Sunday, February 28, 2021

Health Reports - Do they exist?

 I'll be 63 this next week and I'm thinking about my health and trying to figure out how I'm doing and what I should be concentrating on. I'm thinking about metrics.

I've recently spent a fair amount of time playing with my new toy, a Renpho scale. It automatically records my weight (bluetooth to phone) along with all sorts of other data. 

At the risk of over-sharing, here's some screen shots and a picture. Of course, one reason that I'm sharing this is that my target for the end of February was to weigh under 200. While the top picture from today  shows me over, it doesn't totally count since I'm holding the camera which apparently weighs one pound.  I did manage to weigh in this morning at 199.8 which you can see in the next pictures which has have my weight and other metrics plus my weight charted over the last month or so.  Sort of a victory....

This next shot is not faked. It is the only time this year so far when I weighed in at less than 200 but it did really happen so I'm declaring victory (and I didn't do anything to hit the weigh-in other than weigh myself in the morning before eating or drinking)..  :->
You might notice above that in addition to my weight, there's tons of other data.  This data is no more or less consistent over time than my weight so it's maybe sort of accurate, maybe it's not.  But it does have me thinking about how much I like having some control and useful information about my own data.

I worked with a trainer for years who would at intervals, take measurements (weight, BMI, muscle mass etc) and even pictures (same pose over and over again I guess showing bulges of fat and accumulation of muscle ) but it was more annoying to me than motivating. She would read the data to me but never produced a report for me to have.   It seemed like such a wasted opportunity to have those records but for me not to have access them. 

I'm thinking a lot about this since I'm getting to an age when I would like to have some trend records of my health that I could look at and use for motivation.  I imagine they should be:
- weight
- waist measurement
- fat vs muscle mass
- pulse
- heart pressure
- some cholesterol measures
- average daily calorie consumption (this could come from MyFitness Pal or something)
- some performance measures for aerobic exercise - not sure what these would be but it might have to do with my time on a mile or quarter mile or something. 
- some performance measures for muscle exercise - I can do 5 pullups and 30 pushups, see videos below) but it might be how long a person can plank.
- some flexibility measures like whether I can reach by feet or something

Other metrics that I have:

My race records
MyFitnessPal has some eating and other records.  I wonder if they give average calorie consumption for the time when I was entering all my food?
Strava and MotionX-GPS have lots of my biking, running, and walking records including how much I go out and what my average pace and distance is.

Here's my vision. I'd like to have a set of records defined as to how a person can measure their health in the later declining years (starting at 40 or something) with a focus on metrics that people can train to improve.  I know that a lot of focus recently has gone into the counting of steps everyday and maybe that would be something to add to the list: a measure of generally how much I am moving each February.  

Has anyone seen anything like this? I'd like to know. Please comment below or email me at bbat50@


Performance metrics - Here's the guy who at 50 was doing four sets of 25 pushups as a regular training exercise.  Without much special training, it turns out I can still grind out 30.

In the same vein, in late January, I decided to start training on push-ups to see if I could get to five clean pullups by the end of February.  When I started training in January, I was at 0.5 pullups as my maximum capacity. I hit the gym every two to three says (sometime four) with a narrow focus on pull-ups. I was advised to do negative pullups (start with the chin above the bar and as slowly as possible go down), assisted pull-ups (big rubber band between my feet and bar to make them easier), and to put weights on my legs to make pull-ups harder.  This was confusing since they seem to be different directions but apparently, they are all ways to squeeze a little out a little more muscle exhaustion which will help build capacity. Who knew? In any case, I made it to five. Here it is. I'm having fun with this so now I'm aiming at 10 by my older brother's birthday (In about two months)