Tag Archives: Apple Watch

Those 2019 New Year’s Resolutions

I thought this survey of Fitbit users a good place to start. I  have never used a Fitbit, but I love my Apple Watch and recommend using a wearable to help you focus on your health daily. I like that 79% said their Fitbit tracker helped them to reach their daily step goal. Check it out.

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Couldn’t resist a chance to run this picture of a bike – parked and ready to ride.

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As you can see on my Apple Watch face the top ring shows how many calories I have burned, the yellow ring how many minutes I exercised and the green ring how many times I have stood up from sitting. The rings fill in throughout the day as I complete my exercise.

I hope you and your loved ones have your best year ever in 2019!

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Tony

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Those 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! I ran this last year and thought it totally useful to offer you again to help you set your sights of healthy plans for the New Year.

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I am a giant Abba fan ever since 1977 when I lived in London and heard them all the time.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I thought this survey of Fitbit users from last year was a good place to start. I  have never used a Fitbit, but I love my Apple Watch and recommend using a wearable to help you focus on your health daily. I like that 79% said their Fitbit tracker helped them to reach their daily step goal. Check it out.

New_Years_Resolutions_with_Fitbit_Infographic.jpg

Happy-New-Year-Resolution-pic-image.jpgCouldn’t resist a chance to run this picture of a bike – parked and ready to ride.

img_1200As you can see on my Apple Watch face the top ring shows how many calories I have burned, the yellow ring how many minutes I exercised and the green ring how many times I have stood up from sitting. The rings fill in throughout the day as I complete my exercise.

I hope you and your loved ones have your best year ever in 2017!

Tony

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Turn your exercise into fun – Harvard study

Eat less, move more, live longer. Sometimes those simple rules are easier said than done. I am blessed that I love riding my bike. No one needs to get me riding every day. I can’t wait to get out there. That isn’t the case for most folks. Additionally, I use an Apple watch to track my activity and keep me aware of my goals . You can check out my Page – How my Apple watch is good for your health here. I hadn’t realized at the time that the watch turned my exercise into a game.

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Gabi and me riding in Chicago’s famous Bike the Drive ride.

Does exercise sometimes feel like an annoying chore? Adding a little friendly competition and other “gamification” strategies just might help, according to a new study.

The six-month-long study included 94 families who tracked their daily step counts with a wearable device or a smartphone. Just over half of the participants were women, and their average age was 55. Half were randomly chosen for the gamification arm of the study, which was designed to encourage collaboration, accountability, and team spirit. These families received small prizes tied to achieving daily and weekly step goals. They boosted their daily walking distance by almost a mile — more than twice the gains achieved by people who weren’t part of the competition. Continue reading

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Filed under Apple Watch, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, harvard school of public health

Sleep Trackers Can Prompt Sleep Problems

I wrote just three days ago in my post on sleep mistakes, “Sleep is one of the truly under-appreciated aspects of living a long and healthy life….” So, I sympathize with anyone taking steps to improve their sleep. It turns out, however, that using some of the new devices can have a negative impact on your overnight rest. The following is from the Rush University Medical Center.

A 39-year-old man whom we’ll call Mr. R received a sleep-tracking device from his girlfriend. Since starting a new job several years earlier, he sometimes had trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Not surprisingly, the next day he’d feel tired, irritable and absentminded.

Sleeping

A man sleeping

Based on data generated by his girlfriend’s gift, Mr. R concluded those symptoms occurred only after he failed to get eight hours of sleep the night before. He set himself an ambitious goal: “to achieve,” as he later told a therapist, “at least eight hours of sleep every night.”

His gauge for deciding whether he had succeeded: his new sleep tracker. And so each night, Mr. R went to bed feeling the pressure of ensuring that the next morning the tracker would display the desired eight hours — a self-induced level of increasing anxiety that’s hardly the ideal recipe for achieving a sound night’s sleep.

Continue reading

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Latest Apple Watch developments

I have a Page on How my Apple Watch promotes my good health which enumerates various ways my Apple Watch helps me in my good health regimen, particularly exercise. You might want to check that out if you are considering one.

What I wanted to write about today is a recent development. Apple released an update for the Watch system along with the new version of the Apple Watch. The upgrade included several new watch faces. Below is an actual shot of the one I have on my Watch this morning.

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As you can see on the picture, in the upper right hand corner is an image of a runner. When I go out to walk my dog or ride my bike, I simply touch that image and select the exercise I am going to do. That Watch then keeps track of the exercise.

Here is an example of the information it gives me after walking my dog:

The Date
Starting time
Stopping time
Total distance
Total time elapsed
Active calories
Total calories
Average pace
Average heart beat
Elevation
Weather temp and humidity.

In the upper left hand corner you can see an image of a heart. If I want my heart rate, I simply press that icon and a beating heart appears on the watch face tracking my heart beat. I don’t know if you are impressed with the ease and simplicity of this, but as a user, I certainly am.

The last element is the three rings in the center.

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They represent my exercise for the day. The top one counts my calories expended exercising. I set a goal of 500 calories a day and the red circle begins moving aroundas I exercise. The second ring works the same way only it is counting how many minutes I exercised. My goal is 30 minutes a day. This screen shot was taken at 7:42 PM on Wednesday as the Watch reads. The final ring counts the number of times I stood up in the 12 hour period. It takes 12 to complete the ring. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?

As you can see from the screen shots, it also gives you the current weather report. You can substitute other information like reminders, etc.

The best news I can tell you about the Apple Watch is that prices have come down. Mine was a birthday present when they first came out. I have had it nearly two years now. It cost over $500. You can buy the same Watch for less than $300. I think it is an absolute steal at that price.

Don’t forget, I have only covered some of the fitness aspects of the Apple Watch, it connects with your iPhone and allows you to send/receive phone call and text messages as well and many other tasks.

You might want to see if you can get a quick email out to Santa for yours.

Best holiday wishes to you and  yours!

Tony

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My Bike Riding has Become Cyber Cycling

cyber- a combining form meaning “computer,” “computer network,” or “virtual reality,” used in the formation of compound words ( cybertalk; cyberart; cyberspace) and by extension meaning “expressing visions of the future” ( cyberfashion).


I was sitting on my couch yesterday and happened to glance over at my cycling helmet which was plugged into my computer. Over on the chair, my HYDRA water bottle was charging along with my cell phone. I checked the time on my Apple Watch.

I flashed back to 30 years ago when I first started riding my bike regularly on the Chicago lakefront bike path. There were no such electronic gadgets … literally.

Because I often ride in the dark, I bought a cycling helmet that has lights in front and back that flash to increase my visibility for safety. You can read about this helmet in my post – My New Bike Helmet – the Torch2.

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This is the Torch helmet

The HYDRA water bottle isn’t so much of what I consider a necessity as a fun addition to my rides. You can find the details in my post – What is a HYDRA Smartbottle? Briefly, the HYDRA has a bluetooth speaker on top and allows me to play music from my iPhone on it. It also lights up at night to increase visibility of the bike.

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Although those gadgets are literally new to the world as I received them from my crowdfunding activities on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, I think the biggest change in my bike riding is from the smart phone which most of us already own.

WeatherBug

With my iPhone I have instant and up-to-the-minute access to weather information which is crucial to my daily bike riding. No more do I have to look up at an overcast sky and wonder if there is rain coming and should I turn around and head home. Now, I just fire up the iPhone and check the radar. No green and yellow shapes heading my way. Good to go!

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The Apple Watch

Last, but not least, is my Apple Watch. Before I set out on the bike, I select the Workout app which allows the watch to track the ride. At the end of the ride, the watch gives me a report on how far I traveled, my average speed, the exact time I started and stopped and how many calories I burned. It also includes these data in my activity log for the day.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Lest you get the wrong idea, I want to leave you with this thought:

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UPdate 8 April 2016. This past week I bought a new light for my bike. My bike shop mechanic showed it to me and I had to have it. The brand is Cygolite. Here is a listing from Amazon. I am including it here because it has a rechargeable battery, just like the helmet and water bottle. I plug it into the computer after riding. 

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This is the Cygolite

 

Tony

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How Much Exercise is Enough? – Tufts University

This is a good question in my estimation. It means the person wants to exercise. So, there is at least the beginning of a plan to lose weight, get healthy, build yourself up or something along those lines. This is totally in my wheelhouse of eat less; move more; live longer.

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Tufts University offers some excellent guidelines.

“Nobody questions the health benefits of even just a little exercise, but you may wonder about what might be called the “Goldilocks” question: How much physical activity is “just right”? And is it possible to get too much or to overdo the intensity? Two large new studies, both published in JAMA Internal Medicine, attempt to answer such questions and identify the “sweet spot” of the ideal amount of exercise,” according to the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Update.

“Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, associate dean of the Tisch College and a professor in Tufts’ Friedman School, author of the “Strong Women” series of books, served as vice-chair of the committee for the US government’s first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008. Those guidelines call for at least:

– 150 minutes per week of moderate activity OR

– 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity OR

– Some equivalent combination. Continue reading

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My Apple Watch Promotes My Good Health

I wrote the following in the introduction to my first Apple Watch post, early this month: “I have owned my Apple watch just under a month now. For the record, I am a big fan of Apple. I bought my first Apple II+ back in 1979 and upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1984. I bought the stock when it became available and I have continued to update my home Apple computer (both on my desktop and laptop) ever since.”

My smartphone is an iPhone 6 Plus.

apple_watch_2 I have posted about my new Apple Watch twice previously. The first time was about general health – How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy. And, the second went into workouts in general and biking in particular. How My Apple Watch Helps Me to Exercise.

I am thinking this will be the third and final write up of the Watch. I consider it ancillary to the first two. It uses the workout app, but it is a part of the daily routine of my life.

Here it is: I now count my dog walking as an outdoor walk workout. Previously it was just me taking the dog out so she could take care of her business. With the Watch, however, I can specify how far I want to walk, or just leave it open and let the Watch keep track. This has raised my awareness about my own physical activity. I always just thought of the walk as the dog’s exercise and latrine business. I was simply along to see that she got it done and returned home.

The Watch counts time and distance of the walk. With the usual Apple elegance, there is a three second countdown timer and then the actual time is counted in 100ths of a second. Clearly that is a much finer brush than I care to paint with.

Since I began plugging the walk into the Watch, I have become aware of how far we walk each time. I have set a minor goal of 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile on each excursion. As a result I now walk a total of 1.5 to 2.3 miles in three installments each day.

Here is the exact information that the Watch gives me after a walk:
Aug 1, 2015    3:54 PM – 4:48 PM 82F Partly cloudy
Total distance 0.86 MI
Total Time 0:33:39
Active calories 59
Resting calories 51
Avg pace 39″ 14″ per mile

I have never owned or used a Fitbit, Jawbone or any of the other motion trackers so I have no idea about their feedback.

Before I had the Watch the walks were shorter and less structured and I had no idea how far we went. So, this is another way that owning the Apple Watch has made my life more enjoyable and raised my awareness of this form of exercise that I had been careless about and taking for granted. I expected to enjoy the Watch giving me information on my physical activities. I didn’t expect it to change them as it has my dog walking.

Now it is a further source of exercise and exercise information for both myself and my dog. And because I write a blog on diet, exercise and living longer, I end up with a third post on the good thing about owning the Apple Watch.

Tony

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How My Apple Watch Helps Me to Exercise

This is the specific follow up to my previous post on how the Apple Watch keeps me healthy in general.

As regular readers know, my go to exercise is riding a bicycle so what I am going to tell you about is my first hand experience using the Apple Watch to ride my bike. I think it is fair to say, however, that since biking is aerobic, what I am about to tell you applies also to any aerobic exercise. In fact, the Watch offers the following types of exercise to choose, Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Cycle, Stair Stepper, Outdoor Run, Indoor Walk, Indoor Run, Indoor Cycle, Elliptical, Rower. There is also an Other category.

First of all, these segments are from the Workout App on the Watch. I am going to offer the same link as last time and I recommend that you go there and watch the Guided Tour for the Workout App.

Here is the Watch face with the icons. The Workout one is the little green running man on the left.

Here is the Watch face with the icons. The Workout one is the little green running man on the left.

This page will give you a total of 21 different aspects of the Watch and explain their use. I am focusing on the Workout one today.

To start, I go to the screen with all the icons and tap on the one with the little figure running. This gives me the list that I enumerated. I select the Outdoor Cycle workout.

The watch then allows me to set a goal based on calories or time. I don’t evaluate my rides that way. It also offers for outdoor choices the option of setting a distance goal. That’s not my style. I just want to get on and ride. The Watch allows me to do that with the Open option which simply features a Start button. For the record, if I chose a distance to ride, the Watch would remember it and it will become the default next time. Very handy if that is your cup of tea.

When I press Start, the Watch goes into a typical Apple elegance move. It starts a three second countdown punctuated with beeps. The actual time keeping is done in 100ths of a second, way more detail than I need. Once I am enroute, it offers the following info: Pace, Distance, Heart rate.

In the upper right hand corner is a time metric. I can simply swipe to get my present elapsed time, the time of day or my speed.

As an old guy who takes breaks on his rides I am happy to report that I can do that and pause the watch at any time. I can restart the Watch when I restart my ride.

Because the Watch is paired with my iPhone, all of the data from my workouts is automatically stored in the Health App on my phone.

I hope this explanation hasn’t sounded too complicated. I haven’t felt that. I have used the app on all my bike rides since I bought the Watch. In addition, when I walk my dog, I included that as a Walking Workout and get the data on that activity, too.

One caveat I would like to add is that while the Watch can give you a heart rate readout as well as tell your average heart rate for the workout. You have the option of turning off the heart rate monitor as an energy saver.

Another aspect of the Watch that I need to mention is that is greatly simplifies my rides in that I don’t lose phone calls any more. Without the Watch, I have to stop the bike, dig out my phone from the rear pocket on my jersey, open the case and answer the call. By the time I accomplished this, I would often lose calls in this physical confusion.7d0d5df44b163aafb6b11fe751886da2

Now with the Watch, I simply pull over, raise the Watch and check the screen to see who is calling. So, I have the option of not answering. I can also scroll up and choose to send the caller a message, or simply answer it – on my wrist or on my iPhone. Readers old enough to remember the Dick Tracy comics will be reminded of Dick with his famous Wrist Radio. When I take a call on my Watch, I look (and feel) exactly like the legendary Dick Tracy talking into his wrist radio.

In summary, the Apple Watch has added a great deal of fun and also information to my daily bike rides. I hope I have told you enough to be able to translate it to your go to exercise.

As always, you are invited to share your experiences and ideas.

Tony

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How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy

I have owned my Apple watch just under a month now. For the record, I am a big fan of Apple. I bought my first Apple II+ back in 1979 and upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1984. I bought the stock when it became available and I have continued to update my home Apple computer (both on my desktop and laptop) ever since.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

Because I am 75 years old, there is a certain ‘old man resistance’ to new stuff in me these days. Nonetheless, I have taken to my Apple Watch like a duck to water. Despite my enjoyment, I can not say that I have mastered all its intricacies yet by any means. Like a good relationship, it keeps unfolding in the most delightful ways.

The Activity App is the one of the keys keeping me healthy. I will write some aspects, but, to really learn about it, click the link to go through the guided tour. The link has info on 20 aspects of the Apple Watch. For this post, please scroll down to the Activity one (with the three concentric circles) and Click on  “Watch the Guided Tour.” Apple created the tour and demonstrates actual usage of the App beautifully.

To begin using the app, the Watch screen prompted me to fill in a brief form with sex, age, weight and height. Now my watch knows me.

Next I had to indicate my personal activity level. This is what I estimate my activity calorie expenditure for the day to be. The watch then suggested a goal for me which you can accept or adjust it to a level I prefer.

I can track my activity through the day by tapping the icon or actually put an icon on my Watch face and track it from there.

There are three rings on the Activity app. The Movement one, in red, shows active calories toward my daily goal. BTW, these are calories which I burn as I move throughout the day. It does not include resting calories from lack of movement, like just sitting. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 78 percent of us are not meeting our basic activity requirements.

The Exercise ring, in green, shows how many minutes of exercise I have done toward a goal of 30 minutes per day. This tracks movement, not just health club stuff. Playing with your kids or dancing counts on the Activity app.

Finally, the Stand ring, in blue, shows how many times out of twelve hours that I have stood for at least a minute. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting, please check out my Page – Do you know the Dangers of too much sitting? I have to confess that I am blown away by the fact that the Watch reminds me when I have been sitting too long. Many people are not even aware that prolonged sitting is bad.

The Stand reminder, by the way, is shown on the Watch screen and is accompanied by a little nudge on my wrist called a haptic. The Watch has sensors and other mechanisms on the part that touches your skin. That is where the haptic originates. It feels like someone gently poking your wrist.

In sum, the Activity App alone gives me the feeling that I am being watched over by a gentle and friendly robot that cares about me. Okay, I have a vivid imagination. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed being reminded to stand and also viewing my activity through the day as well as at day’s end. I have a better consciousness of my daily activity progress as a result. Every Monday, the Watch notifies me of the previous week’s results and I have the option of tweaking my daily move goal for the coming week.

I called this post How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy, but of course, I am the one keeping me healthy by my commitment to good health. I think if you are a person less committed than I am, the Watch will be even more effective for you because it continually reminds you about your need to move. I would love to hear from readers who are also experiencing owning the Watch.

The next time I will continue this by going into the Workout App which gives me wonderful coverage and assistance on my bike riding. Of course, it also covers walking, running, indoor and out, elliptical, rower and more. So it is excellent for specific exercises compared with the Activity App which is more general movement.

Stay tuned.

Tony

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Sitting Too Much is Killing Us – New York Times

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. I have always considered that to mean you should exercise daily. But, an article in Wednesday’s New York Times has a fascinating clarification of those words.

It turns out that moving more, means not only exercising daily, but also being less sedentary when we are back home or even at the office. Don’t sit so much.

The watch on the right displays the three movement measurements.

The watch on the right displays the three movement measurements.

Gretchen Reynolds writes that it all has to do with the length of our telomeres. “If you are unfamiliar with the componentry of your genes, telomeres are the tiny caps on the ends of DNA strands. They shorten and fray as a cell ages, although the process is not strictly chronological. Obesity, illness and other conditions can accelerate the shortening, causing cells to age prematurely, while some evidence suggests that healthy lifestyles may preserve telomere length, delaying cell aging.”

A Swedish study split sedentary seniors into two groups, one began an individualized exercise program and also advised to sit less. The second simply were to continue their lives, but try to lose weight and be healthy with no specific recommendations.

Six months later the groups were brought back and their blood was drawn again to check their telomeres. The exercise group who sat less had telomeres that actually lengthened. “Their cells seemed to be growing physiologically younger. But perhaps most interesting, there was little correlation between exercise and telomere length. In fact, the volunteers in the exercise group who had worked out the most during the past six months tended now to have slightly less lengthening and even some shortening, compared to those who had exercised less but stood up more.”

It was the reduction in the sedentary time that had lengthened the telomeres, not the exercising, the scientists concluded.

So, in the future, make an effort to stand up and get away from your desk at work, or your couch at home in the evening and move a little. You may live longer as a result.

This reminded me of one of the features on the new Watch from Apple. The Activity App on the new watch has a display that measures how much you stand in a day. “Apple Watch senses when you stand up and gives you credit when you do. So you can minimize your sedentary time throughout the day. If you’ve been sitting too long, it reminds you to get up. You close the Stand ring when you’ve stood for at least one minute in 12 different hours during the day. “

So, if you have been looking for an excuse to pay $350 for the new Watch when it comes out next year, you have it. The Watch can help you to live longer.

If you don’t care to go all high tech in your efforts to live longer, remember to stand up more often. The results will be the same. Eat less; move more.

Tony

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Filed under aging, telomeres