Games Lubricate the Body and the Mind

Treadmill by yuan2003, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  yuan2003 

By the end of my last post, I figured out a way to make the writing more fun using gaming. But what about some of the other buckets?

How can I gamify health, for example? On the surface of it, that shouldn’t be all that difficult. After all, what did we do in recess and P. E. all those year ago in school? We ran around and played games. The problem is . . . I don’t really enjoy doing that. I enjoy playing tennis, or used to, before I gained a bunch of weight. But tennis isn’t something you just go out and do. You have to have a partner, and you have to have one that’s approximately your own level of skill or it blows.

One of my friends has a little device called a fitbit that seems to be something I should look into. She runs, and it reports how far she ran and how long it took to do so, and it maintains a graph so that these daily “scores” are visible on her Facebook page.

I’ve been thinking about doing something like that. Not running. I don’t run unless chased. And frankly, the guy better have a chainsaw. No, I’m talking about with other activities, like walking.

The previous times when I’ve tried something like that, it’s failed ultimately because it’s during the dead of winter (which in spite of reports, can actually get pretty cold here in Hotlanta) or the blazing heat of summer (105 in the shade with a 95% humidity), and/or because it’s hard to teach the devices I tried what a “step” is for me.

I’m a heavy guy. When I wear a regular step-meter on my belt, it turns at an angle and isn’t always accurate. I wore it a few times at work, and it reported that I had walked 10,000+ steps when I knew for a fact I had not. It was recording each time I shifted in my chair or . . . who knows what it was counting. The point is: it was wrong. The fitbit is a wristband, and that attracts me.

The company sent me a new device after it turned out there were design issues, but I never took it out of the box. Maybe I can figure out a way to make it accurate, and then have it report to the world to keep me honest. The only way this is going to work is if I’m required to be honest. :)

Until I can get a fitbit.

“They” say that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, but only a few to break. Would me forcing myself to walk three days per week for seven weeks do it? Could I also include some time on the several machines we have here at the house in that total to add up to something approaching respectable? We have an elliptical, a treadmill, and a kind of a cross-country skiing kind of a thing. Ish. <makes vague gestures in the air>

Only time will tell, ultimately, but I hope to try.

The other aspect of health that I mentioned a couple of posts ago was sleep. I get far too little sleep. Well, that’s something I can and actually have been doing something about. When I realized I was staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 AM almost every night . . . just because, I then realized I could also put a stop to it . . . equally because. With only a few exceptions (due to medication or a late night at work), I have been to bed by midnight every night for the last ten or eleven days.

And without exception, I have awakened naturally between six and seven hours later, with no help from the now-shut-off alarm. This gives me plenty of time to get to work by a reasonable hour, and feeling rested and mostly ready to face the day.

Next, I’ll try to cut back on caffeine. For me, this means Coke Zero, Dr Pepper Ten, and iced tea. I don’t do coffee.

I know I should start immediately doing the walking after work thing, but I want to start it when I can realistically track my progress. That’s not procrastination.

Really. It isn’t.

Up next: Work. How can I gamify that?


The title of this post is a quote by Benjamin Franklin. Yes, that one.

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Comments
6 Responses to “Games Lubricate the Body and the Mind”
  1. Liss Thomas says:

    Gary, Gary, Gary… What I’ve found to help me… when I was in Hotlanta in the winter was to walk in the malls. Lots of people watching. Discover Mills was the best because it went in a circle. Now out in Cali, I need to start walking too. Looking for a park since there are no malls nearby. Good Luck with that.

    No caffeine? May I suggest water, water and water! :o)

    • Discover Mills is exactly what I was aiming for. It’s big enough to be an actual challenge, and cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and dry every day. And chock full of the smell of buttered popcorn, thanks to the theater.

      The caffeine is actually less an issue than the diet drinks, but yeah, trying to cut back on all of it. I’m sure it’s not helping.

  2. Barbara Tate says:

    “Twenty-one days to form a new habit.” I’m out. I have trouble setting up those gadgets too. Never could get my steps measured right. Ugh!!

    • They usually tell you to “walk normally.” I don’t know about you, but the minute someone says to me, “walk normally” or “act normal,” I question every move, and start acting anything BUT “normal.” :)

  3. Beth Tanner says:

    Chiming in late, but I have found the fitbit to be at least consistent in it’s recording (i.e. it may not be exactly right in the number of steps but I can compare days, etc. and see where I am.)

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