I think I’ve told you before about my favorite fitness accountability/encouragement group, 217 in 2017.
What’s the group all about?
“WHAT: The idea is simple. In 2017 there are 365 days. We are going to challenge ourselves to workout 217 times in those 365 days.
WHY: (1) Consistently doing deliberate exercise is one of the most important factors in developing good health and fitness. (2) Choosing to complete a workout or not is something we can control.
HOW: (1)Workouts are defined as any form of deliberate exercise/movement. Some examples are, lifting weights, doing gymnastics, a CrossFit WOD, a hike in the great outdoors, practising a martial art or yoga. Taking a dance class or playing rec softball with the folks from work also count. Do what inspires you to move your body. (2) Use a spreadsheet, a habit tracking app, or a notebook and give yourself a check mark for every workout you complete. (3) Share your progress with the group.
Let’s get cracking!”
Cate has joined in this year and we’ve had a few chats about what counts. We’ve both counted some strenuous runs through airports with luggage!
We’ve decided that regular everyday bike commuting doesn’t count but we’ll count it if it’s above and beyond the call, like a distance or time of year you normally wouldn’t ride. I also noticed last year that I tended to log it if I did something extra– “bike commute + office planks and burpees”– but I didn’t count it if that was it all alone.
I’m reminded of a discussion about value theory we had at the Arizona ethics conference. The basic idea was about things that are too small to count in decisions based on value. Frances Kamm writes, for example, suppose a trolley is headed toward killing Joe and we have a choice to send the trolley to the right where there is another person but alongside Joe are some beautiful flowers that give many people pleasure. The extra utility is irrelevant. She says a Principle of Irrelevant Utility as operating in such cases. The flowers make no moral difference. Whatever you decide about the rightness or wrongness of turning the trolley, you shouldn’t do it on the basis of the flowers.
Here’s U of T’s Tom Hurka explaining the Trolley Problem. Hi Tom! (I’m visiting his class tomorrow where the students are discussing a paper of mine, Thresholds for Rights.)
Here’s a two year old’s solution to the Trolley Problem:
And if you haven’t had enough yet, here’s Wayne Norman‘s musical version:
Back to value theory and what counts: Sometimes things don’t matter on their own but they do matter alongside something else. When I was a Department Chair junior colleagues would sometimes ask if book reviews counted for tenure. The answer is complicated. On their own, they don’t count. No number of book reviews is enough to get you tenure at a research oriented university. But they don’t count for nothing. Alongside refereed journal publications, the gold standard for academic publications, book reviews are a nice bonus.
So bike commutes + something else count even if bike commutes alone don’t.
Anyway, anyway, I’m babbling here. Back to fitness!
Here’s my first few days of 2017,
9. Two hour boxing class
8. Played at a new gym, Hart House, lifted some weights, used some of the weight machines, rowed 5000 m, and ran around the track.
6. Hotel room squats, planks, burpees, and push ups, plus hip mobility and knee physio
5. Two hour boxing class
4. Downhill skiing lesson! I blogged about that here.
3. Two hours fat biking in the snow, including some dramatic falls. I blogged about that here.
2. 7000 step run through airport from one end to another, carrying a serious back back. Bypassing all the escalators, running the stairs. Good news, caught my flight. Fitness for the win.
1. Hotel room workout of burpees, push ups, squats and planks. Plus some stretching.
I like this kind of tracking. It’s a simple list of workouts. I also like seeing what people are up to.
I’ll keep you posted.
15 thoughts on “217 in 2017: What counts?”
“So bike commutes + something else count even if bike commutes alone don’t.”
I didn’t quite look at all the videos.
I count my bike commutes because especially in the winter, when it’s just not feasible to bike in heavy snow, ice, etc., I miss it.
I count my bike commutes….because when I had a concussion, injury like that after not being on the bike for 5 months, you understand how non-car transportation is a celebration of being wholly 100% physically able.
I count my bike commutes because quite a number of adults don’t know how to bike at all. They envy me. They tell me they want to learn to bike.
I bike commute…and carry weight of groceries, etc.
I bike commiute because one day…in a few decades, I won’t be able to do it
My bike commutes count separately from other physical activities, because I don’t drive. In essence, I bike to survive.
I will count my bike commutes in any of the cases that you describe if they are not part of my every day routine already — esp if I made a conscious choice to cycle instead of drive. But generally mine are short enough not to feel like I’ve “worked out.” But it’s all relative — it’s what it means to YOU ;-). I think any intentional moving of one’s body “counts”
Like, I probably wouldn’t count it as two work outs if I rode my bike to the gym on a May day (the gym is about 2 k away). But I might count it as two if it were freezing rain in the dark in February ;-).
Not a comment specifically to you fieldpoppy:
I know a lot of cycle commuters, especially those who support cycling infrastructure, do consider bike commute trips as part of exercise and contributing to their health in general. If one does it daily for 6-7 months of the yr. plus whatever here and there in the winter, then it does help.
Active transportation enthusiasts and progressive urban designers who design communities for cycleability and walkability…would consider cycling and walking these distances which might not be a huge sweaty work-out, as highly beneficial.
If we simply think that a “work out” needs to be always sustained cardiovasucular exercise, weight lifting, etc., we’ll never get people out their short car drives for 1 km. (I cycle -commuter told me her parents used to jump into the car for 2 blocks to get little stuff and they didn’t live by a major busy road)
I believe physical movement needs to be opposite, integrated into daily life so seamlessly that you don’t even think you’re also “exercising” too.
Calgary, Alberta is 1,000 metres higher than Vancouver, BC at sea level. However in Calgary you wouldn’t know it, because we’re flat prairies with occasional long hill. During winter, I cycle very short distances since it’s just very cold or risk of ice any further. Then I return to Vancouver for a few days: I’m actually surprised how well I can do a little hill in early spring… that’s because I’ve been cycling at higher elevations often in Calgary. Some athletes come to Calgary to train for certain sports.
Thanks for your comments Jean — you are absolutely right and I don’t think either Sam or I meant to imply cycling isn’t a workout or physically beneficial and I’m sorry if my comments implied that. I personally think the world would be much better off if more of the people who could cycle for commuting/regular transport did.
Specifically in the context of “what counts as a workout” for me and Sam in our personal tracking, though, i think we are both acknowledging that for us cycling a short easy distance as part of our regular routines doesn’t “count” toward our effort to ADD MORE working out into our lives. Cycling is already a given. It’s like I don’t “count” it as a work out if I do my 10,000 steps I expect to do in a day because that’s just “life” for me — but for someone who doesn’t normally achieve that, it “counts.” I also might count a walk if I make a supreme effort to get off my butt on a cold day and tromp around outside, or do my groceries on my feet instead of a car. It’s about what’s additive. For some people in the FB group, 5000 steps in a day “counts” because it’s more than they “usually” do.
I don’t know if that makes sense — this “tracking the workouts” thing is about ADDING physical effort to our lives and paying attention to that and tracking it — but it isn’t meant to imply that a cycle commute “doesn’t count” as physical effort.
I appreciate what you’ve said about cycling being about life to you — I feel the same way. I wouldn’t be whole without my bike ;-).
Oh, neat idea! I’ve been aiming for some type of workout/activity 3 times a week and so far I’m on track! That only adds up to 156 times for the year, so 1-2 times less per week than your goal. But then some days include more activity–one day last week I did 3 separate workouts. Would you count those things separately?
Yes, some people count working out twice on one day as two workouts
I personally wouldn’t count one visit to the gym as two workouts even if I did different things (like a spin class followed by a short run on the track), but i would count it as two workouts if I went for a morning run and then went to the gym later. I am thinking about *episodes* of working out personally.
I count it twice if I workout two times in the same day. I lift weights and take a Krav Maga (Israeli Defense Forces self defense class) on the same days. I also ice skate, ski, and swim. I like to bike ride in the spring and the fall.
Welcome to UofT. I work on campus and the fitness facilities are a huge perk of the job. Enjoy 🙂
You are fortunate — when I was at UofT ages ago, Hart House was ONLY FOR MEN! So enjoy to the fullest.
What a great idea! I think I’ll try that.
Great idea. Physical fitness is one important aspect of health. As part of an organization that helps lower income people we applaud your efforts.
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