I’ve been fairly healthy and fit for most of my life. While I’ve always had a few extra pounds, I do try to eat better than average and I exercise regularly. That didn’t stop age and some pandemic laxity from catching up with me. My annual checkup last December had my doctor (and me) slightly concerned about a few things. I made a goal of exercise for January and better eating in 2022.
I thought about how I’ve used technology to help me with this after reading Robert Cain’s post on his efforts to get more healthy. Robert is a friend and I enjoy seeing him at various events. I’m looking forward to our next meeting and seeing the changes in person.
He uses an Apple Watch and his iPhone, as well as a few devices to measure and track different aspects of his health. He can review his progress towards goals and export data for his physician. The post provides some recommendations and explanations of how technology helps. I found it interesting, as well as a contrast to what I do.
Technology is more of a substitute for my memory, giving me a view into how I work on my health and fitness with a light touch. I don’t track food, but I have been on a fairly limited diet, which means I have a rough idea of what I consume and the calories involved. I don’t track hydration, but I started to fill 4 water bottles, about 120oz, and empty them each day. I use my watch to log exercise and heart, but I mostly glance to see if I am working hard enough and if my long-term trend for heart rate changes. I do track my weight, but I step on a scale every day or two and record the value in an app.
It’s common for people working at desks, especially in technology, to lead a less than healthy lifestyle. While I go to the gym often, my wife is probably healthier because she works outside and is active most every day. Technology can help some of us improve our health. The gamification and community aspects of technology apps definitely change how we may approach the challenge. Various devices also lower the effort of data entry.
If you are looking to improve your health, or you struggle with making changes in diet or exercise, read Robert’s post and think about harnessing some of the power of tech devices to help you improve your life. If you do use some technology, write about it and maybe you’ll inspire others.
As for my goals? From Jan 4 to Mar 2, I exercised on 48 different days. Not every day, but good enough for me. I have lost about 15 pounds and my long-term resting heart rate has dipped below 50bpm. Technology didn’t really make this happen, but it helped, and I am glad that I can easily see some incremental progress, which isn’t always apparent when I rely on my memory of what my stats were a month ago.