Fitbit, or a bit fit?

Chris Hunt and son Riley find the easy way through a hay maze. Photo Credit Angela Jacques

Recently, I went to see my doctor for the first time in about four years or so.  I normally avoid doctors like the plague, if only because people with the plague are more apt to be found at a doctor’s office than anywhere else. I had to go because I bought a new-fangled smart watch that monitors your vitals as you go about your day.

I thought mine was broken when it asked me if I was working out within minutes of me first putting it on. Seems my heart rate was such that what I was doing was physically strenuous enough that it just presumed I had to be exercising. I was putting on my shoes. They were slip-ons.

Later, I was walking my son to school and off it went again. We’d only walked about a block or so. This time, I was sweating. And shaking. By the time I got home, I had difficulty breathing.

COVID-19 was quite hard on my physical routine. Pre-pandemic, I used to exercise four times a week. While everything was closed, I discovered that sitting in my underwear eating potato chips and drinking beer takes way less effort than exercising. It’s also exponentially more satisfying. And if you eat enough processed food, you’re apt to work up a pretty good sweat, so it’s kind of like working out, I guess?

But that whole shaking thing rather shook me.

I went to see my doctor, who has a better sense of humour than I do. (I may detail an impromptu prostate exam he once gave me in a future column, but suffice to say it began with him asking me if I’m prone to fainting and ended with him joking that his patients appreciate his small hands.)

This time, when I mentioned my symptoms, he said we’d run some tests and asked after my general health. I told him that I generally don’t have any bad habits. You know, except for the whole no-exercise thing. Oh, and the constant snacks and beer thing. But I don’t smoke. I’m likely prouder of that one than I should be, as I couldn’t smoke even if I wanted to, given my mouth is usually too full.

When I mentioned the beer, he, to his credit, remained stoic and didn’t get all up in my face about it. Sure, he may have said something about giving it up, as beer is nothing but a calorie dump. Terrible for your health and liver or something like that. Instead, he says, I should switch to whisky. Fewer calories, he explained. Much better for you. When it was apparent that I couldn’t tell if he was joking, he smirked and added that with the cost of whisky, I’d drink less, and that’d be good because drinking is not good for your health.

Exercise is, though. And since I saw my doctor, I’ve made a concerted effort to exercise more. I play basketball at least once a week and hit the gym generally twice or more a week. 

It’s much easier to be active when you’re being active with someone you adore. My son and I often play basketball together and now that the weather is getting nicer, we’ll be enjoying hiking soon. We’ll also be doing cardio kickboxing together, though I presume after one or two sessions, I may yearn for my beer and chips regime.