In 2021 I was hospitalized from Sept 4th thru Sept 25th. A bacterial infection led to Sepsis and Pneumonia which led to several procedures, surgery, and a prolonged stay.
To celebrate surviving that incident, and in an effort to take my own health more seriously I am looking more closely at my own fitness goals and numbers.
Recovering from the hospital was not fun. During those 21 days the most steps logged by my watch in a single day was 173. In hindsight, I wasn't in top condition before my illness either. Considering my survival, a new beginning, and a second chance I have chosen to look at my physical fitness annually with the year starting October 1st.
What Can I Measure?
Health and fitness are in some ways difficult to fully measure but there are performance indicators. I have chosen to focus on 2 key factors.
1: Total Steps. I wear a fitness tracker watch that tracks my steps. This seems as good an indicator as any to measure my overall activity on a day-to-day basis.
2: Total Workouts and Time Spent Working Out. Over the years I've used a number of different apps to keep track of my runs and other workout activities. This is an indicator of time spent doing aerobic things and pushing the body beyond its comfort zone.
There are other things I can and do track like sleep duration and efficiency, Google Fit “Heart Points”, weight, and more. For simplicity in my ability to record and review them over time I don't include them in this write-up.
Looking at my 1st year of life out of the hospital (Oct 2021 – Sep 2022) I had 2,007,807 total steps compared to 1,363,511 steps during the previous period. A major increase obviously in September but as you can see in the below chart with the exception of October I've walked/run more steps every month this year compared to the previous year.
Looking at the last 3 years (which is as far back as my data goes) I appeared to be fairly stagnant. I'm glad to see an uptick in 2021-2022.
In Q4 of last year, I increased my steps by committing to taking the dog around the block every night on a walk. That doesn't seem like much but consider that 2 million steps divided by 365 days are about 5480 steps a day. Walking the dog in an extra 1200 or so steps.
The dog walks are less consistent now but since March I've been running 3 mornings a week. My runs are equating to 3000 to 4500 steps by themselves. A great way to start the day!
Total Workouts and Time Spent Working Out
In March of 2022, I decided to start running 3 days a week and I've diligently done that without missing a day with the exception of business travel. This not only has a significant impact on my total steps (above) but also on the number of workouts I'm getting in. 78 total workouts this last year, all of those being short runs in my neighborhood.
The 27 shown below for the previous year is a bit deceiving because I manually added workouts when I would shovel snow whereas in this last year all the data is reflective of going running. Not to say shoveling snow is or isn't a workout, only that I included it in the year 2020-2021 but not in the year 2021-2022 even though I could assume I shoveled snow just as often.
So the main takeaway is that I was very inactive leading up to my sickness and hospitalization in 2021.
I think moving forward I'm going to try to maintain the current schedule of running three times a week. I am hopeful that those runs will be longer over time and increasing the hours in workouts is my goal.
Tools I Am Using
For tracking steps, I use a low-cost Fitbit knockoff. I've had it for almost 4 years and it is still going strong. (Amazon)
Steps are also independently tracked by the Google Fit app on my phone. Google Fit then also imports the data from my not-Fitbit. I assume it goes with the larger of the two numbers. My data is coming out of Google Fit.
For workouts, up until May 2022, I was using MapMyRun. In May I transitioned to Strava.
For sleep, I use Sleep As Android which is a freemium app available in the Google Play Store.
I track my weight manually by inputting it into Google Fit as often as I remember to weigh myself in the morning before I shower.