Can Hard Workers Find Balance?

Learning how to measure & manage lifestyles

The problem

Over the past 200 years, advances in healthcare and significant drops in violent crime rates have led to increases in life expectancy all over the world. In the US, the average life expectancy at birth has nearly doubled, jumping from about 40 in 1880 to 78.7 in 2011. This means people are on average becoming healthier, right?

Nope.

About 45% of Americans (133 million people) have at least one chronic disease, and the number is expected to grow to 49% by 2025. Our life spans have mostly increased because we’re much better at treating sick people than we used to be, but we actually get sick more often.

What makes things worse is that we usually don’t bother going to the doctor or get help until we are already sick. We treat our health as if it’s a binary state — we are either “healthy” or “sick.” The truth is that “healthy” and “sick” are just two ends of a much broader spectrum, and we spend the vast majority of our lives somewhere in between.

Where we are on this spectrum affects our productivity, relationships, happiness and overall quality of life. This is why preventative healthcare — everything you do to take care of your body before you actually get sick — is extremely important.

People in the US seem to understand this. Consider the following:

  • 17% of people in the US buy gadgets to track their exercise, nutrition, etc.
  • $11B is spent annually on books and workshops about stress
  • Headspace, an app that teaches people how to meditate, is a $250M business
  • The wellness market amounts to about $3.4 trillion annually
  • 102 million wearables were shipped in 2016

The problem is that in spite of the billions of dollars Americans spend on fitness gadgets, self-help books, and therapists, only about 3% of people in the US lead a healthy lifestyle and 73% do not reach their fitness goals.

There are too many ways to take care of your health and nobody knows what works for them, so people end up sick from detox diets, overwhelmed by 50 different types of yoga, spend $400 on juicers, and finally just say “F*$k it, I quit.”

The people

The healthy lifestyle market caters to 3 different kinds of people:

  1. Sexy bombshells.
    There are people who are concerned about their appearance and looking hot (good for them!). A good example of an app that works for sexy bombshells is Fitocracy. The founders of the app openly admit that they wanted to help people look good.
  2. Tired hard workers. 
    These people are in an abusive relationship with their careers. They’re trying to get a lot done, but realize that the amount of responsibility increases with age while energy levels drop. Their productivity suffers, panic sets in, and they start looking for solutions that will help them keep working.
  3. Recovering seniors.
    There are also people who are sick and need to constantly monitor their health in order to recover from a chronic illness.

Welltory works with tired hard workers. Why?

It’s an audience we understand well — we work all the time, we’re in our 30’s, and we’re starting to feel the effects of stress on our health and productivity.

Like us, our clients are:

  • Extremely ambitious
  • Have a ton of responsibility
  • Swamped with deadlines
  • Encounter a lot of uncertainty

The solution

Researchers have done over 56,000 studies to figure out how to make people take better care of their health. Basically, here is what needs to happen:

  1. People need to understand why taking care of their health is important.
  2. People need to understand why the specific proposed solution works and will help them get healthier.
  3. People need to believe that they can accomplish the goal. They need to see proof that the method works, preferably in numbers and concrete examples.
  4. People need encouragement and specific techniques to make new healthy habits stick.

At Welltory, we decided that the best way to ensure that all four of these criteria are met was to create a data-driven service that relies on measurable results.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”
- management guru Peter Drucker

At the core of our product is Heart Rate Variability (HRV) — a scientifically-proven health assessment method analyzing the variation in time intervals between heartbeats. Initially developed by space scientists who wanted to know how being in space affects astronauts, HRV offers objective insights into what’s going on with people’s bodies in real time. The method has been around for decades and is widely used across a number of fields, including professional sports.

Our app lets people take HRV measurements through their smartphone camera and then uses mathematical algorithms to estimate their Stress & Energy levels. These two key indicators provide users with objective feedback about their health in real time and are the foundation of our service.

In the full version of the app, people can also plug in data from their fitness gadgets, nutrition trackers, and apps that track things like sleep and productivity in order to get a complete picture of their lifestyle.

Over time, Welltory generates graphs and charts that allows people to see how different lifestyle factors affect their stress & energy levels.

For example, here is a graph showing the relationship between a user’s level of productivity and number of hours he spent at the gym:

People can also go on quests in order to improve their stress & energy indicators.

A quest is a mini-mission that needs to be completed with data from real life — “walk 10,000 steps a day for a week,” for example. Quests give people the tools they need to figure out how their body reacts to specific activities. By completing quests, people gain insight into how their bodies work, figure out what works for them personally, and get better at managing their stress & energy balance.

The app makes workaholics care about their health by providing them with:

  1. Motivation. People know that their stress and energy levels influence their productivity, so improving these health indicators becomes important to them.
  2. Proof. The app’s stress & energy levels allow people to see results in real time. By taking regular measurements, a user begins to see how things like taking walks or getting enough sleep affect their bodies. Data doesn’t lie.
  3. Knowledge. The app is supplemented with short, easily-digestible courses that enable users learn more about how their bodies work with the help of questionnaires, short videos and succinct explanations.

In a nutshell, Welltory is an individualized approach to health that relies on science, lifestyle data, education and uncheatable quests in order to give people the tools they need to manage their stress & energy balance.

Things to keep in mind

Your body operates according to its own set of rules. If you plan to get the most out of life, it’s important to figure out what these rules are and how they work for you personally. Here are some tips to keep in mind on your journey:

  1. We’re all different. Some people do better with meditation or yoga, while others need to go to hot-boxing classes. Some of us need 9 hours of sleep every night, while others function perfectly well on just 6–7. Welltory is a tool that helps you find what works for you.
  2. Our goal is balance. Stress isn’t always bad for you. It actually makes you stronger, both physically and mentally. They key is knowing when and how to recover properly.
  3. Scientific approach is key. Make a hypothesis, then experiment.
  4. Data is the answer. It helps you measure, monitor, and quantify results.
  5. Gadgets are cool. If you have them, integrate them with Welltory to learn more about your body.
  6. There’s a lot to learn, which is why Welltory’s educational component is an important part of our service. Short courses will help guide you toward a better, happier version of yourself. Learn more about your brain, exhaustion, depression, nutrition and more.