24 April 2007

Originally posted at my old blog geekcyclist.blogspot.com

As a self confirmed geek, I occasionally browse over to the OmniNerd blog to check out the ramblings on tech, science and random nerdy stuff. I came across this post that is really interesting to someone like me who is interested in losing and then maintaining a healthy weight.

Calories Burned

Basically, the author of the post wore a heart rate monitor for 24 hours and tracked the calories burned as reported by the gizmo. I have one of those and have worn it for a few hours before and after exercise. Based on how my trend (not daily) weight behaves and tracking my diet, I would say that the measure on my gizmo is accurate to within %2B/- 5%.

Of course, knowing how many calories I am burning has never before stopped me from hitting a sticky plateau. It hasn’t this year either. But one of the points that I like from OmniNerd is that a few small activity changes can make a big difference.

…physical mobility equates to energy burn and sedentary activity does not. It was surprising, however, to realize how even small amounts of activity could have such large gains in overall calorie consumption. If I were to eliminate walking to my bus, never use the stairs and skip days at the gym, my personal calorie burn would quickly dwindle into a deficit.

I have always been intrigued by how I take shortcuts on ‘fat’ days - those days where you suffer the acute pain of your excess baggage dragging you down. Rather than ride to work I drive. After walking from my parking area to the lot my building is on, I walk diagonally across the lot and in the South door, rather than staying on the sidewalk and walking around to the North door. Once in the building, I take the elevator to my 6th floor cubicle, rather than the stairs. On and on it goes as I avoid getting up from my chair and making any ‘excess’ movement.

On the flip side, I am always amazed at how big of a difference it makes when I ride 15 minutes longer twice a week, or when I start lengthening my weekend rides. What we forget often is that when we move, we feel better, we actually have more energy, and we don’t think twice about moving more.

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