Saint Louis University

BLOG: Intern on The Run

Author: Emily Brunson
Published: Thursday, September 24, 2013

Since moving to St. Louis I have been taking full advantage of all the greenspace the city has to offer to get my dose of exercise. I've spent Saturday mornings at Tower Grove, exploring the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market and participating in free community yoga. I've also had the opportunity to tour the Missouri Botanical Garden with the other interns during Orientation Week. However, Forest Park has been my outdoor place of choice. It has a variety of sites and a plethora of active individuals like myself to keep me motivated when I exercise. But because I like to adventure and see new sights on runs I was met with a dilemma. How was I going to be able to discover new running trails without getting terribly lost? Lucky for me I was recommended by a fellow intern to check out a free App that tracks where I've been and helps me discover new areas! It’s called Nike+.

Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Interns Tara, Haley, Emily, and Taylor at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Photo credit: Taylor Martin
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Interns at community yoga in Tower Grove
Photo credit: Taylor Martin

Dietetic Internship: Weekend 5
Keeping a hectic schedule and my nose in the books, I was in dire need of some fresh air. I looked to my trusted iPhone to give me the latest update on the weather and to my delight I found it was a cool 75°F. Awesome, a perfect temperature for a nice 3-mile jog. With my iPhone secure in my armband and ear buds in ears, I headed out on a run in my new big-city neighborhood.

Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
The World's Fair Pavilion
Photo credit: Shelby Jones
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
View looking up at the Saint Louis Art Museum
Photo credit: Shelby Jones

After downloading the Nike+ App and entering a few anthropometrics and selecting the orientation of my phone (handheld or armband) I was ready to begin. With Forest Park a few blocks from my new home it made for easy access to some beautiful sights and to test out this new App. As I begun my run I was greeted with a 3-2-1 countdown to begin my workout. To my surprise I was able to not only access my iTunes library but I could select “PowerSongs” to keep me pumped. This in my opinion is an excellent feature that I look forward to adding more songs to.

I continued on my run, all the while being informed with periodic time, distance, and pace reminders. I could also view a GPS rendered map of where I had been and paths I could take next. After running through Forest Park and back up to my third floor condo to finish my 3.41-mile run I could rate how I felt about my run, the type of trial I ran on, and the shoes I had worn. The end of the workout also gave me my time, pace per mile, and calories burn. If that wasn’t enough, remember that GPS map that was keeping tabs on me? Not only does Nike+ show my completed path but also the intensity of my pace. In the dark green I was running at my fastest pace, slower at orange, and red where I had to stop to cross streets.

Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run

What amazed me most about this App was its ease of operation. With this in mind I realized Nike+ is an App I could recommend to future patients and clients who are interested in becoming more active. With technology being incorporated into our daily lives, using technology to get patients outside and active seems like the perfect recommendation.

Nike+ uses a motivating factor that tracks the distances one’s gone, making it simple to set personal goals by comparing times, paces, and distances of each activity. Users can even become linked with friends through Facebook on the App where they can view their friends’ number of runs, total miles, farthest runs, longest run, and so forth. This feature adds a fun and interactive aspect to exercise that can be used as an accountability tool. In this way Nike+ could help motivate patients to get the CDC recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as jogging or running each week [1].

On the same topic of promoting Apps to get patients excited about lifestyle change I thought of another App I often use call MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is a free food diary that is assessable through smartphones and computers. It’s as simple as opening the App, pointing the camera at a barcode on the food label, or searching for the food item, and selecting the portion eaten. Patients can even create recipes, which generates nutrition information. The App then configures the nutrition information for your actual food intake and compares it to what is recommended for your specific weight loss goals. And if you question the validity of the recommended weight loss, the App follows the CDC recommendation of 1-2lb weight loss to keep users successful at losing weight and keeping it off (2). Cardiovascular and strength training exercises can also be entered into the App. Let’s say you can’t find the exact physical activity you’re looking for? You could enter your own estimations or even input the Nike+ calorie expended information into MyFitnessPal. Like Nike+ it also is linked with Facebook where users can foster healthier eating habits through the encouragement of their friends.

table align="center" border="0" cellspacing="10"> Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run
Saint Louis University dietetic interns on the run

Pairing MyFitnessPal with an App like Nike+ would be a great way explore our city and promote a healthy lifestyle at the same time! So what are you waiting for? Get tracking! Try them out and learn how you too can uncover your favorite greenspace in St. Louis and better improve your eating habits.

Check out these Apps too!

  • Lose It!
  • CalorieKing
  • Fooducate
  • Restaurant Nutrition
  • MapMyRun
  • RunKeeper
  • Get Running

References:

  1. cdc.gov/physicalactivity Physical Activity For Everyone
    cdc.gov/healthyweight Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!
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