Training your mind to think in systems and stop looking for linear explanations is difficult.
Personally, I prefer the warm familiarity of my old "either/or", all-or-nothing thought patterns.
"If this, then that" — that's manageable.
Chaos, complexity, and interconnectedness?
Infinitely less manageable.
Or, so I thought — at least until I trialled the Polar Vantage M2 Multisports Watch for a couple weeks.
Systems thinking asks us to synthesize understandings of component parts, and the relationships between them, and how those dynamics might impact upon the constituents that make up what we perceive to be the whole.
In other words: every "thing" is in some way dependent on or impacted by every other "thing" within any given realm — and it's useful to consider those interconnections, particular when your intention is to make a meaningful intervention within that system.
IMHO, there's no greater tool for exploring systems thinking than the human body.
For example: when I asked my Osteopath to explain her profession to me last Tuesday, she said:
"The body's mandate, as a system, is to heal itself. Our assertion is that the body will do exactly that — so long as there's nothing blocking the necessary flows between the various parts and systems that make up the body as a whole. My job, as an Osteopath, is to assess the body system holistically, and then to identify and help unblock any areas that may be causing bottlenecks in the body's natural processes of healing and repairing itself."
Expanding on a similar train of thought, Hacker Noon Technology Blogging Fellow (and 6th year medical student) Gimbiya Galadima recently wrote a great piece about the necessity of a seven-scope classification for talking about wellness.
My favourite line:
As Gimbiya explains, "wellbeing" should be understood (at least) as the sum total of how you're doing physically, emotionally, behaviourally, relationally, mentally, environmentally, and spiritually.
Sounds intimidating? Fear not.
The exciting thing about living in 2021 is that there are hacks and apps aplenty to help you more manage and optimize the system that is YOU.
"Biohacking" had its peak moment in the sun pre-pandemic, back in 2019, when the term was popularized by Jack Dorsey and the rest of his bored, rich Bay Area friends.
(For the record: Hacker Noon in fact had the scoop on biohacking way back in 2017, when we published this viral story entitled How to biohack your intelligence — with everything from sex to modafinil to MDMA.)
For a hot minute there, we were all almost convinced we should be intermittent starving in between regular dopamine fasts and daily DNA injections using CRISPR.
Thankfully, biohacking doesn't have to be that complicated.
Sometimes defined as 'Do-It-Yourself Biology', biohacking is a game you can start playing today, backed by nothing more than the simple understanding that
when you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves.
Restful sleep and intelligent exercise are two of the cheapest, easiest biohacks you can use to optimize the system that is your body — and yet, both are often a lot easier than done.
One of the foundational principles of systems thinking is interconnectedness.
Interconnectedness looks at how the elements within a system relate to one another. From there, key leverage points are identified — aka areas that may provide opportunities for strategic intervention.
Unlike a smart watch, Polar's latest Multi Sports Watch isn't going to run your life with needless notifications 24/7 (unless you want it to).
Instead, the Vantage M2 zones in the key leverage points within your system, so that you can identify areas where intervention might be necessary or beneficial.
And here's where things get exciting — especially if you're into systems thinking and data visualization.
Here are a few of the systems you can optimize for yourself using the mighty Polar Vantage M2:
Polar Flow (the app you use in conjunction with the watch) comes with an awesome calendar functionality you can use to plan and remind yourself of upcoming training sessions. I opted to plug in one of Polar's preloaded running program templates, and I really appreciated it when the app informed me I wasn't fit enough to train for a 21km within two months 😄
IMHO one of the best features of the Vantage M2 is the native cardio, supportive, strength and mobility routines, varying anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
If you're the kind of person who goes hard on the run but skips the cool down, the FitSpark™ feature is going to help you integrate and synthesize these important practices, simply by removing the friction involved in deciding what to do when you want to work on your core strength, static and dynamic mobility, or circuit fitness.
Good sleep is imperative to the system powering your overall wellbeing, as any insomniac will happily tell to you. Nightly Recharge™ measures — in incredible detail — how well you recovered from the energetic demands of day.
I've used this to become 10x more consistent about my sleeping schedule, which was a goal that felt out of reach for me for a long time. I've also stopped having a glass of wine unless the occasion truly calls for it, which is new.
We've all heard about the detrimental affect of alcohol on your sleeping patterns, but witnessing the destructive pattern up close and personal was ultimately what it took for me to shift something small and important; a key leverage point I'd previously been aware of only in the abstract.
Trialling the Polar Vantage M2 really got me thinking about how much value a systems-based approach can add to the process of product design.
I'm currently nursing a high hamstring tendinopathy so I've really only scratched the surface of its potential, but I'm blown away by how the Polar App provides 27/7, 360° overview of the feedback loops I need to understand in order to optimize my training programs and daily routines.
If you're a novice to intermediate-level type fitness person, this is the wearable tech investment you need to level up your efforts and start taking your wellness goals seriously. Ten out of ten, would recommend.
In addition, the Polar Vantage M2 really wins on price. If you're considering forking out for the latest Apple Watch because you want the health and training data, I'd strongly advise you to save yourself the cash and buy the Polar Vantage M2 instead.
P.S. Definitely go for the Gold/Champagne bc you're bougie like that; make no apologies.
You can catch me hyping the Polar Vantage M2 around 25 minutes in, but I recommend you listen to the whole episode — it's a goodie.
You can listen to this episode of This Week on Planet Internet (a production of The Hacker Noon Podcast) on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your pods.
With Hacker Noon's new Tech Company News Pages, we're cataloguing breaking news about companies like Bose, Apple, Netflix and more from around the web via Bing News API, along with mentions of their technologies in Hacker Noon stories — creating a hub for the media's relationship with the world's top tech companies.
Check out the Polar Company News Page here, and apply to get your own company news page on hackernoon.com here.