Bone Issues

Exercise Software App Review Series; Walk Tracker Pro

Welcome to my new series exploring technical advancements to help all of us track our exercise progress.  Whether you are an exercise novice or a seasoned athlete, you will benefit from this series.

We begin with IPhone Apps, specifically Walk Tracker Pro which has been my personal favorite for two years now.  It uses a GPS signal to tell me how far I have walked, and I can control my music choices right from that app.  You, of course, need to have your music selection already downloaded to your phone.  Then you may start the music, pause it, or change it right from the Walk Tracker Pro app.

There is a voice that will break into the music to let you know the distance you have traveled, your average pace, and the calories you have burned.  Since this is also tracked on the display, I typically turn off these announcements and just enjoy my music or audio tape.

It contains nice bar or line graphs showing your progress.  It can be used whether walking, running, or cycling but it does not recognize a combination of exercises and records everything under the type of exercise you chose to begin the workout.

Walk Tracker Pro can be used on any IPad, IPod, or IPhone with an iOS (operating system) version 5.0 or higher. Each workout can be saved.  I use that feature to know the distance of each of my routes and about how long they will last.  When I walk or run on my lunch hour, I don’t want to be late getting back.  If I want to add a meditation to the end of my workout, I will look in my history to choose a shorter route.  By default, the app saves the workout by date and time, but you can use any name you wish.  I typically name the workout for the route I took.  For example I will name it “Once around Campus” or “Long way around Campus” or “Short trip around water falls”, etc.

The only complaint I have is that the use of the phone’s GPS tends to drain the phone’s battery even when you are finished using the app.  To get around this, you have to turn off the GPS to disengage it from Walk Tracker Pro.  I typically keep it turned off until I need it again.  This can be done in the phone’s Settings App in the Privacy setting, then turn off Location Services.

I also use the display’s Elapsed Time seconds to count my heart rate. I begin counting my pulse when the seconds read x4 (example; 04, 14, 24, 34 and so on).  I keep counting my pulse until the display reads x0 (10, 20, 30 etc.) which means that I have been counting my pulse for 6 seconds.  Then I add a zero to the back of the number of pulses I counted which gives me my beats per minute (60 seconds). I wish there was a way to record the heart rate but this one does not have that feature.

It even has a graphic display of the route you took which takes advantage of the Pinching zoom-in, zoom-out feature of the operating system.  The display can be viewed either in portrait or landscape mode as well.  You can also sign up with Trainingpeaks.com free, upload your progress and brag about it on Facebook to your friends.  I, admittedly, have never used this feature since I prefer to keep my workouts private.

In reading other reviews, there was apparently problems with versions 14.0 and 14.1.  Some people had trouble launching the app, others report it crashing while in use.  I have used this product for years and have not seen these issues.  After several updates over the years, I am now using version 14.3.3 without any issues.

The app costs a very reasonable $2.99 in the app store which is well worth the money.  I have always found this app to be very accurate in both time and distance and is very easy to use.  If you would like to be successful tracking your progress right out of the gate without much fuss and bother, Walk Tracker Pro is a good app to use.

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Now Certified as a Cancer Exercise Specialist

It has always been my belief that exercise can not only prevent various medical concerns, it can also be used to alleviate symptoms after diagnosed.  In accordance with that belief, I am now a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist!

Cancer patients and survivors can experience many individualized complications such as Lymphedema, swelling at treatment sites, dizziness, pain, and increased risk of infection, just to name a few.  This Certification allows me to give body assessments designed specifically for these patients, design programs specifically for their needs, and work with them and their medical staff to improve their physical ability.  In other words, I can now help to get them back to their active lives!

I am so excited about this new Certification!  It lets me know that there are other like-minded people out there that KNOW that physical movement is important to everyone’s lifestyle and exercise can improve those lifestyles.

If you have a Medical or Physical Education degree, and are interested in obtaining this certification yourself, I highly recommend it!  Please look for information at this website; TheCancerSpecialist.com . I learned SO MUCH with Andrea Leonard, Founder of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute in Portland, OR.  This information has opened a whole world to me.   Andrea’s goal is to educate the general population about the continuing needs of Cancer patients and survivors;  some needs of which even Doctors are unaware since they do not study BioMechanic (the way the body moves and how all the body systems interact during that movement).

If you have ever had a diagnosis of Cancer, I urge you to work with a Certified Cancer Specialist near you, found on that web site; TheCancerSpecialist.com .  It can improve your entire outlook about life!

See you in the gym!

Andra

How to get started; How to set up a home gym

OK, so you have already read my warnings about buying equipment for a home gym but you want to do that anyway! Now you want my recommendations.

First I would recommend going to your public library and ask to borrow a DVD, or 2 or 3 on exercise. I am sure they will have 100′s so you can afford to be particular. Instead of borrowing the ones produced by celebrities with no knowledge of body mechanics or health, bring home only those produced by individuals with degrees in fitness or health. You can alway branch out to the fun, 30 year old, former model later. Right now, you need a knowledgeable instructor.

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Now go home and watch the videos. You can try some of the movements, too, if you want to, but for now I want you to do more watching than doing. You should be looking for the types of equipment they use and the movements they do with them. If any of these movements looks particularly awkward or too difficult for you, plan to go get some water or just take a brake during those portions. Pay attention to all of the non-motorized equipment you see on the DVD’s; those are the pieces of equipment you want to start with.

Go to your fitness outfitters store and ask for some (not all; remember to buy just enough to get started, not ought to outfit an entire ) of the Non-motorized equipment and plan to spend up to, but not over, $100.00 on 2-4 pieces.

For that money, you should be able to get some;

light hand weights
ankle weights
elastic bands
Skater’s Slide
Stability Ball (be careful before deciding on the ball; they can be fun, but they take up a lot of space!)

Mix and match from this equipment list; remember to start slow. Later, when you have been consistent in your workouts for about 3 months (yes, I said Months), instead of rewarding yourself with ice cream, try making your reward a new piece of equipment.

Change out the DVD’s every month so as not to get bored with the same workout.

If you find you need aerobic equipment, the skater’s slide, or a non-powered (hydrolic) stair stepper could be right for you.

Powered equipment

The first piece, in fact the ONLY piece, of power equipment I would suggest putting into a private home is a treadmill. They are versatile with speeds from snail-pace to Olympic sprinter, can be raised to simulate a moderate or steep uphill grade, and most have pre-programed workouts built in. If you can walk, you can work out on a treadmill and it can grow with you as your strength and endurance progresses.

Non-powered machines

Treadmill

I have not yet seen a Non-powered treadmill that was worth the materials it took to create it, and I would certainly NOT pay for one for ANY money!

Stair Steppers

You can buy powered stair-steppers, but why bother when there are so many really good, non-powered models out there. Gravity works really well with body-weight for this type of machine and you don’t need to turn the volume up on the TV to hear it over the motor like you do for a powered machine. The best type works arms and legs together, but make sure the arm motion is not actually connected to the legs so you can’t cheat by only moving one, without actually working the other. If space is an issue, then forget the arms and just plan on using hands with arm movements for the upper-body workout. There are many, simple hydrolic stair-steppers that only work the legs that take up a fraction of the space.

Stationery Bicycle

These are also good for an aerobic workout and tend to take up less space than a treadmill, but they only work the legs and circulatory system. They have no benefit to anything above the hips except for the heart.  If you are a beginner, it can be a very good place to start an aerobic workout, but plan to graduate to something more well-rounded very quickly (within a year).

Weight Machines

My opinion; Very Expensive, space hogs, and there are MUCH BETTER ways of getting a workout. Even if your goal is to “bulk-up” (increase the size of your muscles), free weights are usually a better bet for the home gym.

Elliptical

Ellipticals are probably the best “bang for your buck”, non-powered machine ever invented and my hat goes off to the designers. They take up no more space than your average stationery bike (although most of them require more “movement space” surrounding the equipment), they have a simple design so there are few parts that can break, they are smooth in their motion, and pack a whollup in a workout! Beginners through Olympians can always get a good workout with an elliptical.

Brand Name Equipment

NordicTrack
Bowflex
Stairmaster

As with any Name Brand, you will pay much more for the Name than you will for what you get out of the equipment. There are better ways to spend the same money and get a better workout out of it. You can usually find something decent for half the price.

Best places to buy equipment

DO NOT BUY MACHINES RETAIL! There are plenty of people wanting to get rid of their equipment just to get the space back that you can make them a low offer and they will generally take it! Look in the local newspaper, Craig’s List, and free local advertising first. If you don’t find what you want, wait a week and look again. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING ON A WHIM. Think long and hard about your needs and goals, then look for something to match those goals. The longer it take you to find something, the longer is it likely to last as part of your workout.