** Guest Blog courtesy of Joanne Dowds MISCP**
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. I am not an Apple fanatic but I do love my smartphone, it is rarely far from my hand. However I am trying to distance its influence, I have phone free time, social media holidays, I never keep notifications on apps; I would rather direct my own interest than have an inanimate object dictate where I pay attention. However it does have its uses, there is a reason I love it. Above are some snap shots from my daily fitness tracker app and camera (I do love a photo! #insta) from my phone. The fitness app doesn’t require any input from me- it simply tracks how far, how long and how fast I walk regardless of whether I want it too or not. The idea of my phone monitoring me keeps my stalking to a minimum, 1984 style. This I do find useful. The first figure is from a day on my holidays in early September last year and the second from a particularly busy day at work. Does this equate to fitness? Is it the same as going to the gym? Does this impact on my health? My activity in one of these bookended the day (midnight to 4am not stirring in daylight hours but kicking off again in the evening) doing what can only be described as throwing shapes while ageing disgracefully in the Balearics and the second is a conventional but particularly busy working day when I walked/trotted the legs off myself achieving just over 16k in a small patch of south city Dublin. I was knackered (in very different ways) at the end of both these days but does this count as physical activity? Looking to the experts the answer is yes, it is recommended to be active in whatever way takes your fancy, the commonly stated 10,000 steps a day is a very user friendly accessible way to hit physical activity targets.
I can fairly easily hit the 10,000 steps a day; I have an active commute and job, on week ends however I can struggle to reach a 1000 steps, I am not sure where I can attribute this to phone free time (doubtful) rather than sloth (game of thrones reruns, a netflicks subscription, also did I mention that TOM HARDY is in a tv show now).
The other point of interest is that I can measure this activity with out any fancy gadgets. Smart phones are amazing, they have changed how we live our lives. The world is at our finger tips, all the information you could possibly want at any time in any capacity. There is a good chance that you may be reading these ramblings off one. But what is the point in having enough information to drown in but not use it. For a large part of history knowledge was power, because it was hard to obtain but not any more, we ask, google answers. A recent scientific finding from the states tells us that knowing physical activity levels alone is not enough to change health behaviours. Attention must be followed by action. By attention what I mean is noticing what you are doing and being motivated enough to change in a positive way. Knowledge only has power if you use it.
What point is there in having a target that (for me) is (currently) easily achieved five days a week, there is no stretch in it, so I am aiming a little bit higher. I have increased my daily step count goal to 15000/day. Not having notifications means I have to go looking for the figures, the tiniest bit of searching for knowledge, even if it is just 3 or 4 clicks though screens. I am interested in this step count and what it means. I monitor it, then act. Action provides proof, action moves you forward.