believe in -- THIS is why I stay on my feet. THIS is why I cook my meals. THIS is why I go to bed early enough that I can rise naturally, unaided by an alarm clock. THIS is why I clean my house, rather than hiring somebody to do it. Why I walk my dog. Why I do my own dishes, wash my own clothes. THIS is why I focus on whole, natural, unprocessed foods and natural, non-chemical ingredients, why I choose water over diet soda, and healthy fruit over high fructose.
It's finally an example of how technology can help, rather than hurt us.
Off and muvin' and gruvin'...