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Among health and/or diet tools, the most popular (and numerous) are applications that allow you to LOG your consumption and exertion of calories. The one I use, and have mentioned before is MyFitnessPal. The food database is massive, and the “scan” tool makes collecting your information fast (and dare I say FUN?)

The required “settings” also ask you to make a baseline assessment of your general level of activity. I selected “lightly active” as described below..

Sedentary: Spend most of the day sitting (e.g. bank teller, desk job)

Lightly Active: Spend a good part of the day on your feet (e.g. nurse, salesman)

Active: Spend a good part of the day doing some physical activity (e.g. waitress, mailman)

Very Active: Spend most of the day doing heavy physical activity (e.g. bike messenger, carpenter)

Browsing the cardiovascular activity list, I am of the opinion that I have been selling myself short. Possible cardio “activities” include: cleaning (general), cooking (food prep), gardening (general), carrying boxes, playing the the flute, softball (officiating), and walking 2.0 mph (in case you’re wondering, you can burn 300 calories by walking at 2.0 mph for two hours-spread throughout the day, of course).

With the possible exceptions of playing the flute and officiating softball, these are things I do EVERY day. Hence, Activities of Daily Living… not worthy of a diary entry, in my opinion. I don’t know if I’ve EVER walked slower than 2.0 mph!

To be fair: I suppose, if you truly feel that you just played the hell out of that flute or broke a sweat dicing carrots, book it!

And, with that,I am reminded of one of the more unusual cardiovascular entries that I’ve made (no, not THAT). Last year, I credited myself with “sawing wood, 30 minutes”. BECAUSE…

I bought a black/cherry Pier One sawhorse desk off of Craigslist from a Pakistani girl (improbably named Virginia, ALSO) who lived on the third floor of a rowhome in downtown Lancaster (consider me aware of the dangers of Craigslist, okay?). After carrying it down two flights of stairs (which, incidentally, I did NOT log), I brought it home and found out that it was much TOO tall for the desk chair that I was already in love with.

So….I spend 30 minutes using a hacksaw to shorten the legs..of which, in a saw-horse table, there are EIGHT (think about that for a second — and then check out the above picture again if you’re still confused). I also sawed my index finger, but that’s neither here nor there, fitness-wise (although it may indicate a lack of coordination).

In many other programs, “intangible” activities can also be monitored, as a benchmark for general health and mental wellness.

The wellness initiative in my school district uses an internal wellness diary as well as the website www.cafewell.com. Points are awarded for exercising and for completing “challenges”

Once my “team” realized that we could log more than one challenge daily, we started racking up the points.

“Took stairs whenever possible”? We have an elevator, but it you could be gone and back, using the stairs, before the elevator could arrive. DONE!

“Turned off the TV and did something different”? Every day!…..before I go to BED, so that I can record “Got 8 hours of sleep” the next day.

My personal favorite, “Showed more patience with student, coworker, or family” — I liberally interpret this to mean that I wanted to smack someone up-side the head, and I didn’t. DONE!

If any of us have the time or inclination to be “Playing on the playground”, WITHOUT kids, we have bigger issues than the “Maintain, No Gain” initiative.

Besides bragging rights, random drawings for prizes are what’s at stake here. That and, going out on a limb here, improved wellness.

On CafeWell, I am currently enrolled in TWO challenges, for which the prizes are Amazon gift cards. The one that is purely mental is the “Read 100 books in One Year” challenge, which, rather inconveniently, started THREE months ago. After joining, I calculated that out to be roughly two books a week. OUCH!

Checking the leaderboard, some woman who goes by “LOVELIFE” already has 60 logged — including three from this past weekend! One could argue that her avatar should be “NOLIFE”, and, quite frankly, I don’t want to be her, in any way. Now, I need to read the small print to see if anyone who FINISHES is in the running for the prize.

In conclusion, “yes” you have to log that glass of orange juice you just drank. Just because it’s “healthy”, doesn’t mean it has no calories (112, in fact). Additionally, if the most exercise you got today was strolling to the bathroom to relieve yourself of those eight cups of water, you should probably do MORE.

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