Monday, October 20, 2014
When I noticed the date this morning, I had an odd feeling that it was significant. October 20th? What was special about that? Then I remembered.
It was a Sunday morning and I was spending the weekend with my parents in a small town in PA, visiting my grandmother. I woke up with a horrible pain in my side. I couldn’t even sit up.
When it didn’t improve, we drove to the hospital in the next town. I was admitted and after some blood work, prepped for surgery – “acute appendicitis.”
I was 10 years old and really scared, more than most kids because “appendicitis” was a fearful word in our family.
My mother’s brother had died at age 13 when his appendix ruptured and my mother almost died at age 8 when the same thing happened to her.
Of course, this was nearly 30 years later and we had antibiotics now, but that fact was lost on my 10 year old mind.
Then a remarkable coincidence! We met the surgeon and my Dad recognized him. They had served together on a ship during WWII and Dr. Ryan had operated on my father. “Don’t worry,” Dad said, “You’re in good hands.” With that reassurance I felt better.
Obviously, things turned out all right except for one thing.
October 1957 – The Asian Flu Epidemic. The next day the hospital was quarantined – NO VISITORS. I was alone for one week, no TV, nothing but my own thoughts and trying to pretend I was brave. I trace my lifelong anxiety about medical things to that week.
It’s important to understand how events make us who and what we are. It’s the first step to overcoming bad stuff, putting it aside and moving on. Still our subconscious brings it to the surface when you least expect it.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
When we were looking for a retirement home, realtors directed us mostly to ranch style houses for “one floor living.” Conventional wisdom advises that as we get older, climbing stairs will be difficult or impossible.
That made sense except the house we liked, right on the lake, has 3+ levels. The master bedroom suite, “the apartment” as my grandchildren call it, is at the top. The laundry room is in the walk-out, finished basement. The loft, overlooking the kitchen/dining room has an office and bedroom. Every level has a bathroom. Yeah, we were ready to retire, but not yet downsize.
There are also 106 steps down to our dock. Was this foolish? Only time will tell.
What I have discovered is that my brand new SPAT records a LOT more steps when I’m at home than when I spend a few days at my parents’ house in town – the convenient ranch style house of 1 floor living. (My parents are gone now, but we kept the house).
I completely understand the need for one floor living if you already have a medical condition that makes climbing stairs difficult. However, must we consider it as inevitable?
Is avoiding stairs when you are able to do them a good idea? After all, we are advised to take the stairs not the elevator when at work. So in retirement does that advice no longer apply?
Of course, I don’t have the answer. If the time comes that DH or I can’t climb stairs, there are options.
I can move the washer & drier to the kitchen.
There are 2 bedrooms on the main floor with a “senior” type bathroom renovated when my Mom lived with us.
Those steps down to the dock? If we can’t manage those, why live at the lake? Maybe that’s the time that living 25 miles from town isn’t smart. We do have that easy living ranch house that Mom left me.
Meanwhile, I’ll trek up and down and up and down and give my SPAT a workout.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I’ve kept a fitness log for decades, way before online resources were available. Back in the dark ages before the Internet, I kept my results on a spreadsheet and before that in a paper diary.
I love data and I can approximate my walking and running pace even without a device, although I use a watch on my established measured routes just to be sure.
So what after all this time made me buy and clip an activity tracker to my shoe?
First there were articles and even a blog by Watermellen about the danger of extended sitting throughout the day. I wondered about that. How much did I really move when not working out?
Then an email arrived about a “clearance” price for the Spark Activity Tracker since the new model was coming out soon.
I’m a clearance sale woman. In grocery stores I look for the specials. In clothing stores I hit the clearance rack first. We’re even looking at year-end clearance sales for the new car we will probably need. (Our 2003 Taurus is approaching 200,000 miles).
So as soon as the email arrived, I ordered the tracker.
My original plan was to wear it whenever I WASN’T working out. Then I would learn how many steps I did beyond my workouts.
Sunday is my rest day – no workout – a perfect day to get a baseline number.
Sunday: 5716 steps, 148 calories, 84 minutes, 2.4 miles
That step count is a bit high for 2.4 miles. On a track it would be about 4800.
OK, maybe I don’t have as long a stride while making dinner as I do out on the track.
Church, grocery store and up and down a lot of stairs since our lake house has 3 levels (4 if you count the loft overlooking the kitchen/dining room). Still valuable information.
Monday included a long appointment for my annual physical plus a flu shot, and a long choral rehearsal.
I was very impressed at the accuracy of the device.
I know that 1 mile = 2000 steps for me.
It will vary a bit for others depending on length of stride.
My 2 mile walk matched EXACTLY the distance and time on my watch as well as the step count.
For the day:
7435 steps, 220 calories, 86 minutes 3.5 miles
Obviously a “step” walking around my house is shorter than when I’m striding through the neighborhood and somehow this is reflected in the data.
Tuesday: I decided to give it an extensive test of accuracy
On the treadmill using the info on the display:
1 mile Walk: 4.0 (15:00 min)
1.1 mile Run at 5.8 (11 min)
1.17 mile Run/Walk (15 min)
1 mile cool-down Walk (16 min)
My summary: 4.17 miles at the gym for 57 min.
The tracker was very accurate. It recorded my 1st 2 workouts perfectly. It combined the 3rd and 4th and also included in it my steps around the gym, to the car and back into my house, which added an additional two tenths of a mile to that workout.
Summary: 8615 steps, 352 calories, 68 minutes
At that point I decided to wear the device the rest of the day to see how many steps I would do from that point.
This time I clipped it to my waistband. Several times I counted my steps manually and checked to see what the tracker recorded. It was just about perfect.
By the time I took it off around 7pm, it had recorded over 10,000 steps.
My evaluation after 3 days is that this is a great device.
If I wear it all the time, my workout entries will be automatically added to my fitness tracker. That’s nice. Plus, I’ll have additional data about my steps throughout the day which appropriately are NOT added to my fitness tracker.
That type of data is good to know and important to do, but as the descriptive information says, anything less than 10 continuous minutes doesn’t meet the criteria of exercise.
A personal observation:
Since this device is essentially tracking my STEPS (calories, distance, time), I do not think I will use it during aerobics or strength training sessions. Those are already “favorites” in my fitness tracker and can be added manually quite easily.
A final note:
At last I understand what a “Glow Getter” award is – Meeting your goal on the activity tracker.
Imagine, 5+ years here and I’m still learning.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
As my status says today, I spent hours last night sitting in a cold drizzling rain on hard bleachers to attend a high school football game. We have 3 grandchildren in the school’s extremely successful marching band program (2 trumpets and 1 trombone). One grandson, a senior, was on the Homecoming Court so in spite of the weather, DH and I could not miss this one.
We enjoy all aspects of the game and have attended regularly for the last 5 years. Eighth graders can participate in the HS band program. Our grandsons aren’t meant for football.
Last night we had a total educational experience.
Without the instant replay and professional commentary that I’m used to on TV, I would often miss the focus of each play and depended on the scoreboard and the PA system for the result. Last night we were sitting near some football parents who didn’t miss anything. I followed the play action much better with their commentary behind me.
In front of us were cheerleader parents. They knew all the cheers and now I could even join in. Sometimes before I wasn’t exactly sure what the girls were saying. That was fun!
The Halftime Show included the homecoming ceremony and the band performance. They always have an intricate storyline, props, flags and rifles along with the demanding marching and music. With so much going on and everyone in uniform I relied on my daughter to follow things and keep track of where OUR kids were on the field.
The “tongue in cheek” T shirt was worn obviously by a band parent. However, I was impressed that all 3 groups of students are athletes. Each group spends hours actively perfecting skills, plays or routines to do their best when the moment arises. Each group is participating in an activity that interests them and in which they have FUN.
As adults we often forget that activity is FUN or can be if we find the right fit for us.
So I urge all adults to find some sort of movement that you enjoy. Not many of us can catch a pass and run to the end zone, climb to the top of the pyramid or double time march down the field while playing a trumpet, but there’s something out there for everyone at every age.
If you find the FUN in it, you’re more likely to keep at it.
Edit: Almost forgot, the team won 45-16
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