HealthDev: Measure and you shall (hopefully) succeed
Following on from my introductory post, below I outline the higher level background thinking that went into designing my new approach to healthy living.
My goals are as follows:
- Increase my vitality, particularly in the morning
- Eliminate brain fog
- Improve my general mood and fulfilment
- Lose weight
- Improve sleep quality
I will do this by:
- Introducing a routine
- Moving more frequently with greater consistency
- Incorporating good practices
- Exercising more (with a focus on endorphins first, and fitness second)
I will assess my success by:
- Monitoring how well I conform to my new habits
- Measure the change a series of quantitative and qualitative metrics
In order to be successful my approach must be:
Like all good projects, user adoption is the greatest risk to a given plan.
In order to assess the impact of my new found habits I must ensure that my approach is not a “binary” assessment of whether I am am conforming to my determined objectives, this is to say, all monitoring must be scalable. My primary focus is on the most measurable aspect of my health, my weight. Therefore I want to promote more movement and stress reducing activities, and concluded that a point system is best.
My baseline objective is to exceed 7500 steps/ day on average, plus conformity to a series of activities, with added bonus points for additional exercise.
Why 7500 steps / day you may ask or not. We all know that the 10k steps a day is an arbitrary number associated with the advent of the pedometer. I set about a little light research as to what the correct number is. As one might expect, there isn’t a great deal of information (I will post on how much of a pain it is to navigate academic literature). For the time being I chose to settle on the following as my basis: Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women — PubMed (nih.gov) now, I am not an “older” woman, or a woman at all. However, given I am at least in part looking to prevent issues in old age, this seemed like a reasonable place to start.
Moving on swiftly, I based the scoring system on a common sense / trial and error approach. Should I see less progress than desired, or greater progress, I simply scale the daily objective appropriately. I will monitor this on a seven day moving average as frankly, no individual day actually matters.
Each category has a point assignment to it to adjust appropriately. I will author a post for each category. However here is a glimpse to my initial approach. I am due to receive a new fitbit, I will maximise its utility by aligning my tracking as closely as possible with the functionality and data provided.
Until next time. Topher.