In Brief

This is another new edition to the blog and each month, here, I will be reporting on news stories people who are walking to raise money for charity or fundraising event or anything else that may be of interest.

Today’s post is about Cancer Research.

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In March Cancer Research is running Walk All Over Cancer step challenge (the link for the challenge page is here).  This is the same challenge that I took part in during September 2016.  The challenge is simple, all you need to do is take 10,000 steps each day, a grand total of 31000 steps for the whole month, and get sponsored for it!  If you don’t reach target on any given day you can aim to incorporate the loss into the next day’s steps, or if you have “over stepped” in the days before, you can use the excess steps to make up your target.

There are lots of ways to get to 10000 steps each day, last year I made most of them up after work while walking Roxy for a few miles each night.  An easier way to get to 10000 steps would be to break down your target into smaller goals, for example 2500 steps by 11am, 5000 by 2pm, 7500 by 4pm then all the rest can be made up before bed time!

I am still thinking about whether to sign up this time, or whether to sign up singly or try and get a walking group together to do this challenge.

Will you be taking part?

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Walking Routes

I did start this series back last year but it was a bit hit and miss with the frequency I posted and the routes I shared.  This year (as I may have mentioned in previous posts), I have had a bit of a shuffle around and created a timetable of posting certain items to this blog.  When I was doing the Cancer Research Walk All Over Cancer (10000 Steps A Day in September) I attempted to post a new walking route each week if I could, this was pretty difficult to do as there are only so many places that can be walked in that short a time-frame.  I am now going to be posting around once a month (around the 3rd Monday of the month to be more precise!), this schedule will give me time to research a new route, walk it a few times in (hopefully!) different weather conditions, take some photos, research any interesting facts or history about the walk and then talk about it here!

So, the first walking route that I will be planning and photographing will be up for you to read on 13th Feb 2017!  I am hoping to go down to the local park and take you on one of my favorite walking routes that I used to go on when I was in school and college!  And, I’m hoping to be able to capture some lovely images for you to see too…we are forecast snow toward the end of the week, the park looks amazing in the snow!  So keep your fingers crossed and check back then!!!

You can also follow me on Instagram now!  Just search @tenthousandsteps2016 to see my daily stats and sneak peeks of things that will be coming up on the blog!

Look Back to 2016

December’s stats were probably some of the worst that I have recorded since I started monitoring my steps per day.  I took a total of 186688 steps, this works out at an average of 6022 steps per day.  I hit 10,000 steps or over on 2 days this month, one of the days I totaled 14429 steps and the other 11877.  A lot of factors contributed to not achieving 10000 steps a day, or at least averaging that, the weather was one –  it was cold and wet, raining the majority of lunch times which meant I skipped a lot of my lunch time walks, then it was dark when I got home from work which impacted on Roxy and my evening stroll and our regular walking routes (the street and path lighting isn’t that good on our regular routes), couple all of that with not fully shaking off the cold I had in November and it’s not surprising that my stats slipped so low.  Christmas and time off from work also played a part in my average steps, over the Christmas break I was off work, we had family coming round and staying, or we were visiting family, and not really being as active as normal as sitting and spending time with family is more important.

I have enjoyed the past few months of being more aware of my steps and activity levels but I have also learned that it is ok to let them slip a bit for more important things (like spending time with friends and family) and I don’t think that in the darker months of the year that you should risk your health and safety to hit your target steps.  However I am keen to get back into walking at lunch times now I am back in work just to get the numbers back up a bit, after all, any activity is better than none (and I have a couple of pounds to loose from the Christmas festivities!).

It can be hard to get back to a walking routine, there are so many excuses your mind can make to your body about not going out, staying in, and if you let it, your body will listen and co-operate with your mind.  One of the ways I am going to get back into a walking plan is to factor in set periods of time to get out and about, half an hour at lunch is a great way to start, this first week back has been hectic (and Im sure most people will find it the same!) so I have set a date to start my lunch-time walks and I will be sticking to it.  I find once you have set a date, it is easier to overcome the minds excuses!  Once I get into a routine again, I will then start setting myself goals in terms of distance, such as  – how far can I walk in half an hour, monitor it and try to better it the following day.  Hopefully I can ease myself back into 10000 steps a day and will be back hitting target soon!

I am proud to have taken part in Cancer Research’s Walk All Over Cancer back in September and achieving an average of over 10000 steps a day.  Before this challenge I was unsure whether I would be able to do it and questioned myself about taking part, but I set myself a personal goal and I achieved what I set out to do.  I am hoping to take part in this again in the future and will be looking for people to join me on the way if and when I do!  I have also realized 10000 steps can be a lot easier to achieve if it is broken down into chunks during the day rather than attempting the majority in one go.  I am hoping to hit 10000 steps more often this year!

I haven’t made any resolutions this year but have set myself a goal of taking more steps this year than last year and I am aiming for at least 10000 steps a day for 80% of the year!  What walking goals or resolutions have you set yourself?

I am no longer going to be sharing my daily stats to this blog, I have set up an Instagram specifically for my daily stats (you can follow me @tenthousandsteps2016 ) but I will be posting how I have done weekly and share my highs and lows with you each Sunday!  If you would like to see how I have done this first week then come back to read my Week in Review on 8th January!

The Environment – Micro Beads

This series will look at the environment we live in and how we can look after it and protect it for years to come.  This series came about from spending so much time outdoors and seeing the effects that man has had on where we live, what impact we have had on nature and starting my own quest on helping lessen the impact we have.  This series will cover things like pollution in the air, water and terrain, rubbish, recycling, erosion, acid rain and a whole host of other environmental concerns.

Today’s post looks at our water pollution, specifically plastics in our seas and oceans, rivers and lakes.  Plastics get into our water in many ways, from being dumped at sea to being left behind on beaches by tourists.  Whatever the way the plastics are getting there doesn’t matter, they are there and they are causing hazards and environmental damage to our Eco-systems.  What we should be doing is becoming more aware of products we use and by becoming aware, changing our habits to slow the plastics entering the water in the first place.

One of the ways that the plastics are getting into our waters is through the beauty industry adding polyethylene to face and body washes, this is a manufactured micro-plastic and these are teeny, tiny bits of plastic added to all manner of body care products to give a “scrub” effect.  I have found micro beads in hand washes, body washes, face scrubs and all manner of foot care products, products manufactured to remove hard/dead skin or marketed as complexion brighteners.  I have heard that micro-beads can be contained in toothpaste too which is worrying.  These plastics are suspended in the product and once used, get washed down the drain and float off into oceans and rivers.  They are so small that normal removal of plastics from the water is useless, the size of these particles is so small, and they just slip through.  Once in the rivers and oceans, they get consumed by unsuspecting fish that then end up in our food cycle.  This means that we then consume the plastics ourselves and it ends up inside us.

There are 2 main problems with this micro-beads usage, 1) once it gets back into the food chain and we consume it, it can stay in our systems, our natural acids can break it down and the chemicals released can cause a whole myriad of health problems, or these beads can adhere to our insides and cause cancer to form.  2) The micro-beads are left in the oceans and waterways are causing pollution and affecting sea life (both in the water and out – fish, birds, water mammals like seals and otters), it gets into their systems and can cause them to die.

That is not the end of it though, there are things we can do to change the micro beads usage and manufacture.  The biggest change we can make is to switch to scrubs that contain more natural ingredients like pumice, salt, sugar or ground nut shells.  When you want to purchase these scrubs, check the back of the pot or tube or packet and check the ingredients – look for words that end in ethane (polyethylene, polypropylene are good examples of micro beads used) and choose not to buy them.  Look for other brands that use natural scrub ingredients and use those instead, or step away from scrubs and make your own instead (there are lots of recipes on line, use search terms as “DIY natural face scrub” or “Make your own natural scrub for body/face”).  If we don’t buy into the companies that make these products then they cant make money from these products and will have to change, until then we are just going to be washing plastics down our drains, into the sewers and out into the wide world.  If we can stop this practice, one person at a time, then we will be stopping an untold amount of damage being caused further down the line.

Further reading – http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/06/511843443/are-we-eating-our-fleece-jackets-microfibers-are-migrating-into-field-and-food (added to this post on 7th February 2017)