Week 8 -9/2/17 – 25/2/17

Last week I said that I would like to push my average steps to around 9500 steps, I didn’t manage that but nearly maintained the steps I took hitting a grand total of 55133.  I’m not too unhappy about that figure as maintaining is better than being lots under.  Saturday and Sunday are still my most inactive days and I really do need to work at this to get these days to at least 5000 steps, doing this will see a huge improvement on my overall stats.  My best day was Tuesday where I hit 11064 steps though I don’t really know how I managed that as I can’t remember doing anything different to any other day!

This week I am going to try and maintain my steps to anything between 55000 and 60000.  Anything more will be a bonus!  And I will try and get out at lunch time for a walk too!

How did you do this week?  What are your goals for this week?

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Week 7 – 12/2/17 – 18/2/17

Last week I said that I hoped to improve on that weeks total step stats and this week I can now reveal that I really did improve!  I hit a total 59860 steps, that’s an average of 8551 steps per day!  I hit 10000 steps (or over) on 2 days, over 9000 on 3 and I’m not far off reaching 10000 steps per day overall!  I am still struggling with Saturday and Sunday, though this is something I have been aware of since I started this blog, for me Saturday and Sunday are days of rest and catching up on things I haven’t done in the week, spending time with my partner who works away mon-fri and generally chilling.  In order to hit my goal of 10000 steps a day average I am going to need to absorb 20000steps into my normal week (mon-fri) so that anything else I move on the weekend becomes a bonus!  This means that I realistically need to be hitting 14000 steps on 5 days a week.   I think this may be what I am going to start aiming for instead of 10000 steps a day just to fit my lifestyle a bit better and stop me feeling so bad for having lazy weekends (not that there is anything wrong with a lazy weekend!)  Once the weather starts to improve and it is both lighter an warmer I may adjust this as I seem to be more active in the warmer months.

I dont think I will be making it my goal to hit 14000 steps 5 days out of 7 just yet…its a bit of a leap from an average of 8551 steps per day, so this week my goal is to push my average to around 9500 steps a day.

What are your goals this week?  How have you improved?  What do you want to change?

Week 6 – 5/2/17 – 11/2/17

Last week I challenged myself to beat the previous weeks stat total which I have actually managed!  This weeks stats are 47405 total steps, nearly a whole days worth of steps more than last week!  Monday and Friday were my best days when my steps nearly hit 10000!  I have been trying to find ways of sneaking in extra steps which has really helped – using the toilet in work on the 3rd floor instead of the ones on the same floor as my office, parking further down the car park so I have to walk a bit further to and from my office, doing the tea run in work, pacing when on the phone and when waiting for things to cook…basically seizing any opportunity to move around!

This week I am aiming to better this score again, I averaged around 6772 steps per day last week, aiming for 7000 steps per day this week.  And now the evenings are getting lighter there is more opportunity to get out for a bit longer with Roxy so that should help me hit my target!

What was your total last week?  What are your aims this week?

Week In Review – Week 5 -29/1/17 -4/2/17

My weekly stats are still improving, this week I have taken a total of 42178 steps, an average of 6025 a day which is really not that far off my goal of 10000 steps per day!  I didn’t quite hit the target I was hoping for of 7000 steps a day but getting close isn’t so bad and I am really pleased that I have improved on last weeks step total and am hoping to continue moving my stats in the right direction.  Yesterday (Saturday) was my best day for steps and I achieved a total of 11031 without really trying or thinking about it too much, this was probably down to good weather and going out for a walk from my house to the local sorting office to pick up a parcel with Roxy, and then later my partner and I went to a local town for a walk around and some food out.

This week I am aiming to reach or better 7000 steps a day and by this time next week I hope to be reporting that I have bettered my weekly stats again!

What are your goals for the week?  Did you improve on last weeks stats?

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!

Week In Review – Week 3 – 15/1/17 – 21/1/17

Last week I said that I didn’t mind how many steps I did in the week so long as I beat last weeks 33249 steps.  This week I have taken a grand total of 38445 steps so I did manage to do something good!  I’m still no where near where I would like to be step count wise but its a start!  Ive averaged 5492 steps per day which is over half my daily step allowance (I’m aiming for 10,000 steps per day!) I’m still struggling with lack of energy and feeling tired but I have an appointment with the dr on friday so will hopefully get my thyroid problems sorted which will have a knock on effect on energy and tiredness!

This week, again, I am hoping to beat this weeks steps and, keeping to a realistic goal, I’m going to aim for 40,000, hopefully this will be not too difficult to achieve!

What is your goal for the week?

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 Blog Has Landed on Instagram!!!

It’s true!!!  Just search @tenthousandsteps2016 on the Instagram app and you will find us!  The plan for Instagram is to share my stats each day, things I find on my walks and photos that will be coming up on the blog!  It is my way of sharing with you and connecting in a different way that will support the blog and it’s content!

So, head over to Instagram and add the blog!  @tenthousandsteps2016 🙂

Now for yesterdays stats…how did I do?

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Still not back to full health but my steps seem to be heading upwards!  🙂

Logging Exercise and Effort Level on Activity Trackers

My Jawbone activity tracker app has a nifty feature which can sense when I have been on a walk or other activity where I have taken a lot of steps and will prompt me to enter my activity type and effort level, this will also come up when you manually enter an activity along with start time and duration.  As I haven’t used any other tracker I am unsure whether they have this feature as well or not.

Why are these things important and what do they mean?

The activity type is pretty self explanatory as the tracker gives you options for activity types you may have done (walking, cross train, bike etc) logging the type will give the tracker app information on the kind of work out you have partaken in and the basic level calories you will have burned (approximately).

Start time and duration are either logged for you, if your activity tracker picks this information up automatically, otherwise, note the time you started the activity and what the duration was.

The last thing to log is Effort Level.  My app for Jawbone gives me a few different options – Easy, Moderate, In the Zone, Difficult and Gut Buster.  But how do you decide which one to use?  I use a checking system based on breath, heart rate, body temp and sweat levels (sounds gross but trust me on this…)  Here’s how I calculate Effort –

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Easy – Breathing is normal, heart rate is normal, body temperature has remained the same (don’t feel any hotter temperature wise), not broken out into a sweat.

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Moderate – Breathing is a bit quicker but you are able to hold a full conversation with no trouble, heart rate is a tiny bit quicker but not that noticeable, body temperature has risen slightly and skin feels slightly damp (noticeable under arms, and lower back)

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In the Zone – Breathing is quicker, you can talk but are out of breath quickly, heart rate is faster and noticeable, body temperature has risen a lot and you feel hot, you are feeling hot in the face, and you feel sweaty (most noticeable on back, underarms and face)

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Difficult – Breathing is even quicker, it is hard to talk more than a few words at a time, heart rate is noticeably quick, you can feel it pumping and even hear it, you are hot all over (and may have removed a layer of clothing in order to cool down), you are sweating a lot and you feel damp all over.

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Gut Buster – Breathing is hard to the extent where you cant even speak, heart rate is pounding, you feel really hot and the sweat is pouring off you.  (I have never got to this stage!)

The other way you could measure this when walking is by incline and terrain type

Easy –  where the terrain is flat and smooth, there are no inclines or declines that are noticible.

Moderate – the terrain is slightly rocky or pot holed, there are few inclines that gently rise and fall.

In the Zone – the terrain is rough with several inclines that rise steeply but level out after a short time before rising again.

Difficult – the terrain is rocky with steep, long inclines and declines.

Gut Buster – the terrain is unwelcoming and hard to navigate, it is steep to almost vertical and in some instances specialist equipment and knowledge may be needed to continue (think rock climbing and Ben Nevis).

How do you decide on your effort level?

And now for yesterdays stats…how did I do?

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I did better than yesterday!  I’m feeling better today and have more energy which is a good thing!  Hopefully I am on the mend!  🙂

Quick and Easy Tuna Pasta

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I made this the other week for tea after walking Roxy.  I wanted something quick and easy but filling and on the healthy side.

What you will need

1-2 small peppers

1 tin tomatoes (chopped)

1 tin kidney beans

1 tin tuna

12-16 mushrooms

1 small onion

1-2 cloves of garlic

Pasta

How to

Prepare all veg (onion, peppers and mushrooms) by chopping into small pieces, prepare the garlic by crushing and chopping  and add all of this to a pan.

Place pasta into another pan and set to boil.

Add a small amount of water (2 desert spoons) to the veg pan and place over heat, stir occasionally.  The water will be absorbed by the mushrooms as they start to cook but it will be expelled from them soon (don’t worry!).

Once the veg has softened and the onion has gone translucent add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir.  Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add to the pan.  Bring the lot to the boil.

Drain the tuna and add to the pan.

By now the pasta should be cooked, drain and place back into the pan.  Pour over the tomato/tuna sauce and mix well.

Serve and enjoy!

Variations I have used include adding peas or sweet corn, courgette and broccoli (cut up really small) but this will work with a whole variety of other ingredients.

I quite often make a variation of this as it is filling, cheap and quick.  I tend to make more than just one serving, typically this recipe will make 3-4 meals, as I can take some to work with me the following day as a cold lunch option.  The left overs would also make a really good meal to take in a bag when you go walking.

What kind of things do you cook when you want something quick and easy?

Here’s yesterdays stats for you….

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I’m pretty pleased with these stats as I’m still struggling with this cold that is niggling at me,  without the lunchtime walk which got me away from the office for a bit and into fresh air, I think I would have done at least half the amount of steps that I did.