Sweating for (Fewer) Dollars
I’ve been intrigued by the run of websites and apps that promise to pay you for losing weight and/or getting fit. Sites like HealthyWage.com and Dietbet.com and apps like GymPact seem to be gaining in popularity, especially with the January rush. GymPact is an iPhone app that pays you for getting your regular workouts in–and penalizes you (in the form of at least a $5 debit) for skipping them. The company bets on the slackers to pay for the entire operation–by flaking out, they leave enough money to cover the site’s operations expenses, plus 40 to 50-cent payouts to those who fulfill their commitments. Since January, though, there has been less of an excess to go around—more folks seem to be making good on their New Year’s promises. Makes you wonder about the wisdom of their business plan … Read more here.
Top Fitness Apps
I admit it–I’ve yet to tap into the power of apps to help facilitate my own fitness pursuits. Those of you who are less luddite-like might be interested in Greatist’s list of favorite fitness apps. (By the way, GymPact didn’t make the cut.) I might need to check some of them out myself …
Pesky people like me are apparently showing up in MDs offices with exercise-related injuries, which this CBS This Morning report calls “boomeritis.” The doc interviewed is very level-headed and less alarmist as the set-up–he says he’d much rather see folks with these kind of problems than heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, kidneys, etc. His recommendation for reducing the chance of injury? Add variety to your fitness routine–instead of running 5 days a week, rotate among different types of exercise to take the pressure off of joints and muscles and promote muscle balance.
Here’s more advice and information on avoiding injury for Boomers.
Big Fat Fitness Lies
Your treadmill may be lying to you. That’s the conclusion of a report from ABC news on the accuracy (er, inaccuracy?) of the data produced by fitness equipment on calories burned, miles run, speed, etc. The bottom line: Don’t take the numbers too seriously, especially the “calories burned” calculation, which takes way more individualized information to come up with than your basic Y treadmill or elliptical can provide. Even the distance figures can be warped, since treadmill belts can stretch, for instance. Now, don’t use this as an excuse to can your workouts—or to freak out. You should be more interested in seeing progress from week to week rather than knowing whether you’ve “banked” enough calories to enjoy a super-size Snickers for an afternoon snack. I would try to stick to the same machine whenever you can (to remove individual variations), ignore the calorie count, and focus on building speed and/or distance over time.
Hard-Wired to Hate Exercise?
This Wall Street Journal article looks at whether there could be a biological explanation for why some people hate—or love—exercise. Really great stuff here. The bottom line (at least as I see it): Even though there are biological causes for the discomfort of exercise, how we interpret that discomfort–as a sign of a good workout, perhaps, or progress, vs. unbearable pain–can override the biological response. Also mentioned as critical to our enjoyment of exercise are factors like how competent you feel, whether you have some control or choice in the matter and, for many, whether the activity fosters social connections. My favorite part, though, is the anecdote at the end of a 51-year-old woman who fell in love with rowing after never having been the sporty type. “I’m in better shape now than I was 10 years ago, she says. “Maybe I’ll be in even better shape in a decade.” Now, that’s the way to think!!