A busy healthy past few weeks

Since losing about 60 pounds, I’ve attempted to remain active and take better care of myself.

Two recent accomplishments:

I'm now trained in First Aid, CPR and AED use.

I’m now trained in First Aid, CPR and AED use.

I’ve received my first aid and CPR certification from the Red Cross. I was a student in a class taught by one of my colleagues at work. I volunteered, since I usually sit next to the AED. I had first aid classes when I was a Boy Scout. Much has changed. But now I have a shiny new card good for two years. The State of Indiana also requires CPR certification when renewing a teacher’s license.

On July 4, I participated in my hometown’s 4 mile run/walk event. My wife put me to shame, but she’s a speedy walker. I go slow and steady. I would have never attempted such an event at my earlier weight. I finished in about 1 hour 30 minutes. Hey, I finished! I felt fine. No aches or pains, no muscle soreness the next day. My only major problem were big blisters on the balls of my feet. Ouch. Next time I’ll wear running socks and make sure my shoes are better laced.

I survived. I never thought I would finish.

I survived. I never thought I would finish.

 

But blisters on both feet. I had to drain one. Ouch!

But blisters on both feet. I had to drain one. Ouch!

 

Here's my race result. I listened to music during my walk to get me into my zone.

Here’s my race result. I listened to music during my walk to get me into my zone.

 

I continue tracking my exercise with a variety of technology devices, including my iPhone, a Fitbit One, and an Apple Watch. My goal is to exercise twice a week on my recumbent trike. I usually do about 4 miles in 30 minutes around the nearby trail loop. I’ve been documenting my rides with Strava.

Why your fitness plan may be a losing game

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 8.06.28 PM

Employers are pushing fitness plans to lower insurance costs. Mine is no exception. Last year, I was invited to “invest in my health” by implementing a plan with a website that set health goals and recorded fitness activity.

I did so, and received an $1,000 discount off my family health insurance policy for achieving my goals.

This year, I’ve had to learn a new system. It has been a frustrating experience.

The trend in the health industry is to “gamify” fitness. That’s a good method to get people motivated, but this means implementation of arbitrary rules. Game theorists (i.e. a four-year old child) will tell you that arbitrary rules can be negative reinforcement to game participation.

This is what I am currently experiencing with this year’s effort.

Example: One goal is to “gradually lose weight.” I have lost 19 pounds. The standard for awarding points for the goal (set by the website) was to lose 20 pounds by a specific date. Unfortunately, nineteen pounds wasn’t good enough. There is no partial credit. There are no points awarded for the attempt. Once goals are set, they cannot be adjusted.

To truly be a fair game, the system should have awarded 95 percent of the total point value for the goal. 

[Read more…]