The Mr. Redden Effect

You’ve seen those electronic monitoring bracelets they strap around your ankle, right? They’re commonly used to keep track of folks sentenced to home confinement — and now they even have models that detect alcohol. Nobody likes being watched, but it sure beats going to jail.

The truth is that we act differently when our actions are being recorded — and now they’ve harnessed the power of Big Brother to make you more accountable in your exercise routine, too.

I recently started using a GPS device to track my running. It looks like a big sports watch, but it maps your route, pace, and time. With the monitor that I strap around my chest, it also records my heart rate.

And after a week, I’m running better. Less likely to stop, pushing harder, more determined. Why? It’s the Mr. Redden effect.

In high school we had a gym teacher named Tom Redden. He was a wiry, tough as nails retired Marine who you didn’t dare talk back to. Mr. Redden didn’t just scoot up the ropes in the gym, he did so with his feet pointed upward, pulling himself hand over hand to the ceiling.

He made gym class and football practice like boot camp; you could do that back then. Above all, he was always watching — and when he was watching you did your best.

Now after all these years it’s like having him back, riding along on my wrist, yelling at me to get my sorry ass moving. And I am.

4 thoughts on “The Mr. Redden Effect

  1. May I ask the brand? I tried the Nike HRM watch / monitor strap combination, but it kept telling me I was dead. I don’t mind the giant watch, I just want it to be correct.

    1. Garmin Forerunner 405.

      Expensive! I would never have bought it myself because I tend to be cheap, but this came as an Xmas present. When I opened the box I was underwhelmed, but now see that it’s an amazing tool.

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