Friday, July 15, 2016

Summertime and the Walking Is Not Easy

NBC News wasted time and money last night with a feature showing that the step-trackers like Garmin and Fitbit are not precise. What dummy did not know that? If you wiggle in a lawn chair and move your hand just right, you can make the numbers climb a bit. But what is the point of doing that if your purpose in tracking is to improve your fitness?

My Garmin Vivofit webpage already had a full disclaimer -- without need of a phony NBC expose -- stating that the step count is an approximation and that motivation to be active is the purpose. If you do your own step count and then compare it with the numbers on your wristband device, I think you will find that they are reasonably close.

So perhaps instead of the 2 million steps Garmin has recorded for me since last August, I have "only" taken something like 1.95 million steps. Big freakin' deal.

For me, the steps come harder on the hottest days of summer in the sub-tropics. This morning Ellie the Incredible Walking Dawg and I faced another tough slog without a saving sea breeze. By 11, the temperature was already rising into the 90s, and with the humidity, we are supposed to exceed 100F again this afternoon.

A phenomenon to watch during a long heat wave like the current one is the pop-up thunderstorm. Today Accuweather forecasts that the chances of a thunder-boomer will rise from near zero to 50 percent by 5 or 6 o'clock; however, that does not mean that one cannot pop up at an unexpected time. Yesterday at 2 p.m. I was driving across the Intracoastal Waterway in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean, and one seemingly formed right in front of us. Suddenly, rain was coming in sideways in blinding torrents, and I could barely see any road ahead. Mostly from memory, I was able to get across the bridge, take the first highway exit to the right, then pull into a resort parking lot to wait for the storm to calm down. The thought that some motorists in the same predicament are visitors completely unfamiliar with the terrain is quite unsettling.

Still, pop-ups bring blessed relief from the heat, if only temporarily. As I write this, I see the possible makings of one a few hours ahead of the forecast. Volatility is the only constant in the good old summertime, and a steadfast dawgwaker and his loyal dawg do they best they can to keep stepping out no matter the stifling heat and humidity or ominous clouds on the horizon. And Garmin goes with us, a trusted companion.

                                                      © Robert G. Holland 2016  

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