My first Year with Fitbit

Last week  I received an email from Fitbit to tell me my stats for the past year.

My flexible friend was a Christmas Gift in 2013 and I knew I had walked over 1000 miles and worn out a pair of trainers but my stats were really quite surprising.

In 2014 I walked 1128 miles and 2552,528 steps.  Now when I was teaching I know I moved about 13,000 steps every school day and that would have been no surprise to me. Once I stopped that and life revolved around the home office and the garden I knew pretty soon I was in trouble. My stamina and endurance had gone and the pounds began to pile on. In late 2012 and all of 2013 I was trying to go for a walk every day and building extra walks into my daily life.

It’s true what they say about every little helping if you park the car at bottom of car park and get off the bus a stop early. I have even walked round the malls in Abu Dhabi to get my daily Fitbit fix (nice and cool in there). In fact the hotel manager was the first other person I saw wearing a Flex band!  I walked up and down the hill in my sister’s housing estate  in South Africa and along the pristine sand at Kersbosstrand.

Mostly though I just walk down the town and back via the beautiful seafront we are blessed with in Seaford or over the golf course into the South Downs National Park.  A trip to London or Brighton is a reason for a longer walk. Down to the station and back then London Park and city walks with a friend plus great conversation and coffee and lunch stops are my favourite easily clocking up over  6 miles in a day.

Tide Mills round walkstats

Tide Mills round walkstats

As a successful weight loss maintaining member of MyFitnessPal I was encouraged by  very active long term pal to join the monthly Move Your @ss Challenge  aka MYAC and over the year  have gradually increased my monthly goal (we only challenge ourselves so no major hassles there)

The Fitbit community itself was an eye opener. No sooner had I said hello in the over 60s section when I got loads of friend requests from people doing 20K plus steps a day. My 6k or 7k would leave me at the bottom of their chart and feeling superior so it seemed given they sent taunts! …so I soon knocked that on the head.

It seems there is a similar though younger element on UK Fitbit Fanatics on Facebook where up to 50K steps a day are being paraded by non runners. Sorry good for you, but I don’t find that very encouraging!  Another good thing though is there seems to be plenty of young mums pushing their buggies for miles.

I did discover a sensible shopping voucher earning system through that called www.Bounts.it and I have already earned £5 for doing what I do already. If you want to join use my code brett1102 to get a bonus and I will get one too. It connects to Runkeeper, MapMyWalk, Strava, Garmin  etc too and can be used in some gyms and strikes me as  a cost effective way to incentivise  and get the obese more active without costing the NHS more than the price of a Flex band. I mentioned this to the consultant at this week’s hospital appointment and she thought it was a great idea.

The Accuracy of all these smart devices has been called into question lately and yes there is a slight discrepancy between Mapmywalk and Fitbit with the former measuring distance as slightly longer; but my point is does it matter if it gets idle people like me moving?

Walking for Fun and challenge

As I said before Back in August 2012 when first joined My Fitness Pal I could hardly walk a mile round the block without building up a sweat. After years of walking round a classroom all day I had lost it completely. I would limit my trips to the Village and always drive a mile to the Supermarket. I had a couple of online friends who were dog walkers and I could quickly see how they earned calories from their daily exercise with their pets. This changed my whole mindset- walking became a challenge though I could never match the distances one of my friends walks.
In the last few months she introduced me to The Leslie Sansone challenges and yes I have been upping my distance covered to 60 miles plus for 3 months now. This month however she told about about another one The Move Your @ss Challenge or MYAC on which you can walk, run, jog, cycle or do whatever you like long as you make those miles. There is a totally committed and wonderful guy called Dave who with his helpers reads your total every night and updates a spread sheet so you can see if you are on target.

I was determined that on Boxing day I would do a long walk for me (over 4 miles) and got my OH to drop me at Tidemills as dawn broke on his way to Coastwatch duty. Nature was kind to me. The storms and wind had gone and I was treated to a wonderful sunrise over Seaford Head as I walked back along the Vanguard Way and up over the cliff across the golf course.

The sound of gentle waves and Redshanks from the pools

The sound of gentle waves and Redshanks from the pools

I was a bit dubious about this challenge as I thought with all these long distance runners and cyclists I would soon fall over. To my amazement I have been on track nearly the whole month despite my knee injury and today I went out in the rain and hail to make sure I finished my 65 miles I pledged at the end of November. With a few more December days I might even log a personal best of 70 miles – need some waterproof boots though.
So from being difficult, walking has become a challenge and fun. Never thought I would hear myself say that. Thank you Jean.

Me with a Sports injury? You are having a laugh!

If anyone had told me a couple of weeks ago I would get a sports injury I would have said you are having a laugh. If anyone had told me I could get one from walking I would have laughed even louder. My dear departed dad simply would not have believed that I – the most unsporty person in the world could succumb to this.
After 15 months of walking alternate days and then nearly every day and raising my distance from a mile to 2-3 usually I am dismayed to find that this has proved too stressful for my knees. When I was teaching I used them for far more hours than I do now; walking round my classroom all day long with countless trips up and down those stairs. So why has this happened now I have to time to enjoy the countryside, clouds and seascape when I go out for an hour every afternoon?
To cut a long story short I felt my knee give way and start to hurt when I was walking by the river in Dusseldorf a couple of weeks ago and after trying to ignore it and rest it I finally went to see the doc. It turns out I have sprained a ligament and now have to take anti- inflammatory meds (NSAIDS) for a month plus wear a support when I walk at slow pace only. No more Leslie Sansone speedy walks for me then at the moment. Grump!
So off I go to Boots where I wait for 20 minutes for my prescription and then a nice woman takes me into the booth to measure me for the support. She saw the bruise on my other knee and got confused as that one is fine! I turned out to be size medium 13 plus inches all round. The support is not supplied on the NHS which is a bit off but luckily they were on offer. It is not exactly attractive either!

My very elegant (not) knee support

My very elegant (not) knee support

I now feel sorry for all the proper sports people who have to wear these things as they really pinch and are very uncomfortable and that’s even before you try and walk in them. SO….have just been for my first walk with a very bad grace , trying to avoid hills and inclines which left me strolling round bungalow land in the afternoon gloom. Not my usual uplifting walk by the sea. I suppose I will get used to it- it’s a case of having to as I am only half way through this months walking challenge (65 miles if anyone wants to know) which is the longest one I have ever tried.
I am not giving up though. I am still planning a long walk on Boxing Day back home from Tide Mills.