Active adventures in Iceland: Sam hikes to a hot river and gets her heart rate up in the process

I confess that although I list substantial dog hikes (not the everyday ‘around the block a few times’ kind but the kind where we go to the park for an hour or two) in the Facebook group 217 in 2017, somehow in my mind I don’t really think they count as exercise.

They’re not strength training. And I thought, they’re not really cardio either. (Unless, I dog-jog, and then they’re cardio.)

I now admit I might be wrong. At least if hills are involved.

This week, I’m in Iceland during our school’s fall break. Autumn temperatures hadn’t really hit Ontario yet so I took a drastic measure of finding cooler weather by flying North. Also cheap flights thanks to Iceland’s discount airline, WOW.

I went from 23 degrees for a high outdoor temperature last Monday to 8 for a high last Tuesday.

Our first day in Iceland was a bit sleepy. Our “overnight” flight got in at 5 am (1 am, Ontario time) and some exercise seemed in order to keep us moving. I also liked the idea of the hike to the hot river, because “hot” also sounded good.

It’s a 1 hour very hilly hike to the river in the Reykjadalur Valley. And looking at my Garmin watch data I may need to rethink my view that hikes aren’t really exercise. It seems hilly ones are hard as riding my bike at a good clip.

Here’s what the hilly part of my walk looked like on my Garmin.

Here’s me, all bundled up, near the start of the trail:

Here is the hot part of the river you can bathe in. It’s about 40 degrees. Much better than the hot water above with the warning sign. That can reach up to 100! Not for bathing…

Here is the whole area with lovely wooden board walks and privacy screens for changing.

You need to hike through some steam on your way to the river!

Geothermal activity is awfully pretty to look at!

There’s no selfies from the hot river because I was too nervous about losing my phone. It would be a great story to tell losing the phone in a hot river in Iceland but traveling is never a good time to lose your phone.

Move! F**k you!

So I asked here recently about buying a new FitBit.

We’ve all got opinions. Michelle just ditched hers. Tracy hates all forms of tracking. Other Tracy is on a FitBit holiday. Not me. In general, I’m a fan of tracking and of fitness tracking gadgets.

Unlike Michelle, I think it does influence my behavior positively. And I like the information. Unlike the the Tracys I never feel haunted by it. I seem to be able to pay attention when it’s useful and look away when it’s not.

But this time I didn’t buy another FitBit. I’m rough on things. I break them. And the durability reviews of the various FitBits weren’t great. For running (when I’m running, which isn’t often these days, I use a Garmin running watch) and for cycling, I’ve got a Garmin bike computer. So why not try a Garmin fitness tracker?

I opted for the inexpensive, small, Vivosmart 3. There’s no GPS but it does pretty much what my old FitBit did.

There is one exception that I might just have to turn off.

That’s the reminder to move.

The watch vibrates and displays the word “MOVE!” on the screen when you’ve sat still for too long. It did it during a recent concert, on a car trip yesterday, and while I was helping to install flooring on the 3rd floor of my house.

It turns out that’s just a bit too bossy for me. I kept wanting to explain myself to the watch. Yesterday in the car I actually swore at it. I said the words, the full words, that are in the title of this post. And I’m not a casual swearer.

I think maybe without the exclamation mark it would be okay. Maybe they should add a question mark, like a gentle invitation to consider moving.

How do you feel about being told to move by your watch? Like the reminder or find that steps over a line?

Counting steps is hard

Forerunner® 15Well, counting them is easy but getting enough is hard work!

The other day I ran 3 km, I rode my bike, and I did a bunch of housework yet when I looked at my Garmin it read a measly 5574 steps. Short of my modest 7,000 step goal. And much short of the 10,000 step goal many people set.

I confess I’ve been skeptical about the step counting thing. I walk a lot. I have a standing desk. I live in a 3 story house, filled with teenagers, and I feel like I go up and down the steps all day.

But apparently not as much as I might think and especially not on the days I run.

It seems that one the days I run, I become, like my son, a sedentary athlete.

I’ve only been counting steps because I bought a Garmin watch for running. I wanted some way of tracking my pace and heart rate while I run and the one I chose also acts as a general activity tracker, keeping track of steps and reminding you to get up when you’ve been sitting too long. I like the MOVE! reminder.

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But I’ve become extra conscious of my sloth like behavior on days that I run or ride a lot. Today, finally, I made it. I ran and I counted 10,133 Steps | 100% of Goal. Phew.

See Nat’s post on fitness trackers, Count what matters and make what matters count.