Monday 3 April 2017

Like a busy bee

Did you read that 20 million Britons are physically inactive? Not me! Or am I? I like to think of myself as active - but am I just busy? These are the words of a lady mentioned in the article who had a heart attack aged 44. Much older than me obviously, but food for thought. As regular readers will know, I have a million interests and am forever charging around the place in the pursuit of them. It might be birding, it might be travelling, it might be horticulture, it might be a bit of all three combined - never a dull moment! Along with regular family life I certainly feel very busy, but am I active? 

I have no time at all for any exercise, in both senses. I actually don't have any time, and I also just don't like the thought of it. Going to a gym? Ugh. I thought I might cycle to work, and for a while I did, but that didn't last due to various medical complaints that I am still using as excuses. The ankle I think is probably still just about valid. Anyway, whilst various bits of me do their best to malfunction, I instead decided I would do a lot of walking, but I am not sure how good this is for me. I have lost no weight at all. The only thing that seems to happen is that if I walk more than about eight my miles my other foot starts hurting. Then again, are all of these miles allowing me to stay flat, and I would have ballooned had I not? An interesting experiment perhaps awaits!

Typically I am lousy at staying true to anything which requires grit. Doing five miles a day on my own two feet however has thus far been remarkably easy, which probably explains why I am still doing it. Three months in I have just passed the 500 mile mark, and whilst not every week has seen me meet the 35 mile goal, there have been many that beat it by so much that the daily average is currently sitting at about 5.4. I am amazed by this, not least because my daily commute to work is only one and a half miles. Somehow nearly four more come from doing other things.

Birding is the obvious one. A typical morning commute is (during fine weather in spring!) extended by at least a mile and a half, possibly two, as I take various haphazard routes across Wanstead Flats rather then walk straight to the tube. By the time I get to work I am probably already on about three miles, and wandering around the office during the day seems to add another half mile or so and so by the time I get home I am basically done. My evening chores around the house seem to chew up the rest.

Mystery bird...

Weekends are different. The morning assault on Wanstead Flats is usually around five miles. A couple of circuits in the vain hope I might see something good. And this spring it really has been in vain... Once back home however is where the real work begins. This Saturday just gone I arrived back home on about six miles. I then did a further four at home! Four miles just walking around  the house and garden! To be clear, despite its name, Chateau L is in fact a regular suburban house. It is sadly not a vast estate with sweeping vistas down to the boating lake. Somehow all the things I had to do around the house added up to quite a hefty walk. I mowed the lawn, I repotted and watered the plants, I filled up the bird-feeders, I cleaned the greenhouse roof with a pressure washer, I hung up washing, I swept, I vacuumed, I picked things up off the floor, I walked into rooms and forgot why, I ticked off my to-do list in a frenzy of activity. Chores means miles, and this is what I meant by being busy, and I wonder if this is what the lady on the BBC meant too?

Sunday was even more hectic. I was at my parents house helping out - a huge list of jobs had been prepared for my arrival, and so from 9am to about 5.30pm I ran around the place doing them all. There were a couple of minor excursions into the village, but by the end of the day I was on five miles again, from seemingly doing nothing. I was on my feet almost all day but there was no physical exertion whatsoever. This is probably the missing factor. I need to puff and blow, and no amount of walking is ever going to achieve that. No, I need more, the question is what though.


  1. Why not get a rowing machine or an exercise bike? You could set it up where you have a view of the garden. Not only will you get fit, you could also start a "birds seen from my rowing machine" list. Win-win!


  2. Sounds like you need to exercise your upper arm with a few Nans in T.O.I.

    Will email you shortly.


  3. have you considered the possibility that your pedometer hasn't been calibrated correctly and is over-estimating how far you are walking? Get back on the bike!