Fitness and me

Fitness and me

In 2015 I was hospitalised and a resident of the Intensive care department. It became clear that I had acquired severe Bronchial Pneumonia and septicaemia. I was put into a chemical coma while I was being treated.

When I woke from the coma, I could not lift any of my limbs or head off the bed.

Before my illness, I had spent 20 years cycling (before the illness) to and from work, around 10 miles a day. When I can home after work, as I had had a knee injury during my youth, I used to use a non-impact running device (Cross Trainer) and would run for a couple of hours while watching films. From that you can understand that I enjoyed fitness.

After the illness.

My first outing, a month after returning home was a 20-metre walk with a walking aid from the hospital.

What I needed was a calm controlled programme of exercise, plus a method of charting my improvement. BUT the first action was to chat with my GP (and other relevant healthcare professionals) to ensure that I was not risking my health irredeemably. As I was also under a cardiac and endocrine consultant, I also discussed my plans with them. I was provided with parameters and controls to ensure that I did not jeopardize my health. I also discussed my plans with a Physiotherapist, who provided me with a plan of activity tailored to my needs.

At first – I set a small achievable goal, and maintained that goal for 1 week before considering extending it.

  1. My first was to walk to the end of the street and back
  2. Then I would extend the walk by another 25 metres.

The problem I had was as I had had a heart crisis during my illness, I had to ensure my heart was not stressed unduly.

I looked into what was available. There are a number of devices available to you: –

  1. Fitbit – had step counter with a heartbeat monitor. There are a number of other similar devices on the market that can meet your pocket (i.e. Samsung Gear/Apple watch etc)
  2. Note – you phone has a step detector and some have a heart beat monitor, but those are suitable for taking pulses on demand rather than continual readings.

Although the Cardiologist wasn’t familiar with Fitness levels and readings, we agreed that as I could monitor my heartbeat, that I should aim to ensure my pulse remained under 135 BPM to ensure my heart wasn’t over exerted.

I also wanted a system to monitor my step improvement and check what my achievements had been for the week. That is when I decided that I needed a method to assess and monitor my activity.

  1. I could monitor my steps for the week
  2. I could control my heartbeat during exercise to ensure I didn’t over exert myself. In the exercise world, heartbeat between 80 and 100 is considered ‘fat burn’, between 100 and 140 is considered ‘Cardiac strengthening’. Above that is called ‘Peak’. I had agreed with the Cardiologist that Peak would be dangerous,
  3. I could set small targets that could be achievable. For me – it was important that I kept those targets for a week, re-evaluate whether I’d made those target and check whether I felt better for it. If I didn’t feel that I could or was able to increase the steps, I kept that target for another week before extending it in small increments.
  4. Have a device that not only logged my improvements and visibly see that I was getting better.
  5. With the option I chose – I had charts showing my performance, with improvements and heart beat charts to show any Medical person who need it. I could graphically display how my body was responding.

Added bonus – when I has bought my Fitbit I discovered a community of friends. When I logged onto Fitbit, I found a number of friends were already using it. They had set up a group of similar minded people who were challenging themselves to get as fit as they possibly could. The point was that there are others out there using such devices who are helpful and supportive.

Over a period of 3 years I have increased from 20 metres to several of miles a day (in increments). I have got back to a level that I can feel comfortable with. I have to accept that I am unable to jog, but walking helps me keep fit and hopefully keeps my weight down, whilst keeping my health and happiness up.

Pierre

Thank you

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