Computing Yourself Fit (Part 1)

5/19/2012 3:18:33 PM

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.

Description: Computers and fitness

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 snacks.

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 problem.

The bad news

‘We all know someone who swears they eat nothing and put on weight.’

Description: they eat nothing and put on weight

they 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.

A warning

Description: Description: a Warmning about high blood pressure

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 the flab.

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