Archive for the ‘Health and fitness software’ Category

Health and fitness software, what should be in it?

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

best-health-and-fitness-tips-everA good health and fitness program needs to focus on factors that prevent us from becoming unhealthy. One factor that has definitely a correlation with unhealthiness is obesity. The health consequences for being overweight or obese are vast and may include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and some cancers to name a few.

Losing weight and becoming healthy for obese and overweight people is imperative and well designed fitness software can support this. One way it can be helpful is to calculate a person’s calorie balance and correlate these numbers to their body measurements and vital signs. It is very encouraging and motivating to see yourself lose weight and in the same instance your blood pressure and cholesterol levels go down.

Weight loss all boils down to your calorie balance. If your intake is higher then you spend, you gain weight. In part 1, we talked about the calorie intake side of the calorie balance equation. Part 2 describes the requirements for the calories spent module.

Let’s start out with the assumption that the calories spent will significantly vary between people and can not be generalized between high, medium and low activity level. We need a more precise method than that. If we look just plainly at the factors that influence our energy spending, we can conclude the following:

instagram-accounts-to-follow-for-fitness-motivation-496897_w1000Larger people will spend more energy than small people. It makes sense that when you move more weight it costs more energy. Younger people will spend more than older people. Males will spend more than females. Tall thin people will spend more energy than short stocky with the same weight. The tall thin person has more body surface and loses more heat. Lean muscled people spend more energy than the average or overweight person with the same weight. Muscles use more energy than fat cells. Active people will spend more energy than sedative people.

During a day we execute many activities all with a different length of time and intensity level. Between activities there can be huge differences in intensity level. For instance fishing is way less intense than rowing a boat. Also within the same activity different intensity levels exist. For instance 30 minutes running will cost more energy then 30 minutes jogging or walking. Executing an activity with a high intensity level will spend more energy per unit of time.

When calculating the calorie balance, the fitness software should take all the above factors into its formula and adjust the variables automatically. For instance if somebody loses weight, this should be immediately reflected in the outcome. Let’s say I weigh in on Monday and the system calculates 2500 calories spent and two weeks later I weigh again and provided my daily activities were exactly the same but I lost two pounds, the system should automatically calculate the new calories burned taking the 2 pounds lost into account.

You should have the ability to create multiple activity plans in the system, individualized per person. Most people repeat their daily activities on a weekly basis, if today is Tuesday, next Tuesday my activities will be pretty much the same. From Monday till Friday the activities may be similar, but they can differ significantly from weekend to weekend.

new_muscle_injuries___fitness_magazineIn order to calculate the calories spent during the day precisely, you will need to record all activities, the length of time for each activity and the intensity level it was executed. Doing so could mean a lot of time behind the computer entering all this data. To circumvent this problem, the software should allow you to create a plan that is repeated on a weekly basis with default values. Now you need to only to copy this plan and update the differences from what actually occurred. The actual activities with their time length are noted on an activity worksheet that can be printed on a daily basis. This way your data can be recorded within 30 seconds.

Next we need to be able to compare our calories spent with our calorie intake. This can be done in the form of a chart that displays the calorie balance per person over time. See the following example: calorie analysis. This chart makes abundantly clear what your calorie balance is and consequently shows the reason why you lose weight or not lose weight.

In the next article I will talk about body measurement and vital sign readings and how they correlate to your work outs, supplement intake etcetera

Health and fitness software, what should be in it? Part 1

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

 

fbd5009b3015d0883bd53de2f613ac14Let’s keep the answer simple; everything that is related to your health.

The most important indicators for your state of health can be measured though your vital signs, like blood pressure, cholesterol level, heart beat, body mass index etcetera. The major input that influence these health indicators are what and how much you eat and drink, smoke, medication use, life style, daily activity and air quality.

Beside our genetic disposition, we are what we eat, drink and breathe.

summary-view-mdA good health and fitness software program should be able to capture the above mentioned input and correlate the results with the output, or health indicators. This way you create a cause and effect system that the user can analyze and consequently take corrective measures and improve his or her overall health.

The bigger picture teaches us that an effective health and fitness software program contains modules that can monitor our food intake, record our body measurements and vital signs. Furthermore it should track our daily activities and convert them into calories burned. Also it should keep track of our medicine and supplement intake and monitor our overall health level. For the sport and bodybuilders we need additional modules that can keep track of our workout activities, sport results and fitness tests

Let’s start with food intake.

food-sandwichMost of the time we eat together with our family therefore a health and fitness software program should never be restricted to one user.

People tend to repeat the recipes they cook and meals they prepare on a regular interval. For most people this interval is between 20 and 30 days. Furthermore people tend to buy more or less the same ingredients for their meals. For this reason a fitness or diet program boosting databases with thousands of food items will be more of a hindrance than a benefit. The reason that I say this is because it will be very time consuming to pick an ingredient for a recipe or meal plan from a list of thousands of ingredients.

Look for a program that has the basic ingredients to build your recipes and allows you to add food items that are specific to your taste.

aid3200774-728px-Use-Your-Canned-Spinach-Step-1A food’s nutrition facts change depending on how it is conserved, processed or cooked. For example a cup of canned spinach that is cooked will have totally different nutrition facts than a cup of fresh spinach. Look for a program that can make a distinction between these food properties.

The cost of buying special diet foods can be a lot more (up to 2.5 times) than what the average American spends on food. It is a plus if a health and fitness software program can keep track of the food cost by recipe, meal and day. It is really a bonus if the program can compare grocery prices between shops and help you budget.

A recipe module is imperative to a good health and fitness system. This is the place where you can experiment and adjust your recipes to your diet’s nutritional fact limits. The recipe should calculate its nutritional facts per portion depending on the weight ratio of each ingredient that has been added to the recipe. Naturally you should be able to print the recipe and see the total recipe cost and the cost per portion. Having the ability of adding recipe pictures is a plus.

MPM-040416You should also have the ability to create multiple meal plans in the system. Maybe you would like a separate plan for the kids or baby. Or for a partner that has a cholesterol problem, high blood pressure or diabetes. Or you simply want to change diets. These meal plans should repeat over a certain amount of days. The timing of the meals should be more then just breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many diets ask for many small recipe portions during the day. The food items that you select on the meal plan should come from the ingredients as well as from the recipes. For instance you can add a raw apple to your meal plan, which is an ingredient to make an apple sauce recipe. The apple sauce recipe or the raw apple can each be added to the meal plan

As you would expect, the software program should be able to calculate the meal plan cost and nutrition facts by day and for the whole meal plan.

How are you going to keep track of what you actually ate on a particular day and how do you know how to stick exactly to your plan? You do this by printing a meal plan worksheet for a particular day and you note the actual differences from the plan.

We don’t have much time in today’s busy society; therefore you should be able to register the actual daily food consumption in less then 30 seconds. A system that forces you every day for every meal to select your food items from a list of thousands records is not going to make it in 30 seconds. Only select a system that automatically populates your meal plan for that day and you only update the actual differences from the plan.

Just adding your daily food intake to a database is not going to benefit you. It will create a “data cemetery”, data that is never examined. The food data needs to be analyzed and correlated to other types of data like your body measurements or calories burned. Click on the calorie analysis hyperlink to view an example. The chart makes it very quickly clear that the calorie intake line is under the calories spent line and consequently you will lose weight.

Next article I will talk about activity calorie counting and the factors involved…