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 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?


A very different beach scape South Africa West Coast

I love the cliffs in Sussex and my new life by the English Channel but I also love this place and want to share it with you:

I am lucky in that my next birthday will be spent here!

Sanderling Beach House- a view to chill for

After a week sweltering in the Winelands we wanted to get some R and R somewhere cooler so we could just chill and relax. I do not usually choose self catering cottages having had some bad UK experiences but this was something quite different for half the price and had been recommended by some South African friends. Situated on the west Coast looking at the Atlantic Ocean a new spacious whitewashed cottage with 3  large bedrooms all with ensuites or a bathroom next door ; toilet paper and hand soap dispenser provided (take note UK rentals), lovely white bedding, lots of pillows, towels provided (though we needed our own for the beach of course) large windows making them airy (though there are central fans if you need them). I also smiled to see hot water bottles in the bedside drawers clearly it is not always summer in South Africa as I know from experience at other times of the year.

The kitchen is fantastic, marble worktops with everything you can think of provided:  plenty of serving and baking dishes,  large oven ,a dishwasher, washing machine and coffee maker too. A big fridge/freezer soon got filled with lots of goodies from the Spar in Leiplaak down the road (for Spar think large supermarket not those convenience stores we have in the UK) The quality of the meat and fish we were able to buy was amazing and there was a large range of seasonal fruit and vegetables available. They also sell the briquettes you need for the ubiquitous ‘braii’.

Sanderling has large one of these on the large covered verandah (stoep) at the  rear and there we sat eating the spoils of our Spar trip and wine from the previous week’s explorations whilst enjoying an uninterrupted view of the sea , spotting seals and dolphins and various small birds in the fynbos and bird table where we left our crusts. Much later when the sun had gone down and the Starscape appeared (The Milky Way is mesmerising) we moved indoors to the  imposing full height living area and relaxed on the sofas to watch a film. The owners have thoughtfully left a large collection on DVD and a book selection as well as board games.  There is an open fire for the winter (and another upstairs in the master bedroom)  but when we were there a rock kestrel was raising her family in the chimney pot! In the mornings I drank my coffee  on the front verandah and watched the world go by (not that there was much to see except the birds and the fynbos amongst the small number of cottages)and  wondered what it is like in Spring when the flowers come out in carpets.

During our stay we walked miles on the sands, where as a child I would have loved to build sandcastles,  the sanderlings scuttling in and out of the water just ahead of us. We paddled and collected shells and  though  we saw others  body boarding in the breakers we had the place virtually to ourselves most of the time.  The water here is said to be 3 degrees warmer than at Langebaan.   One morning some locals took a fishing boat out-big event! For keen birders the Rocher Pan reserve is about 5km away and home to many  more species. We ate out on the Berg River in Velddrif a few times- some quirky places to say the least (and not the trendy crowd like Paternoster thank goodness) but we watched Pied Kingfishers dive bombing for food and the pelicans hang out there too.  At some times of the year a flock of flamingos comes to the salt pan- and their pinkness never ceases to surprise me.There are a couple of salt producers there and we visited and bought savoury salt from  Khoisan Trading .I also packed a large bag of their lavender bath salts in my case- it burst as I forgot to put it in a plastic bag- enough said except lovely smelling clothes . Other people hired boats to go on the river but I am just too lazy for that! My other souvenir was a jar of jam from the   ‘Mini Mark’ in the Village, home made by the owner Betty who seems to stock everything you might have forgotten.

I understand that the Cottage is pretty well booked out for the next few weeks but you can look on Facebook for their page to see more amazing photos such as the sunsets  and local wildlife or for their web page on WordPress

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