by Tony Rushin
We write all Tuesday Tips ourselves – they’re too important to outsource. That means once in a while, like this week, I get stymied thinking about what to write. While going to lunch with Shawn Hardister – a friend, client and CPA/partner at Brooks, McGinnis & Company – I asked if he had any new cool iPhone Apps. Shawn didn’t hesitate: “yes – an app that measures my resting heart rate just by holding my finger over the camera and flash.”
I was curious. Active through my mid-40’s – a marathon, several ½ marathons, some century rides and numerous triathlons – I had slipped into bad fitness habits (I prefer to think of it as forming excellent couch-potato habits) over the last several years. Since I’ve been complaining about my poor cardio habits to my wife, Vistage colleagues and anyone else within earshot for the last 12 months, I thought maybe – just maybe – the heart rate evidence supplied by this app might spur me into taking action.
While watching the Braves play the Cardinals on TV last Friday (I refuse to sabotage this blog by ranting about that 3-error, terrible call, stupid Bud Selig format Wild Card loss) I found and installed Shawn’s app: Senscore’s Health Fitness (the link shows a 90 second YouTube video). The good news is that it’s free (I paid $0.99 to get the “Curve”, history chart, option), easy to use, and accurate. I had to fiddle around to make sure my index finger covered both camera and flash but was able to find the “sweet spot” pretty quickly. The bad news is that my resting heart rate was 83 bpm! That d@*# Braves game probably had something to do with getting this poor result but I checked my pulse manually to see if the app was accurate: sadly, yes.
There’s more good news: the poor results spurred me into action and I took a brisk 40-minute walk Saturday morning. When I checked my rate later – during the heart-friendly Penn State football game (a 39-28 victory over that perennial football power, Northwestern… yes, your sarcasm detector is accurate) – it was a little better: 80 bpm. Here’s a look at the app’s “Training” screen and the “Curve” (history) screen.
Clearly I’ve got some cardio work to do. However, with some help from a friend (thank you Shawn) and motivation from the cold hard bpm facts supplied by this app (thank you Senscore) I’m confident I can replace my couch-potato habit with a consistent fitness habit. My heart rate goal? 60 bpm. My motivation? Being prepared to survive future Braves’ playoff games….