This Christmas my lovely DH gave me a ‘Fitbit’ It was on my wishlist but so expensive for what it is I was just going to save Amazon vouchers for it.
What my version shows is the simple things like steps taken, miles walked and energy used. It also monitors my sleep.
It has thrown up few surprises.
I don’t walk as far as I thought in a day, about 8500 steps on average.
I sleep badly ( knew this) but so much more badly than I thought.
I don’t know how accurate it is. I think it says you have been awake if you got up and walked around. It apparently uses an ‘actigraph’ to measure movements during sleep. I have mine set on ‘normal’ (not recording every move) and even then I am averaging 13 x restless (turning over) and awake (walking around) 3 x a night on average.
Sleep is an absolute health requirement, without it you don’t function, very much like food. I worked nights for 18 years and have experienced sleep deprivation. I used to get about 5 hours sleep a day as I had kids to get to and pick up form school and noisy neighbours. Its like constantly having jetlag.
I was younger then and not trying to recover from a total health crisis where I couldn’t walk a hundred yards without needing to lie down.
I certainly feel that my physical progress towards fitness is being hampered by having to collapse into a heap and have nap/ go to bed early just for tiredness.
Not only does it make you slow and sluggish, it is bad for your heart and weight. you are more likely to develop diabetes. Certainly I eat more rubbish when tired. I think that is why I never put weight on on holiday, lots of activity and usually better quality longer sleep.
The reasons I am so restless is mainly aches and pains and menopausal hot flushes. The flushes are variable in their severity; from a simple sweat to an all over body prickle, flushing, drenching sweat and breathlessness where I have to sit up or even get up and walk around. I often just want to remove all my clothing, not great when in public!
Aches and pains I can deal with. I have long term back, joint and muscle pain with increased joint pain since hitting the menopause. The whole pain thing is much better managed if I can get some sleep.
I can’t treat the menopause with hormones, I have cut down on caffeine and sweet stuff, do get out and about most days; excercise helps. Medication wise even simple homeopathic remedies affect the hormones and I don’t really want do that, I don’t want to risk the return of breast cancer. The only sensible option although I have avoided it is to use low level antidepressants.
I don’t want to go down this route either but it is necessary for long term health, and short term gain. If I sleep, I move better and do more, increase fitness. Increased energy levels should equate to more activity and less eating and hopefully to some weight loss and therefore lowered blood pressure. In a year or two I may not need them.
Obviously this is not the whole answer to my carrying 3 stones more than necessary and I need to walk more, I am aiming for 10000 steps a day to begin with and then increase upwards. I have already cut down a bit on rubbish foods as the Christmas food stocks are already gone and we are eating healthy soups and food from scratch using the raw ingredients from our freezer.
So first stop is an appointment at the doctors.
Last year I did a walking challenge where I tried to walk the distance of Hadrians Wall, 75 miles, over a month. I think I will reinstate this challenge to myself just for fun.