The War Between Exercise and Nature

Some days I get quite annoyed with the exercise tracker on my Apple Watch. There are days when I KNOW I have gotten a lot of exercise but the watch stubbornly displays the “fact” that I just got a few minutes. Take last weekend as an example. On Friday I went on a long hike and my legs could feel it. Then I walked all over the Hilton. The watch did not agree.

Yep, looks like on Friday I got about 8 minutes.

Every morning, it gleefully informs me that I get two minutes walking the dog. And it does believe I’m exercising when I walk up and down the parking garage. But, when I walk around the pasture? When I take the dogs on a longer walk? Not so much.

How come?


It’s because of Nature, that’s why. These days I am completely incapable of going on a nice brisk walk, arms swinging merrily (because that’s how the watch knows I’m moving, as I’ve probably mentioned before), for numerous consecutive minutes. I was proud to do it yesterday for enough minutes to reach my goal, but that’s because we didn’t let ourselves or the dogs be distracted.

Usually, though, something distracts me, and not just the dog needing to sniff or do his business. I just see things or hear things that I have to investigate. There seems to be a bird, a bug, or a flower every few feet, and this nature gal just has to check them out, and most likely take a picture. I mean, heck, iNaturalist is always there, wanting me to add stuff and make my number larger.

I seem to be most competitive with my own self. Probably that’s why I insist on checking the watch stats every day. And my iNaturalist stats. And my website hits (click often, friends!).

It would help if I didn’t take blurry pictures, though.

It turns out that every time I do that, the exercise-tracker device goes into slacker mode and doesn’t give me credit. That’s what happened on the hike Friday. Yes, we walked a long way, but we stopped often to investigate a plant, look at the baby snake, or hug a tree. It wasn’t an exercise hike, it was a nature walk!

Dead cicada? COOL! Let’s stop.

This all goes a lot toward explaining my family on a hike. Lee walks slowly, due to knees and such. Declan, Rylie and I walk faster, but stop often to look at plants and birds and the like. But, when he was with us, Kynan would take off, purposely striding down that trail to exercise, not lollygag and look at stuff (like father, like son). He’d always reach the end of the trail and come back to find us, staring at lichen or something.

There it is. Charging up to taunt me some more. That’s okay, watch. I take your stats with a grain of salt!

It just goes to show you that you can’t always believe technology. I know Kathleen and I walked a long way on Sunday (and I’ll share photos to prove it, later), even if our watches only told us we got 14 minutes in (see above!). I’d rather look like a slacker to whoever cares about what my watch says, up there in some cloud, than miss all the beauty that’s around me.

Yesterday, I got some icky news at work. I’m very grateful that going out and looking at the sky, feeling the breeze, and talking to my friend saved me (that and some wine, later).

Yeah, I also got to my goal, but my real goal was peace and well being. The watch is good for telling time, though, like the ads say.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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