No, I didn’t spend the year with Claire, Faye, H, Lee and Lisa from the 1990s dance-pop quintet.

Can’t sing. Won’t dance.

But for that, I could have been there with them, on their 2021 arena tour…

But I have continued to record my activity via a Fitbit step counter. And the numbers don’t lie. I have been walking, a bit, in 2021, whether coaching, playing, or looking for cows.

I posted back in April 2020 on my activity logs at the beginning of lockdown. Although I haven’t been keeping an eye on the stats for a while, the Fitbit has been diligently recording my steps and activities ever since.

Steps stats

Average across the year of 12.5k steps/day. Not a great difference across the seasons.

Up on ca. 8k steps/day at the beginning of lockdown, rising to 9k/day over the last 6 months of 2020. Less time in lockdown, more shopping trips and visits to parents.

Not a lot of coaching coaching

Family commitments, covid restrictions, re-discovered playing opportunities, even mock GCSEs in the school sports hall, all combined to limit the total amount of coaching I did in 2021.

Coaching barely registered in the step count. I ran Chance to Shine and an after-school club, last year, and my main role has been setting up, then stepping back and enthusing/advising/cajoling — “walking & talking”, at most, so I didn’t really expect the stats to show up.

For those few sessions for which any activity was recorded, the average was around 2k steps/hr.

But as I was walking 3-5 miles there-and-back to coaching assignments, the daily steps were maintained.

Playing cricket — running around in the field, standing around at the crease…

I played 18 games in 2021 (just 17 recorded — see below). We fielded for 45 overs almost every time, in 2.5-3 hrs — we didn’t bowl many teams out inside the set overs, and only once did the oppo chase down a target in less than 40 overs.

Playing (fielding & bowling): just short of 3k steps/hr.

Average steps/game were pretty consistent — no days doing long on to long on, and none camped in the slips!

The one game that did not appear in the steps record was on 11th May. I was pretty immobile that day, with a quad strain, but I suspect the tracking must have failed as the log shows no activity at all!

I only batted for any length of time on three occasions, averaging just 2k steps/hr. It’s fair to say we generally don’t do a lot of running in Seniors cricket!

Looking for cows in Wanstead Park

Over the second half of the year, I spent considerably more hours searching for (not always successfully), observing, and talking to park visitors about the cows set out to browse in Wanstead Park by the City of London Corporation.

Goose, Nina & Nutty — Wanstead Park Cows

A very rewarding experience, in difficult times.

Thanks to the Friends of Wanstead Parklands for arranging the original volunteer schedules, back in the summer. Some of us are still looking in on the cows, still (seemingly) happily browsing in the Park in January.

Holiday

One week stands out in the stats. 177k Steps over 6 days, walking the Snowdonia Slate Trail in North Wales.

We didn’t walk through the bogs!

Magnificent views, fascinating industrial heritage, good company.

Conclusions

Keeping Active is one of Mind’s Five Ways to Wellbeing, so it’s good to see that I managed to get my steps stats up on 2021.

Illustrative, but not, perhaps, surprising, to note that I am considerably more active when fielding & bowling than when batting (and that coaching is even less active). It would be interesting to compare my stats with a more formal study — even in Seniors cricket, it felt as if I was on the go for most of the innings, even if there weren’t repeated trips to retrieve the ball from the boundary.

I am considering an upgrade on the step counter for 2022, to include GPS tracking. It might be interesting to see how many miles I am logging, in addition to steps.

And I won’t be joining Steps for the re-scheduled gigs.

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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