Spring Walks

There is no better way of seeing Spring coming into season than being outdoors.  All around there will be signs of spring – buds on trees, bulbs and new growth peeking from the soil, lambs frolicking in fields, bluebells and snowdrops starting to appear, bracken starting to unfurl new leaves.  There are lots of places that these signs can be seen and here are a few of my favorite places to visit in spring, and a couple of reasons why thrown in too!

Pontypool Park

Pontypool Park is around 120 acres of park land, with grassy areas, mature trees and the Afon Llwyd river running along one edge of the grounds.  There are lots of different paths you can take that lead to so many different things, like the walk up to the refurbished Nant-y-Gollen ponds where, if you sit quietly, you can see frogs and tadpoles in the water.  There are walks through woodland where you will be able to see new growth appearing on the trees, buds of blossom starting to form and other plant life just starting to emerge.  And if you are feeling energetic, up a short, steep slope lies the Grotto and not too far away is the Folly which to get to, you will need to cross some pasture land and might get a chance to see some lambs in the nearby fields!

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Walking along the canal from Goetre Wharf towards Abergavenny is a lovely walk to do in the spring.  Walking by the water, looking a the reflection of the sky and being able to look at all the animals grazing as you make your way on your journey is a perfect way to spend a few hours on a weekend.  The canal weaves its way through wooded areas, fields and past some waterside houses.  You might be able to spot fish in the water, see ducks and ducklings, swans and cygnets along with sheep and cows and their babies too!  You should be able to spot sings of spring all around you from trees and plants to animals and insects.

Talybont-On-Usk

Talybont-On-Usk is set in the Brecon Beacons and is beautiful to walk any time of the year yet for me there is something magical in seeing this landscape starting to wake after the months of winter.  There are lots of different walks to go on and plenty of things to see along the way, waterfalls, streams, woodland, grass land, and all the wildlife that goes along with it.  You should be able to spot lambs in the surrounding fields and bulbs starting to shoot up as well as see the new growth on the bracken as you walk through the landscape.

Wherever you are planning on walking please adhere to the Countryside Code of Conduct, keep dogs on leads and be careful around baby animals – not only can they scare easily but the parents can be very protective of their young and become aggressive if you approach to closely.

Where are your favorite spring time walks?

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?

Feathers

“Nature Table” is a series of blog posts where I share finds that have come from nature.  This series idea comes from my time as a kid, spent in primary school, where we would have a table set up in the corner of the room for us to bring in things we found when we were out.  This table was very seasonal, in autumn it was covered in nuts and seeds, spring saw different leaves and bulbs and twigs with buds on them, summer had flowers and grass heads and winter saw moss and bark pieces.  I decided to bring this idea to my blog and share some things that I find on my walks.  This month I have mainly found feathers, I’d love to know what kinds of birds they are from, especially some of the more patterned ones…Here’s the pictures of them

Let me know if you know what birds they are from!

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?

Treasure Hunt

There are many different types of treasure hunt that you can do on walks, from previously going out and doing the walk alone, hiding things along the way and marking the points on a map, indicating where treasures can be found by saying “hotter” when the finder is getting close or “colder” as they move away from the item or leaving clues as to the location of the next treasure. All methods of “finding” the treasure can teach little ones valuable skills – from map reading to orienteering and problem solving, however this treasure hunt method requires forward planning though and may be something that is difficult to plan in advance.

My favorite form of a treasure hunt comes in the form of a Scavenger Hunt, which is essentially a list of things to find on your walks accompanied by some tick boxes, as you find the items you tick them off the list. It is helpful to carry a bag or small bucket or box of some description which you can place your found items in so you can show all the people in your group at the end. This kind of treasure hunt is brilliant as you can add different things to the list depending on the season or where the walk will take place, and you can break the list into different types too… Easy Things to Find/Hard Things to Find, or assign points to each item – the person with the most points or items wins.

Here’s a list you could use

Easy Things to Find – 5 Points per item

* Hazelnut seed (5pts)

* Oak Leaf (5pts)

* Moss (5pts)

* Twig (5pts)

* A smooth pebble (5pts)

* Blade of grass (5pts)

* Bit of bark (5pts)

* A rough stone (5pts)

* A dandelion flower (5pts)

* A dock leaf (5pts)

Score (A) = /50

Hard Things to Find – 10 Points per Item

* A Snail Shell (10pts)

* Animal Fur (10pts)

* A key ring hoop(10pts)

* A piece of String(10pts)

* A coin (10pts)

* A round stone (10pts)

* A seed pod (10pts)

* 3 pine cones on a twig (10pts)

* A Huge leaf (10pts)

* A  Bird Feather (10pts)

Score(B) = /100

Total Score = A + B = /150

Have you been on a treasure hunt or created one?  What sort of things did you “hunt” for?

To January

January was a cold and dark month that seemed to be never ending, the darkness in both the morning and evening impacted on my walks which then affected my steps per day.  I have been logging my steps per day and have set myself a challenge each week to try and beat the previous weeks step total which is encouraging me to get more active in the day and to find ways to get more steps in day to day.

The weather is not really getting any better yet, this weekend we are predicted to have snow but I’m hoping that it isn’t too bad.  The nights are starting to get lighter though which is lovely as it feels like spring is now within reach and gives me a bigger window of opportunity to get out, even if it is only for 20mins with Roxy.

I achieved a total of 163800 steps in January, an average of 5284 steps per day.  I’m aiming to beat this in February, and am aiming for around 7000 steps per day average!

I’m hoping, this month, that I will be able to hit 10000 steps on more than one or 2 occasions, and be able to get out for longer walks each night.

What did you achieve in January?

Walks In Pictures

I don’t have any pictures for you for this month as the weather has been really bad and I haven’t wanted to take my camera out with me – that and it has still been dark when I’m heading out with Roxy in the evenings so finding things to take photos of has been a bit difficult.  The good news though is that it is getting lighter and lighter of an evening and soon, by the time I am home from work and heading out for my evening walks it will be lighter and more suitable to take photos!

This month I am going to share with you some of my favorite images that I took from last years walks just as a look back and remember what I have seen….

Week In Review – Week 4 -22/1/17 -28/1/17

Well, I did it!  I beat last weeks stat total of 33249 and hit a new weekly personal best of 40492, an average of 5785 steps a day.  I’m slowly easing myself back into the swing of things and while I’m still not where I want to be I’m glad that I am making a progress of sorts step wise and moving in the right direction!  I have spoken about having an appointment with the Dr on Friday in last weeks Week In Review post, and have a low functioning thyroid so have been prescribed Thyroxine which should help with my tiredness and energy levels – I started taking them yesterday so we will see how they help.

This week I am aiming to average around 7000 steps each day (I managed 2 days last week of nearly 8000 steps) which should be achievable!  I think that the evenings getting lighter will help me to achieve this as I can take Roxy out for a bit longer when I get home from work now as I seem to have more evening now that has started happening!

What are your walking plans for the week?  What goals are you setting yourself?  And what have you achieved this past week?

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?