As Mountain Bikers, we like to think we’re reasonably fit – plenty of fresh air and exercise and all that. But I’m wondering if we’re looking through the wrong end of the telescope.
Last night I was roped in to my work’s annual rounders tournament. Now, I’m not a great fan of team games, preferring to rely on my own efforts rather than others, and I haven’t played anything like this for years. This quickly became apparent.
In particular, it was not so much that I was struggling to run down balls and field them back to my teammates, or that running round the posts when it was my turn to bat was causing me any real difficulty – I was able to surf through for nearly ten minutes on natural talent alone. It was more that in short order I was aware of just how much effort it is to run at all.
The nature of the game means lots of short, fast sprints with not a huge amount of rest in between. This morning, my lower back, my backside and thighs are aching like they’ve been centre stage in a Turkish prison. Just walking is causing a certain amount of pre planning so I don’t involuntarily gurn disturbingly at colleagues as I cross the office.
Driving home, I caught a radio programme asking about fitness and how you measure it. They said it can actually be worse to be thin and unfit rather than fatter and fitter and claimed the minimum was the government guidelines of thirty minutes exercise a day. I’m not sure if you can count four hours on Sunday and two and a half during the week as a reasonable substitute, especially since for the rest of the time I’m essentially inert.
A good basic method of judging fitness apparently is to make sure you cover 10,000 steps a day by using a pedometer. I’ve no idea what I cover but am reasonably certain it’s not more than about 2,500. And judging from Mark’s dramatic weight loss since he’s been walking to the station every day there’s a lot to be said from being more regularly active.
So I guess I’m not as fit as I think I am. I’ve got a pedometer at home somewhere which I’ve never used – maybe it’s time to see what it tells me?