Monday, July 20, 2015

Switching Blogs

I have decided to change my blog over to WordPress. One, I just really like the look and feel of the WordPress blog. Second, I wanted to refresh and shift my focus a little bit, so I figured it would be best to just start from scratch.

I will still leave the content up over here for the time being, but all new posts will appear at

Please join me at my new site and let's continue the chronic-illness journey together!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Walking with Fitbit HR and the MapMyWalk App

I found a post that I started last June about fitness options for POTSies. The post was about 75% complete when I am assuming I forgot I had started writing it. I think I am going to finish it and post it because it has some good info, but right now, I am going to talk about what I am currently doing (read: the workout my doctor forced me to start this week).

At this point in my POTS "tenure," I am able to stand and walk in small spurts. The things that keep me from working out more than anything are my dizziness, heat intolerance and fatigue ... oh, how very tired I am. My doctor told me she wanted me to start walking every day at least 10 minutes and then build up from there when I am ready. Luckily, with the spring-like weather, I have been able to walk down the street and back with my mom or my brother this week.

I like to track my workouts so that I can see my progress. We did this in cardiac rehab, and it has stuck with me. There are two tools that are really making the tracking so easy for me: my Fitbit HR and MapMyWalk.*

Fitbit HR

I love my Fitbit HR and have found it to be very accurate. I have a Polar FT4, which I still highly recommend, but I was getting a little sick of putting on the chest strap every time I needed to monitor my HR. I've been wanting a Fitbit for a while — especially for the sleep tracking — so once I saw the HR version had come out, I was game.

The Fitbit has a way to track exercise, but for what I am wanting to track and monitor, I use an app to track my workouts.

This is what the HR chart looks like on the Fitbit dashboard. It gives you your HR average, and let's you slide along the chart to see what the specific HRs were throughout the workout. This was a pretty good walk for me HR-wise!


This is where MapMyWalk comes in. I use the app on my smartphone and just carry my phone with me when I walk, which I recommend you do anyhow if you are walking alone. I hit "start workout" on the app, and it uses GPS to track my route, distance, speed, etc. You can also set it to give you updates on how long and how far you have been walking, which I love! Back in my pre-POTS days I would run with an app that did something similar. I just prefer knowing the app will tell me what's going on so I'm not watching the clock.

Once I get home, I transfer my workout data to my Fitbit dashboard, which then incorporates my HR data for the time frame that I was working out. The one downside to the manual exercise tracking through the Fitbit interface is that is doesn't let me edit seconds. If I worked out for 11 minutes and 20 seconds, I can only choose 11 minutes or 12 minutes. I'm sure for most fitness gurus seconds doesn't matter, but we know that for us the seconds can matter.

So to work around this, and to help me see the data the way I want to without having to consult both apps later, I've been putting the data plus the HR chart together in an Excel doc. This will also give me a place to easily print from to provide info to my doctors.

Do you track your exercise? What tools or apps do you find most helpful?

* I have not been paid for my review or recommendation of these products. This is just based on my personal experience and opinion.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

We've already established that I'm the worst blogger of all time, yes? If nothing else, I am SO good at ignoring my blog. (Apparently though, I have nine drafts started, so I must have considered posting at some point.)

So let's see, what have you missed? I still have POTS (duh, right?); it's been three years now. My symptoms haven't changed at all in the past year and a half or so, which I guess is kind of a good thing. I would love some of my symptoms to go away, but I certainly don't need to add any new ones, so that's silver lining for sure.
"Back in the Saddle Again."
Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe via Compfight cc

I wasn't really in the mood to see doctors last year, so I didn't. Sometimes you just need a break. However, I only have my super-awesome insurance for a few more months, so I am back on the doctor train to make good use of it while I have it. I saw a new neuro in March for my constant dizziness. He is sending me to physical/vestibular therapy. He really believes my neck and vestibular dysfunction and probably some silent migraines are the sources of my dizziness. I start therapy next week, and I'm anxious to see how it goes. One of my other new docs said that she has patients who have really had good results from vestibular therapy, so I would be more than happy to add myself to that number.

I will keep this short for now. Just wanted to put an update out there. Since I am trying some new things for treatment, perhaps that will motivate me to keep writing. I suppose only time will tell. :)