dogs · fitness · trackers · walking

Solo Stroll (don’t tell Khalee)

Every month my wrist-spy* suggests a fitness challenge and I usually try it just to add a little extra oomph to my routines.

I have only been following it closely for a few months but since it has led to me moving a lot more each day (and feeling great about it!) I figure it’s worth the effort to pay attention to the challenges and to my responses.

This month, the challenge is to walk 5.4km per day for 14 days during September.

And since I am much better at doing something every day than every second day, I decided that I would aim for 14 days in a row and if I liked walking that much per day, I would continue for the rest of the month.

So far, I have met the challenge every day but some days have been quite tricky.

I get a lot of movement in my days but it’s a mix of walking and yoga and stretching and taekwondo and strength training and so on.

This challenge is just about walking. So walking around my house or running errands will count toward the 5.4km but other forms of exercise won’t.

(That other movement is good for me overall, of course, but it doesn’t meet the requirements of the challenge.)

I’ve tried getting Khalee to walk a bit further each day so I can get closer to the target distance but sometimes she just won’t. In fact, on Friday evening we walked for less than 1km because she decided she was done with being outdoors and it was time to get home out of it.

A light haired dog lies on a patio, facing toward the camera.
This photo has nothing to do with yesterday’s walk but her expression looks a bit skeptical, kind of like the way she was looking at me when ai returned. Image description: a photo of Khalee, my light-haired, medium-sized dog, resting on my patio near some pots of flowers. She is facing toward the camera and her expression looks similar to the way a human would narrow their eyes at you in suspicion. There’s green grass and a backyard firepit in the background of the photo

I’ve thought about trying to take her out for a walk twice a day but any time I’ve tried, she’s not so keen on it. (I swear, she looks like she is thinking, ‘Didn’t we do this already?’)

So, I’ve ended up walking a fair distance INSIDE my house just to meet the challenge. Indoor walking is boring AND I walk slower than I do outside – apparently I really need the forward movement to gain any momentum.

Ok, so I know what you’re thinking – Why don’t you walk WITHOUT the dog, Christine?

Good question.

And the answer is – I never thought of it.

Most of the time, I walk for three reasons – to walk the dog, to hang out with friends, or to get somewhere.

And all of those walks are good for me but I had kind of filed away the fact that I could walk for the sake of walking/exercise.

I mean, I guess I *do* still do that but I generally combine it with Khalee’s daily walk so I had stopped thinking of it as something I could do separately.

Until I was running an errand on Monday morning and I saw someone strolling along the sidewalk without the benefit of a dog to show them where all the good smells are and it struck me, “OHHHH! I could do my extra walking OUTSIDE instead.”

Yes, I feel a bit foolish about missing the obvious there but you know how it is when you get into a thinking habit, right? You need something to prompt you to reframe your thoughts.

ANYWAY, right after lunch on Monday, I took a quick stroll – it was a lot easier to get out the door without having to get Khalee into her harness and all. It was good to get a little extra walking in, at my own speed, without worrying if Herself was going to get enough exercise or if I was going too fast or too slow for her in the moment.

I love walking with Khalee but walking a dog is a whole different project than walking alone. It’s a different kind of good.

I mean, I had to rely on my own nose to figure out where the good smells were but that was a small price to pay for a quick walk.

Meanwhile, I think Khalee was suspicious and I am pretty sure she gave me a dirty look when I returned.

For the record, I did take her for her own walk a bit later in the day.

And it was quite easy to get my walking distance done.

*You may know it as an Apple watch but thanks to a clever friend it will always be a wrist-spy to me.

fitness · gadgets · habits · self care · trackers · traveling

More movement = a less cranky traveller

Unless I’m in a car, I’m not a good traveller.

I’m not afraid of flying or anything like that. I just feel disconcerted by the whole ‘hurry up and wait’ nature of flying anywhere.

I feel like I’m stuck in the in-between the whole time I am travelling, and the fact that I usually have to head to the airport around 3am never helps. (Such are the travel woes of living on this island – fewer flights and limited departure times.)

So, really, it’s the perfect recipe for a cranky Christine – disturbed sleep, a lack of control over my schedule, feeling crowded, disrupted meal times, limited bathroom access, and an even looser sense of time than usual.

A view of a plane’s wing as taken from a passenger window.
Image description: a photo of the plane’s wing as taken from my window. The sky is various shades of blue and there are clouds quite a distance below the wing.

I do my best to minimize how disruptive these things are for me and I do what I can to remember that travelling makes me cranky so I need to be patient with myself and with everyone else.

I think (I hope!) I’ve gotten pretty good at being patient with other people but I sometimes forget about being patient with myself so I often arrive at my destination feeling rumpled, frustrated, and fed up.

But, on a recent trip to Sudbury for a conference, I discovered that I had an unexpected ally in my desire to arrive at my destination a little less frazzled…

My wrist spy! (Content warning: the post at that link is about grief.)

Yep. My Apple watch made a HUGE difference for me in this trip.

The fact that it changed time on its own helped me to *be* in whatever time zone I was in, which helped me feel a little less in-between.

My reminder to take my meds was obviously helpful.

But really, the most useful thing was being able to see that I wasn’t getting my usual movement in – I was sitting too long, my exercise minutes weren’t increasing, and I wasn’t working toward my move goal.

When I was on the plane, those flat numbers inspired me to stretch a little instead of just sitting still. (Yes, I was careful not to disturb my seat mates.)

In airports, I did a little chair yoga, stood up to wait, and did a little extra walking around, just to keep those numbers moving. (Like I’ve said before, I love how my Apple watch helps me to remember that little bits of movement all count…and they add up!)

A photo of a person’s right foot resting on their left knee.
Three important things to notice in this photo – 1) my sneakers! With gold stars! 2) my water bottle – which was another ally in the battle against crankiness 3) the strangely mesmerizing airport carpet. Image description: In this photo, I’m sitting on a chair and I’ve taken the photo looking down at my right foot and ankle resting on my left knee and I am about to lean forward to stretch my right hip. I’m wearing black leggings and white canvas sneakers with gold stars on them. My light green water bottle is standing on the floor to my left.

By the way, if you ever find yourself in need of a way to baffle some burly young men in an airport, I highly recommend chair yoga. They were perfectly nice burly young men and I’m sure the fact that they moved slightly further away from me was merely a coincidence. 😉

As a bonus, my watch also helped me during every day of the conference, reminding me that I needed to stand, reminding me to work toward my move goal, and showing me that I hadn’t gotten my exercise minutes yet.

Continuing to track (and work toward) those things was a wonderfully familiar thing amid the chaos of travel and the fun but out-of-my-usual-routine days of the conference.

Keep up with those three things not only helped anchor me while I was away from home but the fact that I kept moving helped me to feel less tense, less stiff, and more relaxed the whole time.

I didn’t transform into the poster girl for contented travel but I was definitely less cranky.

I’m calling that a victory.

ADHD · advice · fitness · planning · self care · Tools · trackers

Reflective Fitness Journaling – figuring out what I want to know

I’m trying to figure out what to include in a fitness journal.

I love the idea of recording my plans and ideas and then writing my reflections on my practices but I know better than to try to put all of that onto a blank page.

If I have an open-ended journal, I will feel like I have to write AllOfTheThings AllOfTheTime and I will start avoiding journaling.

 Image description; A GIF of ​cartoon character Lisa Simpson exclaiming that writing is the hardest thing ever.
This is ironic, of course, because writing is one of the things that comes to me most easily…except when I start trying to do too much at once. Image description; A GIF of cartoon character Lisa Simpson exclaiming that writing is the hardest thing ever.

I looked for a fitness journal I could buy – thinking that a structured set of questions would be like ‘containers’ for my thoughts – but mostly I found fitness trackers.

Keeping track of the details may be part of my journaling but what I am really interested in is recording and reflecting on my physical and emotional experiences.

So, I am taking a DIY approach – choosing a set of 3-5 fitness-related questions to put on an index card that I will use as a bookmark in a regular journal.

I figure that if I have a set of questions ready it will not only help to structure my thoughts but I can also just number the answers in my journal and not create any obstacles for myself by having to rewrite the questions each time I journal.

I’ve found lots of suggested questions online (see links below) and I am mulling those over – not looking for perfect questions, just seeing what feels interesting to me.

But, speaking of interesting, I’d be interested to know what *you* think would make a good reflective question for a fitness journal.

What do find useful to consider about your fitness practices?

What do you wish you had made note of when you started something new?

What kinds of feelings or experiences do you think I should reflect on?

A GIF of Moira Rose from the TV show Schitt’s​ Creek dressed in black with a huge elaborate necklace and wearing heavy black eyeliner and dark red lipstick. She is asking “What?! I’m simply asking questions.”
Image description: A GIF of Moira Rose from the TV show Schitt’s Creek dressed in black with a huge elaborate necklace and wearing heavy black eyeliner and dark red lipstick. She is asking “What?! I’m simply asking questions.”

If you’re interested, here are some of the articles I found online. (I think Sam suggested the first one in a previous Facebook post.)

Why an end of the week fitness journaling practice can help you stay motivated.

Wellness Through Words: Health And Fitness Journal Prompts

Inspiration For Your Journal

51 Prompts For Good Health and Wellness

ADHD · fitness · trackers

An accidental (and happy) vacation from my Fitbit

I accidentally took a Fitbit vacation and it has been swell.

a photo of a gravel path through grass-covered ground leading between some trees. The sky above is light blue and a a large fluffy cloud is glowing golden pink from the sunset.
This photo from my Sunday evening walk (sans Fitbit) was taken near my house but it has a real vacation-y feel to it, don’t you think? Image description: a gravel path through grass-covered ground leading between some trees. The sky above is light blue and a a large fluffy cloud is glowing golden pink from the sunset.

Normally, I love my Fitbit.

I love the reminders to get moving. I love the fact that it tracks my steps and my heart rate and all kinds of other stuff without me having to remember to write any of it down. I love how having a timer on my wrist can help anchor me to the flow of actual time -instead of to inside-my-brain-time, an often-entirely-too-fluid concept.

But, I also get frustrated when my perceived effort doesn’t match what my Fitbit has recorded.

Or when my steps don’t register.

Or how an hour of exercise might be recorded as 10 or 20 or 60 active minutes, or, oddly, even more depending on some mysterious calculation…

GIF of a group aerobics class led by Richard Simmons.
I can only assume that Mr. Simmons and team are all maximizing their active minutes here. Image description: a GIF of a group aerobics class led by Richard Simmons. The participants are all wearing bright clothing and seem to be having a great time. One participant in the back is even wearing a cheerleading uniform.

Ok, the calculation is not all that mysterious, it’s based on whether I am in a cardio or ‘fat burn’ heart rate range but it *feels* arbitrary and I can never tell during my exercise how it will show up on my Fitbit.

Now, to be clear/fair, the Fitbit is operating exactly as it was designed and it can only measure so much from my wrist. The fact that it doesn’t hover around me like a omniscient fitness tracking entity is not its fault.

But it’s still annoying to have been working away for a long time only to have my tracker say ‘Meh, that didn’t count.’


Last week, on my first day of vacation, I was packing my bag before heading out to visit a friend of mine* in a town a few hours away and I realized that my Fitbit was still on the charger.

I grabbed the Fitbit and the charger and chucked them both into the bag with my art supplies. They settled to the very bottom of the bag where they stayed for the two days I was hanging out with my friend and for the several days since.

It’s not that I forgot about my Fitbit, it’s that I quickly realized how much I was enjoying not wearing it.

My vacation from work had also become a vacation from my Fitbit.

I went for walks, did some decluttering (lots of heavy lifting and trips up and down the stairs), went on a bike ride, did yoga, and meditated daily, all without any information on how long I was moving (or sitting in meditation), how intense my workout was, how many ‘active minutes’ I had so far, or what my heart rate was during any of those things.

And it felt great – I felt like I was moving a lot and working hard and there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.

 a photo of someone’s hand pointing to a cork board covered in photos and maps related to a crime.
How I imagine my Fitbit would present the evidence of my activities. image description: a photo of someone’s hand pointing to a cork board covered in photos and maps related to a crime.

Now, I know that the Fitbit is not the boss of me. I know that there are all kinds of aspects of exercise and fitness that it doesn’t measure (enjoyment and perceived effort are just two of those unmeasured things.) And I know that it’s just providing me with information – it’s up to me to interpret it and to decide what to do with it.

And, overall, my Fitbit has definitely helped me to move more and to work a bit harder. It has shown me that I may not always be getting as much exercise as I think I am – very useful information for my ADHD brain that responds well to good exercise conditions but sometimes misjudged whether I am meeting those conditions.

But this vacation away from tracking has helped highlight how often I was getting annoyed with some of the ways that my Fitbit tracks things and how often my interpretations of the information it provides have been frustrating me. And that, in itself, is useful information.

As of now, I’m still on my Fitbit vacation (and my vacation from work) but when I come back, I’m planning to figure out if/when/how to use my Fitbit in a way that serves me better.

I don’t know if that will mean wearing it less often, choosing different metrics/interpretations, or if I will just use it as a handy timer/reminder tool and forget the steps and heart rate info altogether.

Meanwhile…back to my vacation!

*By happy coincidence, it is my friend’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, J! 🧡💚

fitness · trackers

Apple Watch Honeymoon Is Over (but our relationship continues)

Image description: Activity face of an Apple Watch on Tracy’s arm, showing three embedded rings of different colours and the time of 3:47.

I bought an Apple Watch right before the last major lockdown started back in February (or was it March? The entire pandemic has become a big blur). I loved it so much and wrote about the way it motivated me again here. Closing the rings was an actual motivator that didn’t feel oppressive to me. There was something about it that felt more like a carrot than a stick. I never felt shamed by the watch for not closing the rings and always felt sort of encouraged.

We have all had our struggles with gadgets and trackers. Elan wrote about her tracker ring just the other day. Overall, I think I have done better with the watch than I would have without it. That is, I have gotten in a bit more activity than I otherwise would. But whereas I used to feel almost fully positive about it, the honeymoon is definitely over. What happened to that beautiful time when the watch seemed like my new best friend, all supportive and helpful?

Well, a few things, mostly having to do with not giving credit where credit is due. Back at the beginning, my Apple Watch used to sense when we were outside walking and ask me if I wanted it to start tracking our walk as an activity. Somewhere along the way it stopped doing that.

A friend with an Apple Watch was visiting me a couple of weeks ago and her watch always asked her if she was going for an outside walk. So at the end of a day of being out and about together, she’d tracked many minutes of activity just “by the by,” whereas I only tracked the minutes that I consciously and explicitly asked my watch to track.

But lest you think that my Apple Watch gives me credit for every walking minute I ask it to, I can assure you that it does not. I will routinely walk to work, which takes anywhere from 45-50 minutes. Despite tracking a 50-minute outdoor walk, the Apple Watch will “log” only 28 minutes of “activity.” My daily activity goal is 45 minutes. Granted, I will hit that 45 on my way home, since having walked to work I need to walk home again. But still. Back to this same friend — we would track the same walk and her watch would give her full credit, whereas mine would discount my walking minutes.

My watch is similarly stingy with the “move” tracking. Again with my friend, we were moving exactly the same amount at the same pace. And yet her watch would credit her a way larger percentage of move points (it’s actually measured in calories burned) for the exact same activity than mine would credit me.

And finally, there are the mysterious Stand points. That is, the watch tracks the number of hours in a day you stand for at least one minute. This is a good one for those of us with sedentary jobs. I do not resent the little reminder at ten minutes to the hour if I haven’t stood. What I do resent are the times I get that reminder when I am already standing or when I have stood quite a bit during the previous 50 minutes. Really, the watch doesn’t track “standing.” It tracks standing and moving.

I don’t doubt that standing and moving is superior to standing in some overall health sense. But it can be frustrating to be reminded to stand when it seems as if you have been standing a good portion of the preceding hour already. And then to have to stand up and march in place or do the floss or something (I actually do that a lot!) can sometimes be awkward (I did the floss outside during a break from my graduate seminar the other day to get my “stand” credit and my students were amused).

Image description: still shot of the Apple Watch’s “closing of the rings fireworks of three rings of different colours embedded in one another with an animation effect of each of them bursting into flames like fireworks.

And then there was the time when my watch stopped giving me the fireworks animation when I closed all three rings. That was a dark period that I don’t want to revisit. I mean, the added carrot of the fireworks animation actually gets me going sometimes.

What’s the upshot? I’m still liking the watch. I still wear it every day and check it from time to time. My Intervals Pro running app is still incredibly user-friendly that I cannot believe that I was loathe to switch from my very old Garmin Forerunner for fear that whatever I replaced it with wouldn’t do run intervals as well. There is no comparison. The Apple Watch plus the Intervals Pro app is a fabulous combo.

I have not activated the call to compete with either of my two fitness friends and I never will. I like that we cheer each other on instead of feel like rivals. And one of the fitness friends and I like to send each other the cheesy messages the watch gives as options for when one of us finishes a workout or closes their rings. Things like: “Incredible” or “Rockstar” or “You really know how to hit those pedals” or the more chiding “is that all you’ve got?”

I still find closing the rings motivating, but I am also really comfortable saying out loud to the Watch “I don’t care!” and then going to bed. More likely is that I will throw on a short dance workout to close the deal for the day. I don’t feel that that watch shames me into action. I have to say, I do like the positive messaging. Instead of reminding me of what I failed to accomplish, the watch rewards me for what I have accomplished. There are little monthly challenges, for example, and if you hit them great! If not, there is no rubbing your face in it or anything like that. So it’s a kind of tracking that I don’t experience as oppressive. Does that mean my views about tracking have changed since I compared it to the panopticon? Maybe a little bit but it really depends on the manner in which it motivates. Tracking can still be oppressive if it motivates as a stick not a carrot.

Upshot: the honeymoon is over but I’m still satisfied with my relationship with the Apple Watch even though it occasionally lets me down.

How do you feel about your fitness tracker?

fitness · gadgets · self care · trackers

A Fitbit for your Finger

By Elan Paulson

A number of FIFI bloggers have discussed the merits and problems of fitness trackers. Wearable trackers help folks to monitor their exercise, but they also track, store, and potentially share private health data. These high tech gadgets are slick, but their wearers can focus on the numbers rather than on the feel of exercise, during and after. They digitally reward–but also pressure–building a life around 10,000 steps per day.

More and more people in my life have fitness trackers. I held out on purchasing a wrist one because of the above issues, and watches and bracelets irritate my skin and get in the way of my keyboard.

But when I heard about a 6-gram titanium OURA ring that tracks activity, sleep, and more, I caved. I don’t know how the many sensors works in this smart ring. I just know what’s happened so far for me since I got a Fitbit for my finger.

Going Dry for Better Sleep

I can sleep for hours and hours—anytime, anywhere, like a cat (or a sloth). It has been a source of pride for me, but since getting the Oura the ring’s app reports that I am consistently only getting half of the nightly recommended “deep sleep” levels. Not enough deep sleep can negatively affect memory, cell regeneration, and energy levels. So maybe I can sleep all the time because I don’t sleep as well as I could.

The Oura’s app gives advice when it tracks sub-optimal levels. It has been tested to provide relatively accurate sleet data. So, I am now following its advice by going without alcohol for a month (for the first time in my life, I will add) to see if this lifestyle change affects my sleep pattern for the better. 

More Housework for Staying Active

Oura reports on activity levels, activity frequency, and daily activity goals. Many folks who have compared trackers (sometimes coming out better, and sometimes coming out worse, and even compared Oura to itself). It’s not the best or the worst of the bunch.

My Oura stays most happy with me when I move often, even for bits at a time, and one of the easiest way to keep moving on a regular basis while I am working from home is to take 5 minutes stretch and housework breaks.

I have never (in my life) been a regular house cleaner, but here I am tidying tidying, every day.

Smaller Wearable for Game Play

After a beautiful time playing scrimmage over the summer, I’m back playing indoor rec soccer. At our game on Thursday our ref stopped the game to tell my teammate she had on “illegal equipment.” It was her wrist fitness tracker. She had to remove it before the game could resume. Slowly I put my hands on my hips, Oura out of sight, then when the whistle blew kept playing.

Later this season, we have all been told no jewelry. But, with some tape it stays safe and out of sight.

Oura and charging station
The wee USB charging station on which my Oura charges every 4 days for about 20 minutes.

Sensors for What I am Not Sensing

A month ago, for a few days, I inexplicably became incredibly sensitive and grumpy. For days, I just wanted to cry, rage, and sleep. No other specific physical symptoms to indicated I was sick. What the heck was wrong with me?

My Oura noticed that my temperature was consistently elevated. So then I noticed. I followed its advice went a little easier on myself, physically but also mentally. Then, whatever was going on with me passed, and so did the temperature spikes.


My last attempt at wearing a step tracker revealed I was more motivated by people than by numbers alone. There are still the dependency issues and data risks. But right now–with only a few months into having the Oura–I have an empty bar fridge, a clean house, illegal equipment I can hide, and another way to pay more attention to my emotional health.

I have the Generation 2 Oura ring from this Finnish company (of the same name). The new Generation 3 ring (available now!) comes with more and newer sensors, and new features, including period prediction. (Slick!) So, I might just be asking for the Gen 3 for Christmas.

Do you have a fitness tracker or an Oura ring? What are your experiences?

221 in 2021 · gadgets · motivation · trackers

Closing those rings got Tracy motivated again

Image description: three nested rings (from inner to outer they’re red, green, blue) on a black background. This is the graphic of the Apple Watch Activity monitor app.

[I should probably start with a disclaimer: I have no stake in Apple at all, and I don’t even want to convince people to get an Apple Watch (which I myself hesitated over for years). I’m just saying how I’m using it and it’s helped me.]

Yesterday Cate wrote about slumps, and a few of us had something to say about them because it’s a thing these days. Towards the end she alluded to my new Apple watch. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I was in a serious slump. Usually I can pull myself out of them with a blog post in which I remind myself of all the things that usually work for me: keep it simple; start small; do less. But I wasn’t there. Looking back to a couple weeks ago, I don’t even think I was ready to be talked out of (or to talk myself out of) my slump. Everything besides sleep and the gentlest of gentle yoga seemed like SO. MUCH. EFFORT.

And then our covid case numbers started rising again. And this pandemic felt like it would never end (it still does). And we were on the eve of another stay-at-home order. A few months I had been asking around about fitness trackers and running watches and the like. My Garmin forerunner is a dinosaur and not the sort of thing you would wear any other time besides running. It’s been unreliable in booting up. People kept recommending the Apple Watch and the Garmin Vivo-something (I forget what exactly). So I bought nothing at first.

Then I decided to look into the Garmin and it turned out to be the same price range as the Apple Watch. And then they announced the lockdown. And I went into a spiral of: “I used to travel!” “I used to go out for dinner with friends.” “I used to go to a yoga studio and pay for passes.” “I used to DO THINGS.” Waaaa! Waaaa! And somehow by the end of that I had made an appointment to go the Apple Store the last day I could go (before everything went to curbside pick-up only), which happened to be the next day, to talk to a “Specialist” (lol) about a new watch.

The watch does lots of different things. But the best thing it does is the fitness “closing your rings” thing. I’m not a big fan of fitness tracking and step counting (as my experience with my workplace’s step-counting team competition has proven not once, but twice). But this ring thing! My friend Vicki invited me to be her “activity friend” on the watch, which means I can see when she’s made progress on closing her daily rings and she can see when I’ve made progress on mine. (I wouldn’t suggest becoming activity friends with anyone other than your good friends)

Image description: the rings as fireworks with light trails.

The outer (red) ring measures your movement (in terms of calories burned). You can set it to low, medium, high or custom, and it depends on things like height, age, weight. I chose medium and that seems about right for me. It’s manageable but not overbearing. The middle ring, sort of neon green, is the workout ring. The default is 30 minutes but I changed my daily target to 45 minutes since that seems pretty easy for me when I consider yoga, walking, running, and my superhero workouts. The inner ring (blue) is for standing, for at least one minute in 12 different hours in the day. You can change the number of hours in which you have a minute of standing to fewer than 12 but not more than 12. I kept mine at 12 and that seems reasonable but challenging on days when I am at my desk for hours in zoom meetings because it seems weird to get up and move around if I have to have my camera on. When you close all three rings you get a graphic on your watch that is sort of like the rings version of fireworks.

Okay. I know this seems somehow too simple to be motivating. But I have hit my targets all but one day since I got my watch a couple of weeks ago. Now keep in mind that though it counts steps, I do not have a step target and I don’t do 10,000 steps every day. In my pre-pandemic life steps were easy. But some days it’s all I can do to get myself out the door for a walk around the block.

Remember too that my watch was meant to replace my running watch. So in order to do it right, I did a little research and invested in a running app for the watch called Intervals Pro. It was costly for an app — $11.99 (CDN) — but it is so simple to set up custom interval workouts, with time or distance intervals, at set paces if you want, and it keeps a record of your training runs. And that too has added to my joy because my Garmin, ancient as it was, had exactly the kind of functionality for custom running intervals that I needed. I don’t know why I worried that something released almost ten years later wouldn’t be able to do at least as much. To be fair, without the app the Apple Watch wouldn’t have been able to do at least as much. But the app is a game changer for anyone who likes to pre-program custom run intervals.

Finally, and I am aware that this might make me sound superficial and self-indulgent, I have discovered a whole world of third party Apple Watch straps that you can order online for super cheap in all sorts of styles and colours. It is very easy to change the strap, and I do that several days a week. I also bought a protector thing that snaps on over it and affects nothing about how it looks and how it works, but will protect it from getting banged up and scratched.

Long story short: the watch has motivated me to run again, to get out for walks at lunch time or at the end of a work day, to stand up from my desk and stretch my legs more than I used to, and to include at least 45 hours of scheduled workouts in my day.

I’m now activity friends with two people (Vicky and my friend, Diane, who I actually convinced to get a watch so that we could be activity friends). And I like seeing their progress through the day. It motivates me without making me feel competitive. It’s more in an inspirational way.

As I write this the night before I’m scheduled to post, my watch just reminded me (ever so gently, not at all in a “you should be standing!” way) that I can still get a “stand” in, bringing my daily total to 11/12 with just one more to go before bed. That’s all I need to do to close my rings today. So I’m doing it.

Do new gadgets motivate you?

fitness · motivation · new year's resolutions · trackers

Is Feeling Happier Your Goal? These Calendars Might Help

If your wellness plan for this year is physical or practice-based, you have probably already outlined the steps and systems that will take you towards your goals. Those kind of plans tend to have tangible steps that you can measure in some way – minutes of meditation, cardio, or yoga or reps of one exercise or another.

But if your goals are more intangible, you will have to choose a different approach to measuring your progress.

For example, if you have decided that you want to feel happier this year, you might find it a challenge to create a plan and it might be difficult to measure your progress.

That’s where monthly calendars like the ones below from Greater Good Science Center and Action for Happiness can help.

These calendars and their supporting materials give you tangible actions to take that have been proven to increase people’s feelings of well-being and happiness. And they don’t throw them at you all at once (which can cause me A LOT of unhappiness), instead the tasks are ‘scheduled’ for specific days.

If you are a person (like me) who can get overwhelmed by a long list of future ideas, having them organized into a calendar like this can make the project of feeling happier feel a little more in reach.

Note: I’m sharing this a few days into the month but please remember that you don’t have to catch up!

So, if you are seeking happiness this year, you can follow their daily advice. Doing (or not doing) these daily tasks will help you measure your efforts and you can check in with yourself every so often to assess whether you feel generally happier overall.

Another note: Please don’t think that I am suggesting that you MUST do everything on both calendars. That’s a sure way to feel overwhelmed. Pick one or mix-and-match. Do what you can with the resources you have and then see if their advice helps you to reach your goal.

A multi-coloured calendar from the Greater Good Science Center listing different tasks that can help improve happiness levels.
Image Description: A multi-coloured calendar from the Greater Good Science Center listing different tasks that can help improve happiness levels.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the calendar above that includes clickable links to articles about the task of the day. The Greater Good Science Center produces a new calendar each month.

A multi-coloured image of a calendar of happiness-related tasks from the  Action for Happiness website.
Image description: a multi-coloured calendar full of daily tips/activities for increasing your happiness.

Here’s a link to the Action for Happiness website where you can download a copy of the ‘Friendly February’ calendar. A new calendar is available every month.

motivation · planner · planning · self care · trackers

Can’t Keep Track: Christine asks for wellness-tracking ideas

I know that recording your habits, your exercise, and your goals is supposed to be one of the best ways to challenge yourself and to stay inspired.

I love the information I get from my Fitbit (even though it’s limited) and I find the charts it generates to be very inspiring.

And I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from looking at a paper list of things completed, progress made and skills slowly gained.


I HATE the process of tracking.




I get tangled in trying to track the ‘right’ thing.

Then I forget to track, or, worse, I get so obsessed with tracking that I feel vaguely anxious about it all day.*

I find it tedious to create or customize a tracker (paper or digital) and then I find it annoying to fill it in.

I tried using a few different apps but there are so many finicky details and I find that my goals often change as I go along so it hardly feels worth the effort.

These issues are especially annoying when I am dealing with fitness-related tracking because there are so many different things that you could track and so many details that you could include.

But as annoying as it is for me to track things, I can’t write off the idea entirely.

A grid is drawn in green ink on off-white paper. There are numbers in the top row and there are flowers drawn above the top line of the grid.
Here is one of my latest attempts at creating a tracker.
I was hoping that adding some fun elements would make it more appealing.

Having ADHD makes me kind of atemporal – I forget that about the progress I have made, I forget that I used to feel differently about the challenges at hand, I forget (sometimes) that I have previously solved an issue that is looming again.

Tracking helps me counter that.

When I do track my efforts, I can see that I am making progress, that I can do things that I couldn’t do before, and it shows me that I have successfully dealt with similar challenges in the past – inspiring me to figure out how to handle them this time.

Tracking shows me patterns and invites me to reflect on why certain challenges come up.

But yet, I hate it.

On any given day, the annoyance of having to do the mechanics of tracking overshadows any possible future pay-off. (Atemporality striking again!)

But my eternal hopefulness makes me wonder if I just haven’t tried the right approach yet.

So, I thought it might be interesting to ask the Fit is a Feminist Issue readers about it.

What kinds of exercise or wellness habits do you track?

What criteria do you use to measure your progress?

What sort of tracker do you use? Digital or analog?

When and how do you use your tracker?

Have you tried using anything other than a row of checkboxes? What did you try? Anything involving colouring or drawing?

Do tell! (Pretty please.)

*Yes, I do overthink everything, it’s part of my charm. 😉

cycling · gadgets · technology · trackers

If Garmin is down, did that ride even happen?

Today Sarah and I did our usual Prince Edward County weekend ice cream ride. It’s a perfect weekend ride. 50 km round trip. Ice cream at Slickers in Bloomfield is our destination. It’s vaguely uphill getting there and vaguely downhill coming home. There are osprey nests to look out for and we’ve been meaning to make a new Strava segment, from osprey nest to osprey nest.

Slickers Ice Cream

The ride was great. The ice cream–I had campfire flavour was delicious–and the pool after felt amazing. But the final satisfaction of uploading the ride to Garmin and Strava after, in the shade, with a non alcoholic beer, didn’t happen. Garmin is down. The Garmin connect app on my phone tells me this.

Here’s the work around for manually uploading and transferring files to Strava if it’s really bothering you. Me, I’m waiting it out. But I’m bummed we can’t make our osprey nest Strava segment.

What’s going on, you might wonder?

It’s a major ransom ware attack. Wasted Locker wants millions of dollars from Garmin.

My ride is saved on my Garmin bike computer and it will upload when they’re back in business. It’ll all be fine. I missed seeing how my speeds and times compared to past trips but mostly I’m okay with it.

You? How are you coping fellow Garmin users?