I don’t know if it’s a side-effect from losing nearly 40 kg in weight, or whether it’s from feeling trapped at home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, but I’ve recently been seeking out every opportunity to get outside and exercise.
Even at my most heaviest, I did a bit of exercise – even if it was to walk the dogs in the park for 30 minutes. But the concept of actively seeking chances to get outside for exercise is a new experience.
Just the other day I went for a 90 minute cycle (all within my 5km limit, of course), then I took the dogs out for a walk for an another hour, and later that day walked to the shops to pick up a few messages. It was nearly 4 hours of exercise in just one day.
In the past I would have gladly spent my entire weekend glued to the sofa, barely registering 1,000 steps on my pedometer – and most of those would have been from trips to raid the fridge or visit the bathroom.
But now, most weekends, I’m itching to get out the house and do something.
I like to track my steps using a Fitbit, but also track the amount of time I’m doing moderate-to-high intensity activity. Fitbit records this type of activity as Active Zone Minutes, and the World Health Organisation goal for people is to get 150 minutes a week.
When I’m out walking I find it hard to get my heart rate up enough to count towards my active zone minutes. I literally can’t walk fast enough to really get my heart pumping – unless I pick a route with lots of hill climbs.
To get zone minutes I need to get on my bike or do something else equally strenuous.
Every week I’m trying to meet – and often exceed – the goal of getting 150 active zone minutes. Some weeks I do really well. For example, last week was over 350 minutes. Although a couple of weeks ago when I injured my knee, I didn’t do quite so well.
However, with the improving weather now that spring has arrived, I’m hoping to be out and about a lot more, and racking up those exercise minutes!