On measuring progress ... and Urban Poling for rehabilitation

Daily walk

On measuring progress ... and Urban Poling for rehabilitation

Perhaps its because I come from a scientific background , or perhaps its just my naturally obsessive nature but I have this compulsive need to document my progress. Way back when, my friend Michael, then Executive Director at the Fraser Institute, made a point during one of our heated debates  - 'If it matters, measure it". The sentiment struck a chord with both the scientific and obsessive parts of me. Since my progression back to being strong and fit enough for serious dancing matters a lot to me - I am trying like mad to "measure it." 

So since the only "get fit" type of exercise I can do for now is walking, how can I measure my progression to fitness?

It seems to me there are few options. There is "duration of walk" - that's easy using the stopwatch function on my IPhone. My criterion for distance is how long I can walk before I feel my posture flagging - and remembering that however far I go I have to walk the same distance back. 

So using landmarks on the sea wall like sections of the wall,  benches or poles as  destination points, I established a defined landmark to reach and return from in 30 minutes by day 21 PO. I sort of achieved that yesterday as noted in Spine Surgery Rehab-week 3.

The other measure that would theoretically work as a target I could increase every day is "number of steps." Well it just so happens that I have a little (I guess that's redundant) IPod Nano that just happens to feature a pedometer.  The only problem - Apple take note - is that the darn thing functions only intermittently.  So that one time I walk to a certain landmark it records a full 2187 steps - and the next time I do the same walk it stops  recording at 500.  Since my other motto is "if you are going to measure it, measure it right" that's a bit of an annoyance.

What I don't know how to measure or assess is the quality of the walk and by that I mean is my posture correct, or am I still scrunched to the right like a distorted Munchkin? How do I ensure that I am engaging and strengthening core muscles and what about the muscles of the back? I needed information. So I turned to the walking poles I acquired when I left the hospital and checked them out.

I vaguely knew that walking with Nordic poles  was supposed to be great exercise but not being a cross-country skier I had never paid much attention to the folks I had seen from my window, speed walking with their poles.  I found some useful information on a website for Urban Poling. The original Urban Poles  - which I hope I will eventually graduate to using, are said to add an amazing upper body and core workout to your walk. The technique for using them is different to the Activator Poles which are designed for rehabilitation  or greater stability in the elderly.

I have been using the Activator Poles each time I walk so hopefully my core and back muscles are getting stronger. Though how do I measure that? Now if only my darn pedometer will work.

One "glass half full " aspect to being basically stuck at home, is that I am finally catching up with some of travel writing that is months or in one case a year behind. So when you read about Supping Away: Quebec City. Le Lapin Sauté  or Vancouver Island Visit Summer 2009 I am not teleporting myself or traveling back in time but just finishing off stories that I started ages ago - and enjoying the memories.