Thursday, 31 December 2015

A year in numbers

Once again - if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. I've just completed the second year of logging in a spreadsheet the key indicators that contribute towards a healthier lifestyle. The principal one is walking. Recommended by the NHS, the World Health Organisation and the Surgeon-General of the US, 10,000 paces is a daily target. How did I fare in 2015?

Not bad! From 1 January to 31 December, I walked 3,919,786 paces (a little short of my four million target, but then there's always next year). This works out at 10,739 paces a day - on average. Yes, there were worse days - mainly the result of heavy rain - but rarely was my weekly average below 10,000 paces. In 2014, my daily average was 9,821 paces. So - improvement.

So this year (with an 80cm pace), I walked 3,136km (1,945 miles), up from 2,868km (1,779 miles) last year. Next year, I'm aiming for four million paces.

Incidentally, I'm using a Tanita PD-724 3-Axes pedometer (below), which I take with me everywhere I go. As long as it has a decent (not cheapo no-name) battery, it will serve you extremely well.

As I've written before - if you use your car as the default means of getting about, you have no chance of racking up 10,000 paces in a day. If you slow down the pace of life, use public transport, use that time to catch up on reading, and walk between meetings etc, it's not that difficult.

More improvement in terms of alcohol consumption. My weekly average intake across the year was 28 units, down on last year's 33.4 units. The 28 units is (just) within the "3-4 units a day" that's recommended by the UK Government. My target for 2016 will be lower, somewhere between 21 and 28 units a week. Looking back at my spreadsheet records, last year every fourth day was alcohol-free, this year it's been every third day.

Giving up alcohol totally is pointless, unless you have an addiction problem. Study after study shows that moderate drinking is healthier across a lifespan than living a life of total abstinence. And if alcohol in moderation improves your social and artistic skills - why not. Just be aware of the limits.

Exercise - the sit-ups which sculpt the tum. This year was worse than last year. Daily average across 2015 was a mere 41, compared to 65 in 2014. Must keep them going longer after Lent ends. Waist back to a bulgy 40 inches - it should be 36 inches. 1 January the day to start on that mission!

New to 2015 was keeping a log of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable intake. Recommended daily consumption is five portions - this year I achieved 4.3 portions a day every day across the year. Must do better next year, given that seven or even ten portions are likely to be the new target. The real problem is time - time to prepare the fruit and veg. So I've focused on the easy-to-eat portions, like cherry tomatoes (a handful = 1 portion); banana; tangerines (in season) seedless grapes (in season); freshly pressed apple juice (not from concentrate); and always to go for a salad option, broccoli, carrots, spinach, whenever possible. So - keep eating healthily. No sugar, no cakes, biscuits or confectionery (other than sugar-free gum). At all. None. Zero. We don't need it - not even in the smallest amounts. No salt-snacks. Meat - only the highest quality, and then rarely. Fish and dairy products, nuts, pulses, rice, potatoes - this is fine.

My father, 92, continues to be an inspiration to me in terms of keeping going into advanced old age. The one lifestyle advantage I have over him is that he drove to work every day from 1958 to 1993, whereas I spent nine years cycling to work and many years using public transport.

For our own good, and for the good of society and the healthcare system it has to prop up, it behoves us to watch our lifestyles, avoid the temptations of in-car idleness and fatty, sugary foods, exercise and monitor it carefully. You know it makes sense.

This time last year:
Economic forecasts for 2014 - and 2015?

This time two years ago:
Economic predictions for 2014

This time three years ago:
Economic predictions for 2013

This time four years ago:
Economic predictions for 2012

This time five years ago:
Classic cars, West Ealing

This time six years ago:
Jeziorki 2009, another view

This time seven years ago:
Jeziorki 2008, another view

This time eightn years ago:
Final thoughts for 2007


Wilkbury said...

Happy and Healthy New Year!

dr Marcin said...

From June 4'th to December 27'th, jogged 475,6 km (ei. approx. 295,4 mi).

All the very best and happy New Year, Mike.

Michael Dembinski said...

Thanks guys - stay healthy this year and enjoy a long and productive life!