By Wendy Sarubbi | July 2, 2013 5:08 pm

The UCF College of Medicine has received a $3,000 grant from the National Library of Medicine to study wearable fitness monitors to see whether the technology helps improve wellness.

During the Workplace Wellness Study, 30 volunteer faculty and staff members will wear small Fitbit® and Jawbone™ wireless activity monitors fitness monitors at all times. Each monitor is linked with software that tracks factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, calories burned, steps taken, and even sleep quality. All of the statistics are monitored in real time and volunteers can check their progress via mobile apps and the Internet. “I’m hoping by the end of the study, that all of us come away with a better understanding of our bodies,” said Nadine Dexter, director of the college’s Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library, which applied for the grant.  “I think the biggest thing is awareness of what you’re putting into your body, and how many calories you’re expending.”

All 30 spots were quickly filled by faculty and staff members who are eager to participate. After the six-month study, Dexter hopes to help find funding to make fitness monitors available college-wide. “We sit too long at our desks, and we need to get up and move around,” she said. “I think the Workplace Wellness Study is an invitation for people to not feel chained to their desk.”

The software used with wireless activity monitors is designed to be motivational and Dexter hopes the study will inspire a little friendly competition among participants.  “I think being aware is fun,” she said. “I think this wellness program is going to open the door to making healthy living fun experience.”

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