21 Days a habit

Punxsutawney Phil looking straight into the cameraWelcome to February – a month where we focus on love, because quite frankly once you get past Ground Hog day (please don’t make your spring plans based on his prediction, #groundhogday) and outside of Valentine’s Day, it’s a pretty bland month. It’s the “middle child” month of winter. Around here, we can have a lot of cold, grey days. BUT, it does only have 28 days. So, what can we do with this month? Create a new habit.

As part of building healthy habits, I gave up soda pop for the month. It’s 28 days. I can do this. On day 23, we will have our biometric screening for health insurance so why not purge of whatever stuff is in sodas that’s not good for me. I’ve also committed to maintain at least an 8,000 step-a-day average and start working arm strength exercises. Three W’s — water, walking, and weights.

Although I’m not one for getting headaches without it, a daily Coke (#shareacoke) has been my caffeine source. So as to not throw the system into full shock, tea, chocolate, and a little mocha coffee will be my caffeine as needed. These will also prevent any sugar meltdowns.

The walking part is easy. On any given day I can do 6,000 steps just with my normal activity. Add regular walking breaks at work and a trip or two to the gym and I’m good with an 8,000 step average.

Now for the hard part, weights. This is a little harder to implement because it doesn’t happen within my normal routines. So, I have to make this happen. Every day I have to remember to pick up my hand weights and spend a few minutes lifting and curling. Today is the eighth and so far, I’ve not done well. So, with you for accountability,  today I begin this part of the 3-W approach to healthy habits.

How’s your winter going?

KK

 

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Hospital Time Warp

There have been two occasions recently that I found myself in the hospital, visiting not doctor visitbeing cared for. As when anyone goes to the sit with a friend or family member it was impossible to plan for how much time is needed. What I learned about the way time works within the walls of a hospital is that the clock measurements are secondary to the events that take place.

Time is measured from having a test run to when the results come back from it. The next measurement is what will happen from those results. A CAT scan is ordered. Wait. Go have CAT scan run. Wait. Receive the results. All clear, good, breathe, next steps. Wait. The doctor will be in with the official diagnosis. Wait. Meds are offered every four or six hours. Shift change. New nurses, another round of vitals. Dinner comes at 5:00 p.m. Food services do seem to use a regular clock. Perhaps food service workers are the links to living on real-world time.

As a visitor, it’s an odd feeling to walk out of the hospital time warp and back into normal timekeeping to realize 10 hours have passed. If I had started knowing I would be there for a long period, would I have planned differently? Taken snacks? To be honest, sitting in the hospital with a family member, time really doesn’t matter, only they do and making sure they are being cared for. The time warp of hospitals is necessary to keep the health of the patient the priority. Here’s hoping for less time spent in the hospital and especially in a hospital bed.

All the best,

KK

Measured Steps

Do our steps count if we aren’t wearing our pedometer or Fitbit device? At first we were sold on counting our steps, trying to get 10,000 each day. That’s a little over four and half miles. We clipped pedometers to our shoes or belts and took off. Corporations added pedometers and step tracking to their health incentives for employees. That’s kinda fun to have the camaraderie of your co-workers to help achieve the goal.

Then the devices or apps on our phones began to track heart rate, pulse and even blood pressure. Again, not bad to do, but are we becoming over sensitized to every uneven beat of our hearts and every elevated moment of our pulse? Our bodies were fearfully and wonderfully created. In the course of a day our physiological systems are constantly adjusting to its environment. We eat and it begins to metabolize the nutrients and throw off the waste. We get hot and our bodies sweat. We walk outside and our eyes adjust to the sun.

 

young fitness woman hiker legs at forest trail

The tracking devices have made us more aware of getting up and moving more often. I am guilty of sitting for too long a period of time during the day. I can sit down to work and get so caught up that I don’t get up for several hours. So there is certainly a place for prompting us to live healthier lives.

What happens when we forget to wear our device or turn on the app? All of a sudden all these steps aren’t measured. Do they still count? Did the tree fall and not make a sound? Once again we are getting sucked into a gadget (for better or worse) being our measurement of success. Do you remember the days when runners would go run then come home and drive the course in their cars to see how far they had gone?

Our success with our health goals happens whether we measure it or not. Our success comes from just getting up and doing it. After having worn a Fitbit for almost two years, I can guess within ten percent how many steps I’ve taken in a day (or not taken). When it recently broke, it took me a couple of days to figure out I was still walking, taking steps. They still counted. My evening walks still relaxed me. What I miss are the little bursts of color when I’m active for over 30 minutes. Or the buzz vibration it made when I hit 10,000 steps. That was fun.

Maybe I can come up with my own little burst of celebration after my walk or workout. So if you see me fist-bump myself or do a little touchdown jig, you’ll know I’m on the move.

KK