Mark looks at the positive part that your PC
and smartphone can play in improving your personal fitness.
Computers and fitness: two words that go
together like candyfloss and bulletproof. I’m living (just) proof that the
habit of spending a good portion of your life almost motionless sat in front of
a screen isn’t one that will make you fit and healthy.
The sedentary nature of using a modern
computer contributes rather negatively to pumping blood around your body,
avoiding degenerative heart disease and resisting a diet rich in high-sugar
I knew this for a long time, and put off
the evil day that I’d have to address it, but eventually even I was forced to
concede that enough was enough, and I’d have to rid myself of some excess
pounds and get fit.
I was at this point that I wondered if my
technology could be part of the solution, rather than a major component in the
The bad news
‘We all know someone who swears they eat
nothing and put on weight.’
eat nothing and put on weight
Before I get into how your technology can
support your healthy ambitions, I’m going to speak candidly about health and
fitness, and blow a few myths out of the water.
We all know a person who says, ‘I’ve tried
every diet’, and we also know someone else who swears that they eat nothing and
put on weight. Really?
There is only one proven way to put weight
on, and that’s to consume more calories than are consumed by activity. Just
because someone decides that food X is good for them, it doesn’t mean that they
can eat as much as they like, or even that what they believe is true.
There are a million books on the subject of
dieting, and thousands of new ones are released each year, and everyone that
reads them would like to believe that they’ll tell them they can eat what they
like and do no exercise. It’s shame, therefore, that any that do suggest this
are, in my personal experience, rubbish.
Equally, dieting and exercise aren’t two
evils of which you can choose the less painful one, either. If you try to diet
without exercise you’ll actually end up in a worse condition than you start
out. Why? Well, the body consumes its resources in a set order, with muscle
mass coming before body fat. As such, without exercise, which replenishes
muscles, you might end up lighter but with a higher fat content in your body.
That’s not the right direction, and could lead to real damage.
Therefore, changing your eating habits
without exercising isn’t a good plan or something you should undertake.
Conversely, exercising without a change in your diet is really swimming
upstream, because while you’ll get healthier, your weight might actually go up,
because muscle weighs more than fat.
The bottom line is that to achieve anything
long term requires you to change your lifestyle in both the amounts and what
you eat, and the exercise you take. Up to this point, medical science hasn’t
found a way around this, regardless of what some advert you’ve seen on the
internet or in a tabloid paper might suggest.
Once you embrace that you’re going to do
things differently from this point in your life, the quicker you can get on and
get yourself slimmer and healthier, the better. But before we go there, an
important message from out sponsors.
What I don’t want to hear is that someone
read this, was inspired, and then dropped dead on a treadmill two days later.
I’m happy to encourage people but not so keen on killing them.
So before you start any diet and fitness
project, you need to go and see your GP, have your blood pressure taken and get
their professional opinion. Doctors are usually very helpful, as they can
provide lots of nutrition advice, and same can even get you a free session at a
local gym if you ask about schemes in your area.
In general, your doctor would much prefer
to help you do this now rather than have you become a regular attendee with
heart and obesity issues in the future, if you haven’t got them already.
Once you’ve been given the thumbs up by
your GP to get cracking, then you can organise yourself on the computer and
with your phone, which can both be very valuable tools in your fight against