Check out the latest from Always In Your Corner about fitness, nutrition and training for seniors.
Fitness tracking is now a part of modern life. Steps and even miles covered can be tracked on our phones by GPS.
There are also more sophisticated fit watches that track things like calories burned, sleep cycles and even your Vo2 max.
To track your daily steps is probably a very good idea, especially if you have set a specific step goal.
Not so sure about tracking your sleep cycles though. Wouldn’t it be stressful to check your sleep stats in the morning and find out that your sleep quality was very low?
I think you have to find the right balance in fitness tracking and only focus on things that are beneficial.
It’ a bit like weighing yourself and getting really stressed about your weight on the scale.It is not really useful as body weight mostly reflects hydration. Our bodies are 60-70% water and when you lose a kilo or gain one it is mostly going to be water.
Personally I use a Body Matrix which is an ultra sound scanner that measures body fat, I do a scan every 10 weeks or so just to make sure I stay on track. This does not add any stress to my life. I must say that at one point it did. A few years ago I sort of lost track of myself. I was injured and I couldn’t do my runs and we had a lockdown.Tis resulted in mr gaining a bit of weight mostly from boredom. Then I stopped doing the scans and my scanner gathered dust in a cupboard.
So the fitness watches that measure calorie expenditure they might be a good idea if they motivate you. You feel good after getting a notification telling you that you have burned 400 calories in an hour. You need to bear in mind though that these estimates are very inaccurate. The error margins are roughly 20-30 % and the calories burned will be overestimated.
I use a Garmin myself to track my miles that I run and my pace, The miles run has an error margin of about 10%. I never pay any attention to how many caloriesI have burned.
What is going to be the next big thing is glucose monitoring on your mobile phone. This technology will soon be available.
There is a company called Zoe that offer a weight loss programme, they actually provide glucose monitors to people who join their programme. They claim that monitoring your glucose can personalise your nutrition.
Basically if you eat something that spikes your insulin then it’s a good idea to avoid this food.
The interesting thing is that if you eat a parsnip that will spike your insulin because a parsnip has got a very high GI. Perhaps we should stick to bacon and eggs to keep our insulin levels low?
The fact is that glucose monitoring is a complete waste of time unless you are a type 1 diabetic.As long as your glucose levels are in a healthy range, fluctuations will not have any negative impact on your health or ability to lose weight.
Zoe have even changed the term for a rise in glucose. They call it a spike, the correct term is an excursion.I am quite sure they are aware of this but personalised nutrition will probably sell better that a weight loss programme.
After all they do need as many people to join their programme as possible otherwise it won’t do any good.
In conclusion fitness tracking can be useful if it motivates you but if it adds stress to your life probably not.
ByAbdi-Karim Berleen/Personal trainer in Loughton.