217 in 2017: What counts?

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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.

 7. Walk around resort nature trail

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.

My luggage worn while running gate to gate
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