I’m loving this piece in the Atlantic about the unorthodox use of a fitness tracker to monitor recovery from surgery. Instead of using the step counting as a goal to surpass the author uses it as a limit to see if she is doing too much for this stage in her recovery. I think it’s important to recognize, as the author states below, that one standard measure of fitness is not necessarily appropriate for everyone, nor for one person at all times. Injuries, illness, life circumstances – all these change the physiological responses in our bodies – so, too, our needs change.
My definition of fitness is changing over time as my body changes over time. I used to think running and doing yoga at least a couple times a week was what made me feel fit. Today, my metric is how long I lay on my stomach to stretch my mending hip. Next week, it will be how long I can pedal on a recumbent bike without resistance. In the future, it will be the physical therapy that preemptively strengthens my loose joints to support a child. And long after that, it will how much time I can spend in the vegetable garden before I get tired.
It’s not always going to be 10,000 steps a day, 30 minutes of brisk activity. I don’t have to accept Apple’s, Fitbit’s, or anyone else’s technocratic, prescriptive vision for global health. These best-fit statistics are no longer my numbers.
Fitness is dynamic. I want my fitness technology to be dynamic, too.
-Stepping Down: Rethinking the Fitness Tracker – The Atlantic.
Recovery from injury is difficult – more often mentally than physically – I know this from personal experience as well as seeing over and over again with patients. Many times it’s not getting through surgery that’s the hard part, it’s the recovery afterward – where we have to SLOW DOWN and change our expectations (usually not forever). Bodies are complicated things, healing takes time, and the state of our well-being is dynamic; make sure your expectations, fitness programs and healthcare are, too.
PS – one of the things I love most about Traditional Chinese Medicine is it’s perspective that we are never the same person twice – our body is changing all the time, we are constantly experiencing and adapting – so our treatments shouldn’t be cookie-cutter – we should assess and treat what is happening in the body now.