Sunday, August 30, 2015

It All Counts

I remember asking my doc if there was a "best" time of the day to get some exercise in and if doing multiple shorter duration periods vs. one really long duration was better - he just looked at me and said "it all counts".

Being a walker with a desk job, I carve out different times of the day to go take a walk or do the steps in the parking garage.  And my lunch typically includes a 30 minute walk.  My very unscientific method to figuring out mileage was basically calculating mileage at an average walking pace of 15 minutes per mile when I "went" for a walk.  I was pretty confident with that formula even knowing sometimes my pace would be faster and sometimes slower.  I've put in enough miles to feel confident in the 15 minute mile average.  However, I really only measured when I "went" for walk.  What about all the walking when I did not "go" for a walk?  Doesn't it all count?

It appears that I have been short changing myself on daily mileage.

Last week I bought a fitbit Charge HR.  This little wrist band is amazing!

Besides keeping track of every step I take, it also displays heart rate, distance, calories burned, and # of stars climbed.  Oh yeah, it also shows the time.  And since it's sync'd with my PC and iPad, it uploads the data for tracking daily amounts.

Now if I was training for the Olympics, this would not be the device I would use.  But for someone who just wants to get out there and be active and ballpark track it, this seems to be a pretty good device.

So now instead of keeping track of the walking miles just when I go for a walk, I'm tracking it all.  It all counts.

The technology used in this device is pretty interesting.  Being on your wrist it somehow has to "know" when you have taken a step.  It is impressive that it does, for the most part, know when you have taken a step.  Granted, it is not as accurate as a GPS device or even a footpod, but for the convenience of just having to strap it on, just like you would strap on a watch, I like it!

Another thing that I am intrigued with is  the counting of stairs, more specifically, how does it do it?  Well, it has a altimeter in it!  It measures atmospheric pressure.  Atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing elevation so it calculates elevation gain based on the reduction in atmospheric pressure.  It registers a floor when it detects continuous motion combined with an elevation gain of about 10 feet (average floor height in most residential structures).  I did test this by riding up five floors in an elevator - it did not register it.

My average distance walked when just counting "when I went for a walk" was typically in the 25-30 miles per week, has been for quite awhile.  However, this week, with the fitbit Charge HR, it's at just about 75 miles (disclaimer: I did do more walking this week as a by-product of having this new "toy" and also from joining the online fitbit community, I was invited to a weekly challenge against nine other fitbit-ers to a friendly competition to see who can walk the most steps during the work week).  However, it was a lot of walking that I have not been counting.  But since it all counts, I will start counting it towards my 10,000 mile goal.  Maybe this means I can retire sooner!   : )

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Caution - Flying Discs

A couple months ago I came across this sign while doing a long Saturday morning walk on the Suwanee Greenway.

It was an odd thing to see while on a trail, in the woods!  I had noticed that they were clearing some areas off of the trails I normally walked, just figured they were making more trails.  Wrong.  They were making a disc golf course.

 I really did not give much thought to disc golf until about a week ago when my grandson was visiting.  We were looking for things to do and he expressed an interest in playing disc golf.  Great, I knew just the place!  But first we needed to get some discs (frisbees I thought).  Wrong.  Buying disc golf discs for the first time would be akin to buying a tube of toothpaste in a grocery store for the first time - way too many choices/products.  And it was the same with disc gold discs.  Basically I was told at a minimum we would each need a driver and a putter!  A what???

After a bunch of googling we ended up at Sports Authority looking for disc golf discs.  They had drivers, mid-range drivers, and putters ranging price from $10 to $20 each!  Plus each disc has four numbers on it rating each of the following: Speed, Glide, Turn, and Fade.  Hmmm...

We ended up buying a beginners set that contained a driver, a mid-range driver, and a putter.

Driver: Leopard  6,5,-2,1
Mid-range Driver:   Shark  4,4,0,2
Putter:  Aviar  2,3,0,1

There is so much more to this than I thought.

Anyway, we played 18 holes, took about an hour and a half.  A lot of walking, a lot of up & down hills.  It was actually a pretty good walking workout.  I think I may have found a new dimension/alternative to getting some extra miles in!

Hole 2

You throw from the concrete pad, but on a lot of the holes, you cannot even see where the hole is.

Hole 9

Although you can see the hole on this one (that little yellow thing just to the right of the center of the picture), the trees really do make it challenging - I hit a bunch of them!

One of these days I'll have to get an accurate measure of miles walked on the entire course, I'm guessing it's somewhere between one and two miles.

I do think this will be a fun addition to getting the miles in!