Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Health kick in progress

‘Tis the season for sharing resolutions and fitness goals.  There’s nothing like a new year to bring on a fresh spark to ignite that fitness fire.  It would appear that I am far ahead of the game this year, because my health kick started in November. 

I was one of four people involved in a fitness study.  Researchers were studying the effects of a moderate level of exercise on cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate while exercising, body fat, strength and endurance.
There was no nutrition component to the study, just exercise.  The exercise portion was not at all daunting.  I was required to walk at least 10,000 steps a day (they gave me a pedometer), including at least 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity walking 5 times a week.  The third week in, I also added 30 minutes of strength training three times a week, guided by a personal trainer.
Oh, and my progress was to be monitored by a CBC camera crew for a segment on The National news program (it aired last night).
For the science part of it, I had a bunch of tests both at the beginning and end of the 6-week period.  They drew blood, took my blood pressure, measured my body fat, put me on a treadmill for a stress test, weighed me and tested my leg strength.

For the story part, they visited us at home (such a thrill for the kids!)

I checked in with the journalist, Reg Sherren.  Here, he's watching a video of my progress report on his treadmill in Winnipeg.

And of course, there was a lot of walking.  10,000 steps a day was, surprisingly, not too much of a challenge.  I had to wear the pedometer a couple of days before the study started and it turns out that I was already registering about 8,500 steps a day.  I made a concerted effort to take the long route to meetings, parked my car a little further away and added a 30-minute walk at lunch.  Just like that, I was seeing numbers like 14,000 on the pedometer.  One Saturday I suggested that the whole family walk to the city's Santa Claus parade.  That was a 20,000+ steps day!

At this point, I don't know the specifics of my individual results.  At the post-testing, I was told that my endurance had improved and that my strength was "way up" (apparently I was the strongest in the study, both in pre and post-testing - woot).  I don't know, nor do I care if there was any change in my weight.  I do, however, feel fantastic.  I know I am more toned.  My clothes fit better.  I have more energy.  That's my kind of success.