November 10, 2011, 11:00 am
It shouldn’t be news to our regular readers that many of us at ProfHacker are proponents of exercise fitness, and wellness. Guest author Meagan Timney has encouraged Nurturing the Mind-Body Connection, Kathleen Fitzparick has written about the importance of Prioritizing Exercise, and Brian Croxall has discussed the benefits of Losing Five Pounds. In addition, readers have weighed in on their Favorite Fitness Tracking Tools, and whether or not they Take Advantage of the Campus Gym.
In my most recent post on the topic, The Rule of 200: Fitness Edition, I talked about the difficulty of maintaining an fitness routine once the semester hit its stride with the typical whirlwind of obligations, responsibilities, and unanticipated crises. As I mentioned in that post, I resolved to try something different this semester: I registered for a half-marathon thinking that having a fixed goal…
October 24, 2011, 3:00 pm
It can be tough to fit wellness goals into a to-do list governed lifestyle. Grading, teaching, meetings, research—all of those demand priority, and often my best intentions to exercise or rest get pushed further and further down the list by more pressing concerns. To make sure I don’t spend every waking hour in front of my computer or classroom, I’ve been relying on games that offer the alluring potential to play my way to wellness without leaving the living room.
Exergames like the Wii Fit Plus, with the Wii “balance board” used to detect the player’s weight, motion, and balance, add achievements, points, and mini-games to otherwise familiar gym activities. The Kinect, with programs like Your Shape Fitness Evolved and UFC Personal Trainer, offers more variety thanks to full motion recognition and exercise classes with some “instructor feedback” that doesn’t require…
August 15, 2011, 3:00 pm
Last year, I wrote a post–the first of two–in which I asked ProfHacker readers to share their favorite hardware or software tools for tracking their health in various ways. Readers responded with a wide variety of suggestions, which I shared in a follow-up reader response roundup post.
I tried out a few of the mobile apps and online services, but the one that stuck with me is called RunKeeper, and I’ve been using it for a few months now. It’s an online service–coupled with a free “Pro” mobile app available for the iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone 7 operating system–that acts as a kind of social network for people to track and share their fitness activities.
Don’t let the name fool you; RunKeeper allows you to track you much any kind of physical activity, and I’ve been using it mostly to track my bike rides this summer. During each ride (or walk, or run, or…), the mobile app …
February 17, 2011, 3:00 pm
Back in November, George posted Favorite Health and Fitness Tools (a reader response roundup) after an earlier post about hardware and software tools that help keep us fit and healthy. George’s posts outlined many helpful tools, and the readers of his posts offered even more, tools that help them workout or keep their workouts interesting. One of those readers, brianborchers, mentioned the Garmin 305 Forerunner. At about the same time my daughter—who is training for another half-marathon—showed me the one she uses. Reading how useful the Garmin is from a ProfHacker point of view and then seeing how the Garmin helps my daughter in her training, I wanted one.
I’m not training for a half marathon, but I am striving to take care of myself, and this includes running on a regular basis. I’ve been doing a Couch-2-5K program for a few weeks, and using the Garmin 305 has helped…
February 7, 2011, 3:00 pm
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, I worked several office jobs in non-academic settings. As non-smoking policies were slowly making their way through the corporate and non-profit sector, smokers were required to go outside. This definitely improved the office environment for the rest of us (I’ve never been a smoker myself), but it was also fascinating to observe how much of a break the smokers thus got: fresh air, some physical exercise in walking downstairs (or at least to the elevator), as well as the socializing that often accompanied their habit. A couple of us in one office started taking short breaks just to walk for a few minutes outside (away from the smoke cloud hovering over the entryway) or in the stairwells when the weather was bad. People thought we were weird, but since the office culture allowed for everyone to have a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon break, we were allowed…
November 22, 2010, 8:00 am
Two weeks ago I wrote a post in which I reflected that there is no shortage of hardware and software tools designed to help us stay fit and healthy. From tracking miles walked, biked, or run, to counting calories, to keeping up with your heart rate, if you want to gather data about what shape you’re in, chances are pretty good that there’s a tool for you out there. I invited ProfHacker readers to share their favorite tools, and below I’ve listed what you came up with.
November 11, 2010, 11:00 am
A little more than two months ago, I did something that was relatively uncommon for me: I decided to get on the scale at the gym. I’ve been a regular at our local YMCA for almost six years (they offer free child care during workouts!!), but I haven’t often wanted to get on the scale. While I loved the opportunity to nurture the mind-body connection that came with regular workouts, it just wasn’t life affirming to be reminded that my weight hadn’t changed all that much. But this time, I was surprised to discover that I was 5-6 pounds lighter than I expected to be. What’s more, I found myself tantalizingly close to the numbers that I wanted to see on the scale. With that as an incentive, I decided that I was going to make a concerted effort to lose weight for the first time in my life and see if I could eliminate those last five pounds.
I’m pleased to report that last week I met my…
November 8, 2010, 3:00 pm
The other day I came across a picture of me taken last July, and I almost didn’t recognize myself. You see, a steady diet of pizza and other comfort foods–plus a neglect of any sort of exercise habit–had helped me pack on several extra pounds. Since that time, however, I’ve returned to my middle-aged cruising weight through the simple, common-sense strategy of incorporating exercise back into my routine and being more attentive to what (and how much) I eat. Doing both of these things was made easier, in part, by a couple of online tools that help me track my actions. In short, I can track my input (calories consumed), my output (calories burned), and my weight.
There is no shortage of such tools, hardware as well as software: there are pocket-sized gadgets such as the FitBit and the DirectLife, social-media enabled sites such as MapMyRun/MapMyRide and RunKeeper, various smartphone…
October 20, 2010, 11:00 am
[Each week at ProfHacker, George Williams hosts an open thread discussion devoted to a particular topic, often one suggested by one of our readers. The Commenting and Community Guidelines still apply. And remember that you can always suggest topics or ask us questions via email: ProfHackerCHE@gmail.com. —Ed.]
It should come as no surprise to regular ProfHacker readers that we try to fit in some talk about exercise and physical health here along with all of the other topics we cover. Being able to manage stress and maintain some kind of balance in life are both, after all, an important part of academic life. For example…
August 30, 2010, 3:00 pm
Last week, in discussing my new (academic) year’s resolutions, I mentioned that one of my goals for the year is to run three times a week. It’s relatively easy for me to promise myself something like that right now, as I’m on leave, and aside from some travel and some project meetings, my only real time commitments are to myself.
Personally, I’ve found that maintaining a regular exercise program is way more difficult than that during a regular semester. I always start out with all kinds of good intentions, and feel great as long as I’m still working out regularly. But school-oriented commitments inevitably start creeping in: that one meeting that has to be scheduled during my usual gym time; that article that I’m not finding enough time to work on; that class that isn’t quite as prepared as I’d like. And almost invariably, when I start feeling pressed for time, the first thing that …