• Category Archives Fitness
  • Electric mountain bikes are a real thing

    I know Gary has a set of electric bikes. I love mine so much I brought it with me from Australia (have not hooked batteries to it since I got here, but that’s probably the topic for yet another blog)…. I was interested to read a bit more about how hard core not just electric bikes are becoming, but specifically electric mountain bikes.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/electric-mountain-bikes-charge-trails-sea-otter-emtb-race/#ftag=CAD590a51e

    E-mountain bikes are rarities in the US today, but they’re spreading just as they did in Europe, said Claudia Wasko, who leads the North American e-bike systems group for Bosch, the dominant maker of e-bike batteries and motors. “The market in the US is five to 10 years behind,” she said.

    Plenty of consumers are already convinced. E-bike sales should grow to $24.4 billion by 2025, up from $15.7 billion in 2016, analyst firm Navigant predicts.

    Thats some serious money…. I guess people like hobbies and recreation. Old guys that have good jobs and empty nests that want to get back out there, but don’t have the fitness….

    Anyway, go read it if you are interested.
    I think the takeaway for me is that electric bikes are growing up. They are bringing more of a common everyday thing. They will come down in price. People will have one in the garage and pull it out on the weekends.

    I know I want one, but not at 6 grand…. will just have to wait another few months.



  • Christian school with fitness trackers – what could go wrong?

    File this one in your crazy bucket…..

    http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/04/christian-college-says-mandatory-fitbits-won-t-track-sex/

    Can a Fitbit distinguish between cross-fit and carnal knowledge? It doesn’t matter, says Oral Roberts University (ORU) officials, because they won’t be scanning data for signs of student coitus anyway. The school now requires that all of its incoming students use (and pay for) Fitbit trackers during the spring semester. That caused some speculation that the devices could invade students’ privacy, particularly since they can be used to monitor sexual activity. However, the school says it isn’t using the devices to enforce its code of conduct forbidding pre-marital sex.

    Rather, the reasons are more prosaic, though still slightly Orwellian. ORU gives students a pass/fail grade for doing exercise during the term and will use the trackers to monitor students’ steps and heart rate.

    Ok, look, just to help you out, here is the link to an article (safe for work. Mostly) that shows a woman’s heart rate from her fitness tracker during sex (it’s a graph, but there is a side photo of a fully covered woman in bed).
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/woman-has-sex-wearing-fitbit-here-is-what-happened-10451295.html

    And yes, I could share my fitness tracker heart rate graph, but no… You guys are not seeing that!

    Ok, now that we have all that out of the way, can please we get back to the article.
    A christian school is putting heart rate trackers on their teenage students.
    What could possibly go wrong??



  • Crowdsourced depression treatments

    I never knew about this website;

    http://curetogether.com/

    About CureTogether

    Imagine patients around the world coming together to share quantitative information on over 500 medical conditions. They talk about sensitive symptoms and compare which treatments work best for them. They track their health. New research discoveries are made based on the patient-contributed data. This is happening at CureTogether, and we believe it can have a massive global impact.

    First I saw of it was this graphic popped up in one of my feeds as a side image to the main article.

    depression solutions

    This is what got my attention.
    You can read a bit more about it on their website;
    http://curetogether.com/blog/2011/05/03/23-surprisingly-effective-treatments-for-depression-one-year-later/

    Given that it is all done by crowdsourcing is both interesting and a caution note worthy.
    It would be people from all walks of life, the only one thing to be sure about is that they surf the web. And that’s the caution, you could be reading anything by anyone.
    But, that said, my thought is that since that chart is built from pretty close to 5000 people, it would (should) sorta average out.

    Here is my take away.
    I blogged about how this year I want to focus on my physical health to improve my mental health.
    Well, it would seem that according to a whole bunch of people I am on the right track with that approach.

    Have not blogged about it yet, but I am also making an effort to do Yoga each morning, and yup, yoga is on the graph. (Middle left)…. Pretty happy to see it up there.
    Of course, exercise is front and center, well, top right… which means it’s very effective and used by a lot of people to manage their depression.
    We will do another blog in a few weeks how my quantified year is going (it’s only been around 6 weeks at this stage, I want to get at least 8 week under my belt before we even start to draw conclusions) in this regard.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I was really really encouraged to see that I am not totally off my rocker to think that by managing my physical health, I can impact (in a positive way) my mental health.

    As for the ‘Adequate Sleep’ thing….. lets just say that is a work in progress and we will blog more about that specific topic once we have a little more data.



  • 2016 – Quantified Self year

    I am interested in actually doing something to change things this year.
    Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.
    The past few years I feel I have just been in survival mode, but it seems that if we don’t make some changes, that is all we are going to be doing, just surviving. Bearly.

    If I just run this year through the same algorithm as last years, what is going to change?
    What can I change? What do I want to change?
    I have noticed a solid link between my physical health and my mental health.
    While I am (pretty) happy with my physical health, I am pretty far from Ok with the state of my mental health….. Have considered medication for that side of things, and it is pretty safe to say that we tried drinking my way to better mental health last year, but neither of those options are sustainable or put in things in my control.
    What does that leave?
    Fine tuning (correcting?) my brain via fine tuning my physical health.

    What data do I have on last years physical health?
    Running data from Strava. That’s it.
    strava 2015

    Is that all we did physically in 2015? No, we did a lot more, but I do not have a single record of any of it.

    So, here then is my focus for the next few weeks. By the end of January I want to have in place some devices / software to track as much of my physical activity as possible.

    It is a small start, but here we are in groov…. Since I use it every single day, it made sense to me to put more of me data into it.
    groov health data

    Halfway into the month and we have made a pretty good start.
    I can log, manually and automatically, more of my activity.
    The plan is to write a quick script in the next few days to push this data into a MySQL database so that we can store it for more than a year, but also once it is in something like a database, then there are many tools that we can use to extract and analyze the data. As you know, AI is just around the corner for the common man, so in say 2-3 years time, I will have a wealth of data that new (as of 2016) tools, that do not currently exist, can be applied to that data set.
    Of course, in the meantime, I will have data to start looking for patterns myself.

    We are currently using Withings devices and software to do a lot of the tracking. (They have a rough and ready API so I can pull the data and import it into groov).
    withings dashboard

    At the moment I have their body analyzer (a set of scales that weigh and electrocute you – that’s how you work out body fat, your resistance to electricity) and blood pressure cuff. But am looking for heart rate, skin temperature and skin conductivity. (Extra points if I can find a wearable device that tracks respiration rate)
    At the moment I do not have a sensor for those, but am looking hard to find something as soon as I can that will track it and expose it via software so I can get it into my database.
    Those bits of data will not be in the Withings dashboard, so hence the interest in getting as much as I can into groov and my own database. (I also don’t trust any company to keep my data long term).

    So, here we are, day 13 of 2016 and we are making a late start, but a start none the less.
    Once we can see some cause and effects, we can start to make some changes and so can look forward to seeing some positive reinforcement on those changes.

    I just can’t let myself have (yet) another year like the past 5.