The news that before too long two-thirds of us will be obese might be just the spur that somewhat indolent accountants need to take action. While for some, the immediate response might be to have another glass of wine and order the quadruple chocolate gateau, there are better solutions.
If like this reviewer, you would prefer to avoid a tedious diet and have never been tempted to join a gym and waste anything up to £100 a month on a luxury that you will never use, help is at hand.
The market is currently being bombarded with assorted activity trackers, each of which offers slightly different variations on a theme. The Garmin vívosmart 3 seems to be the perfect solution for amateurs trying a little self-help but might also offer something pretty good for those who take their exercise a little more seriously.
It is packed with functions that can be tailored or ignored depending on your tastes. The starting point is to link up the slim, comfortable band to its formidable operating system on Android or Apple.
Having done this, users can choose a preferred display, giving the time and additional information at the flick of a wrist, and are ready to go.
Immediately, you are set a number of targets. The most obvious is steps, which start at 10,000 but seem to increase on a daily basis such that after just over a week, the number had hit 13,300, which is quite a challenge. This also converts into miles and means that in order to pass the test, the original five miles has increased to over six and a half. If desired, owners can even measure and insert their stride length for greater accuracy
If that was not enough, the little tyrant on your wrist also demands that you go up at least 10 flights of stairs or steep inclines a day and achieve 150 minutes of intensive exercise every week. On the positive side, when you hit targets, it does cheerily help you to celebrate the fact.
In addition, it tells you calories expended in real time and is happy to measure your heart rate and stress levels on a constant basis, as well as analyse sleep patterns, which can come as a bit of a shock. Is it really right that a self-respecting accountant can’t even achieve two hours of deep sleep, even if stress levels were pleasingly manageable?
The more adventurous can measure assorted reps (whatever those are), set up specific targets for different kinds of activities such as playing golf or running a marathon and the unit is waterproof to a depth of 50m, meaning not only that it can stay on while you’re in the shower but it will also measure your swimming skills.
For sedentary accountants, the unit also buzzes if you fail to move as often as it would like; a function that is either encouraging or irritating but can be turned off.
As suggested earlier, much of the data that you need is displayed on an easily visible black-and-white touch screen but the serious stuff is conveyed by Bluetooth to your smartphone or through the charger to a laptop or PC, where the array of data is quite staggering.
This includes estimates of VO2 max and your fitness age, the latter rather more obviously intelligible and in return for a little serious effort potentially very flattering (this reviewer’s fitness age is 20, which is considerably lower than the calendar equivalent).
As if all of that was not enough, it will even tell you when texts and emails come in on a connected mobile, find the phone when it gets lost and controls its music.
The Garmin vívosmart 3 has a list price of £129, though has been as much as £50 cheaper if you shop around. It comes in three tasteful colours and looks really stylish. The internal battery lasts around five days, which saves the worry of forgetting it for a day or two and finding that you have no power left.
The bad news for your newly fit reviewer is that having tested out the product for a couple of weeks and being obliged to return to the PR company, he is planning to get one of his own.