What’s Planned for this Month

Here’s a look at some of the posts coming up on the blog this month!

  • The Environment will be looking at food packaging and ways to reduce the waste.
  • Food For Walkers will be giving some ideas for lunchboxes.
  • Best will be focusing on walking back packs
  • In Fun Things to do on Walks With Kids we will be looking at an “Alphabet Search”
  • How will be covering How to Read Maps.
  • We will be doing a Quarterly Review in this months blog posts.
  • The Health section will be looking at Heart Health and Walking

We will also be covering the usual Week in Review posts, Nature Table, Fun Facts Friday, Art, Poems and Stories and History!

Stay tuned to read all the posts!

Rest Days and Their Importance

Rest days are really important for your body, they help your body recover, heal and recuperate as well as letting the salts and minerals that your body has used return to normal levels.

When you exercise you cause micro tears in your muscles which need time to repair themselves, not resting can cause your muscles to not repair properly and can cause health implications down the line.

I try to have at least one rest day a week when I am hitting a step target of 9000 + steps a day as I have found that the following week, if I don’t have a rest day hitting my target can be a lot harder and maintaining my targets through the week is nearly impossible. My motivation wains and dips, as do my energy levels which leaves me feeling a bit like a low battery that still has a bit of power but not nearly enough to keep everything running at optimum speeds.

One of the best ways I have found to rest and recuperate is to have a hot bath after exercise, keep hydrated with either water or a sports drink that has vital salts and electrolytes in it and take it easy for a few days. Listen to your body, of you have any aches and pains then rest for a bit longer before starting on your path again.

How Much Is Too Much?

This is something I get asked over and over, “if the recommended step allowance daily is 10000 steps, then how much is too much?” or “how many steps is too many?”, and while we know that inactivity and little movement is a bad thing for our bodies there is not much written about how much is too much.  The daily recommended steps is set at 10000 steps per day, which can be achieved if you are aware of how much you move through the day and while there is set minimum it has been said that a sedentary person (like me, who’s job is to be sat at a desk in an office all day) will make between 1000 and 3000 steps in a day, some people, like my partner (who is a roofer) will easily hit 50000 steps or more a day.  I think the question should be rephrased as “How many steps is too much for me?” or maybe even looking at the question from the other side of the coin – “How many steps is too little?”.  Both of these questions have similar answers.

How many steps is too much? I think the answer lies within you and can be answered fairly easily by listening to your body and what it is telling you.  I know that I probably will not hit 50000 steps in a day without a huge struggle and effort, I know that my knees and legs will ache before I have even got half way to that amount.  I also know that I will be getting tired and thirsty, even when having a break. I know that it will take me more and more effort and determination to get up and carry on.  And I know that my recovery time, the days after hitting that many steps, will be long, and I will ache for a considerable time afterwards.  And having a prolonged recovery time will leave me inactive during that time frame, so would it really be worth it?

Similar can be said in answer to “How many steps is too little?”  Again, listening to your body will give you the answer you are seeking.  If you find that you have a lot of energy left at the end of the day and you feel like you have been sat down for too long then maybe you need to increase your activity levels and your steps.  There are lots of causes for irritability, anxiousness and not being able to sleep but sometimes, not having taken enough steps can be the cause.  If you think that you have taken too few steps in your day then try to add in activities that mean you take more steps, it doesn’t even have to be massive changes, things like parking your car further away from work or the shops, walking to different toilets on your break or going for a walk at lunch can increase your steps.

The big thing to remember with minimum and maximum steps is that we are all different, different in terms of activity levels during a normal day, fitness levels, even how we spend our time and all of this can have an impact on our steps.  It is now that I would recommend looking at your inactive day statistics, for me its usually a Sunday, my average steps falls around 2300, but on my active days then I can hit around 14000 steps.  Once you have found your minimum and maximum steps then you can work out an average that you can aim for day to day (to do this – minimum steps + maximum steps / 2), for me this would be 2300 + 14000 = 16300 / 2 = 8150, and as long as I hit around that figure regularly then I wouldn’t worry about minimum or maximum steps or concentrate too hard on what another person hits step wise.  We are all different so we need to embrace that!

New Year, New Start!

Welcome back to my blog!  I have been in a process of planning my posts for the year since I left you in 2016.  I said before that I had never planned to write this blog for more than the month of September 2016 when I took on the Cancer Research 10,000 Step A Day Challenge – Walk All Over Cancer, but I really enjoyed the challenge and writing about it day to day, sharing my daily steps and places I had been along with photos that I had taken.  I struggled by the middle of October to write much as I didn’t have a structure in place and was writing from day to day but this year I now have a structure in place and a topic to write about nearly every day so I shouldn’t struggle too much, I am also attempting to pre-write as many blog posts as I can and then add in other details and photos before publishing for you all to read!  I will be introducing themed posts which will re-occur through the year and will be introducing these as I post them for the first time!  In all, I am pretty excited about how this New Year is going to shape up!

Now, aside from looking back in terms of the blog, I feel that I should look back at my steps and how I have done in the last quarter of 2016…I was ill for a while in October/November which put a dent into how active I was, which coupled with the dark nights and cold I really struggled to hit 10,000 steps each day, on average I was hitting around 6,000 steps which I found disappointing.  However, that said, I felt that I wasn’t well enough to push each day for 10,000 steps while I was ill, or risk my personal safety by walking around in the dark after work (the street lighting near where I live is a bit hit and miss at the best of times), I hadn’t thought about, or factored in the dark nights and how it would affect my steps at the time.  I did start going out for a half hour walk at lunch time though which was a really positive move – it got me away from my desk and out into the fresh air, woke me up and when I returned to my desk after lunch I felt revived and refreshed.  My lunchtime walk is something that I am keen to continue for much of this year if I can, the difference it makes to my mental state is really good.

I also want to explore more places; I’m already planning my summer holidays around walking plans!  But even in my local area, there are places I am keen to explore so long as the weather and daylight are reasonable!  It won’t be long now til the evenings start to get longer and I can venture further!  I’d also like to plan some weekend walks with my partner and take a picnic somewhere and enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors.  Part of my biggest challenge with activity and steps is on the weekend where all I seem to do is do housework, food shop and spend time in the house, this is something that needs to change so going for a walk with a picnic seems like a good plan!

I’m really looking forward to planning walks and activities, taking photos of where I have been and what I have seen and blogging about it all!

Don’t forget that I now have an instagram for sharing my steps per day too, and other sneak peeks of what I’m doing, you can find me over at @tenthousandsteps2016

Week 8 Overview

This past week I have been struggling with my health in general, after having the flu jab a week ago I have been run down with a cold that has seemed to get no better or worse but has zapped my energy levels and left me feeling really tired, achy and stuffed up which has had an impact on my walks and steps.  This past week (19 Oct – 25th Oct) I have taken 65422 steps (7500 of those was made up from 100 mins of housework) which is slightly more than the previous week.  I hit 10,000 steps 2 times but been under every day since.  I am not too worried about this though as I am giving my body a chance to recover and fight the germs I seem to have picked up along the way.  I don’t feel that it is beneficial to push yourself to achieve goals when you are ill as sometimes it can make you worse.  I have listened to my body and it has told me that resting up is the best course of action right now.

Anyway, on to yesterdays stats…how did I do?

img_8866

I did better than I expected although I did manage to get out for a walk twice in the day as I felt a bit better than the previous days!

Fall Fillers

There is something lovely about going for a walk in the autumn, when the leaves are starting to turn and there is a chill in the air, and returning home to a warming, filling, homemade meal.  Today I am going to share with you some of my favorite Fall Fillers that can be made in advance of your walk or be left to cook while you are out on your walk so they are ready upon your return.

The first one I am going to cover is a Jacket Potato, this, for me is the ultimate in fall foods.

They take a while to cook and you can mix and match fillings depending on what you have around the house, put them in the oven, head out and on your return they will be pretty much ready to eat. I tend to choose a medium sized potato, rinse it under the tap to dampen down, prick the skin with a fork a few times, I then take a handful of coarse sea salt and rub it over the potato before putting into the oven for around an hour and a half.   The skin pricks help the potato to cook and let out some of the steam that can build up when cooking, the salt acts to crisp up the skin and add a bit of flavor. I will have mine filled with either tuna and cheese or cheese and beans normally but have had it with chilli or vegetarian sausage ragout too.

Vegetable Stew is another favorite of mine.

You can make a batch of it and freeze portions to microwave up when you come in from walks or make it fresh to take with you or return home to after!  Again, with this recipe, you can use whatever vegetables you have lying around the kitchen.  Some of my favorite vegetables to use are potatoes, leek, mushroom, pepper, tomatoes, onion, carrot and parsnip.  I start off by preparing the veg, I don’t really bother with peeling any of them but cut everything into similar sized chunks of around an inch cubed, add to a pan and cover with water before bringing to the boil.  Don’t add too much water, just enough to cover the veg at this point!  I then crumble in 1 or 2 veg stock cubes, add some garlic and wait til the potatoes and carrots start to soften a bit.  I then add a tin of chopped tomatoes and often a tin of kidney beans or lentils go in too!  Keep on a rolling boil for a bit, add extra water, herbs, salt, pepper or other flavoring enhancers then leave to stand, serve or put in a flask and head out.  This is lovely with a bit of crusty bread!

img_4470

You can make a simple soup using the same recipe and method as above but cut the chunks a lot smaller, add an extra stock cube and more water and cook until the veg is soft.  You can either serve it as it is or blend it down until smooth.

And lastly,

img_8496

Lentil mince is my final fail safe fall filler which you can serve with pasta, rice, veg, jacket potatoes or enjoy on its own.  To make you will need both a frying pan and saucepan.  I use a whole bag of dried red lentils and place these in the saucepan with water to cover them, adding a veg stock cube at the same time, I bring these to the boil until soft.  While the lentils are boiling I cut and fry mushrooms, onion and pepper with a bit of garlic then add these in to the lentil pan.  I continue to boil the lentils and add a tin of chopped tomatoes and red kidney beans (drained and rinsed) into the pan and bring back to boiling.  Once the lentils are fully cooked you can then serve and enjoy!

I hope you like these fall filler ideas!  What foods do you enjoy after walking in autumn?

And finally, yesterdays stats… Did I reach my goal of 10,000 steps?

img_8497

I didn’t 😦 .  I did, however, spend a lovely evening with my best friend and her son, making cake and catching up, which I think was time well spent!

Useful Apps for Walkers

Phones these days offer us much more than just talk and text, over time they have been developed to receive emails and other internet services.  Then came the birth of “Apps”.  These can be really useful additions to your phone and can work alongside pre-existing software on your phone or work as standalone applications.  I can’t talk for many phone brands but I can talk about iPhone apps and software that I use on my phone.  This blog will give you information about apps that I find useful along with some websites that are with checking out before you have even left the house.

I’m sure in previous posts I have mentioned Map My Run.  I find this app really useful for tracking how far I have traveled/how far I want to travel and keep a track of how long I have been out of the house for.  The app saves your walk as a map on your screen and you can clearly see where you have walked.  The app also gives you space to record any notes that you may find useful.  There is a paid option for this app but I am still using the free version as I find that what it provides me with is sufficient.  There are lots of features which I find interesting on the free version, such as a breakdown of speed – so you can see where you were faster and slower along the way along with the climb that your journey took.  I really like this feature as it has shown me that the path I take is on an incline when I thought it was relatively flat.

The Health app which comes pre-loaded on iPhones is another nifty app.  This app measures your steps (so long as you are carrying your phone), walking distances, flights of steps climbed, and a whole host of other things.  If you have an iPhone and carry it everywhere with you then it may eliminate the possibility of needing a dedicated fitness band.  The only down side to this, for me, is that I don’t tend to carry my phone around with me in work or at home – it’s usually left on the side or on my desk or in my bag.

My Jawbone App.  I can’t speak for any other fitness bands and their apps but I really like the Jawbone app.  As mentioned in other blog posts I have a Jawbone Up2 which needs the corresponding app to work on your phone.  The app measures your steps moved, miles traveled, active minutes, sleep and other things like weight and calories (though these need to be input by the user).  I don’t tend to use the weight and calorie sections very often as I am more interested in the sleep function and the step counter.  I really like that you can join up with friends, add them on the app and create challenges with them.  There is also an alarm function which, when set, makes the band vibrate on your wrist.  I have an inactive alarm which buzzes every 15 minutes when I am inactive which reminds me to get up and move about.  You can set this for different duration or turn it off all together.  It also vibrates twice when you reach 10,000 steps which is handy as you don’t need to keep checking the app every few minutes when out and about.

 image

Weather App.  Any weather app that works for you and shows the weather in your area or the area that you will be walking in is really useful on your phone.  I have 2 on mine – BBC Weather App and Grumpy Cat Weather.  Both of them are really useful though I have found Grumpy Cat Weather to give a more local version of the weather where as the BBC version is more regional.  Either are good though.  These apps are useful as you can decide on what to wear and pack with you before heading out and whether the walk you have planned will be safe in the weather conditions that may happen – it helps keep you prepared.  If you think you may not have signal or internet access when out it is worth taking a screenshot of the hourly weather break down and saving it on your phone just to see if and when the weather is going to change.  This is handy if rain or high winds or storms are predicted.

There are a whole host of apps out there, some of them good, some not so good.  I have downloaded and tried lots of different ones in the past and most have been deleted off my phone for one reason or another – mostly because they were not quite what i was looking for or because they were fiddly to navigate.  Whatever you do, I would recommend researching an app before you download it, and when you decide to download it, go for the free version first and give that a go.  Some of the full versions of apps can be really expensive and if it’s not got what you are looking for or easy to use at the free version then the paid version will probably not be any better.

And now to share yesterdays stats…did I make 10,000 steps?

image

I did indeed!  🙂