First, can I just say how difficult it is to get temperature information for a given location in a format that is easy to manipulate?
For awhile now my mom has been asking me to look into her data, to see the effect that temperature has on her activity level. I agreed that it would be something interesting to investigate, expecting to see some sort of relationship between the two. You all know how much I enjoy pulling data from my database (we have 7287 workouts logged in total now!).
There are some caveats that worried me a little bit about looking for a relationship between workouts and temperature. First, the points earned per month has been on an uptick since January 2013. In general many people are blowing past the 100 AFP benchmark. I wasn’t sure how clear of a trend we would see knowing that fact. Second, I remembered last year was much more mild of a winter, and this summer didn’t seem to be quite as brutal as last. When looking at just two variables in a complex system, like fitness and exercise, sometimes the missing piece of information is the most crucial (like vacations, getting sick, etc). These things being taken into account . . . the results shocked me.
The most incredible thing about this data is that if ignoring the February time point (I have reason to believe the 2012 score was artificially inflated for a couple of reasons), the correlation between the 2012 AFP points earned and the 2013 AFP points earned is a .907. For all you nerds out there, I rarely see that type of correlation even in highly sensitive genomic data when comparing two biological replicates, or even technical replicates for that matter.
Looking at the graph, two things are evident to me. There was a significant down tick once the weather warmed up, and this was consistent in both years. It seemed to hit right around mid-june, once the weather hit about 70 to 75 degrees. This was what my mom has repeadedly said each week since June as to why her points were lower. Second, my mom has been killing it in terms of points-earned this year as compared to last. Her values are nearly double of the previous year. I didn’t realize just how much work she has been putting in. It is pretty amazing to see.
One thing she wanted me to look at was weight-loss as compared to temperature as well, which I did look into but didn’t graph. I didn’t have enough time points in 2012 to make a good comparison, but I can confirm that her loss stopped mid june, essentially directly correlated to the decrease in exercise.
What blew me away was the direct relationship between AFP earned over the two years. As many of you know, several of my family members including my Dad just wrapped up training and competing in a Triathlon. As my Dad increased his workload significantly, I thought that it would have influenced the shape of the curve. To see that the shape remained consistent makes me wonder about how difficult it really is to overcome certain seasonal factors, like holidays, temperature, vacations etc. When is it best to start a workout routine? Clearly not in the mid summer!
Overall, I am extremely happy with how much extra activity this year has brought. My mom, as well as many other 2FNSers have been putting in a ton of work, and I think it really has shown with some of the accomplishments and strides people have been making. Keep it up!