Using Technology for Health

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.

Steve Jones

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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3 Responses to Using Technology for Health

  1. JeffModen says:

    Oh, my dear friend. Having a heartbeat below 50BPM isn’t really a good thing. It’s called BradyCardia. (pronounced brad-i-cardia) Please read about it at the following link. Even if you don’t have any of the symptoms now, read the part about not getting enough oxygen to your body parts or that marvelous brain you have. While it’s not as bad as AFIB (seriously less chance of a stroke than AFIB), it has a lot of the same symptoms and problems especially where blood flow is concerned.

    Shifting gears a bit and to make a really long story short, I’ve used the scientific method and available technology to beat AFIB (atrial fibrillation and I was paddled twice in an attempt to get rid of it, which only lasted about a month each) and my arthritis in the process. They wanted me to have an ablation (essential minimally invasive scarring of the conduction channels in the heart) and some “Impingement surgery” on a shoulder that only had a range of motion of about 10% without excruciating pain. Remembering that “Half of all that is written and the other half is written in such a fashion that you can’t tell”, I used technology to do the careful research and the scientific method to find out what works for me and also had the benefit of some blind-assed luck.. If I eat the wrong thing or consume the wrong beverage, I can go back into AFIB within just an hour or two. The cool part is, I know by testing exactly what those foods/beverages are (thankfully, coffee is NOT on that list) and which foods/beverages help (thankfully, coffee IS on that list). Conversely, if I am in an now very rare AFIB episode (my AFIB was classified as “Persistent” and am now classified as “”Slightly Paroxysmal” thanks to what I’ve been doing), I know exactly what to eat (binge mode there) to stop it within a couple of hours.

    And I have to tell you, the food I had to give up was junk to begin with one exception and the food I can eat is very tasty and, to be honest, I didn’t have to change my diet by much. There are also some supposed healthy foods that I need to avoid.

    I had gone for months without any AFIB during my testing and also had bouts of it during other tests. The last test was done almost 4 months ago (it proved that a particular type of food brought it on. I won’t miss it, though) and have been AFIB free since I recovered from that gastronomic excursion.

    I also tell you that a very pleasant side effect is that it also helped me avoid arthritic impingement surgery (only 10% range of motion and I’m back to 95%), has made it so the doctors no longer talk to be about neck surgery (also arthritic) and the cardiologists have stopped insisting that I need an ablation (minimally invasive surgery to scar parts of the heart to fix the AFIB with a 20% chance that it won’t work and a second shot at it has the same risk).

    And, I’m sleeping a whole lot better, as well.

    To summarize, I beat the inflammation that was the actual underlying cause of it by using today’s information technology and the scientific method (and one instance of serious luck, like I said). It took me a couple of years to figure out but, today… I’m AFIB free and my arthritis (which is non-rheumatoid in nature but will help even there) pain and limited range of motion has gone from severe to almost normal.

    And do get that Bradycardia checked, Steve. Seriously. I wouldn’t want to see you show up in your own SQL Memorial.


    • way0utwest says:

      Thanks for the concern, but I’m fine. A resting heart rate is different from a normal heart rate during the day. Most of the time my heart s in the 70s-80s. Your link actually explains that a resting heart rate (Sleeping, low activity), from 40-60 is normal and fine. That’s where I am.

      As I get older, I am more careful, and I like my watch giving me an idea of where things are. I always compare it to what medical professionals read, and it’s pretty close. I work to get a decent amount of exercise in the 120-140bpm range, but tend not to push higher very often.


  2. Pingback: Using Technology and Devices to Track My Health | Voice of the DBA

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