Earning curry

Because of events earlier in the week, and because of event this evening, I needed to get some exercise in.

Let me explain.

My Medical Insurance gives me money off things like healthy food, sports equipment, gym membership, and vaguely healthy smoothies at the local vaguely healthy smoothie outlet. There are other benefits too, shopping vouchers, cheap flights (although not for 50p), car insurance; the list goes on.

All I have to do to earn these discounts, vouchers and vaguely healthy smoothies is to stay active, and all I have to do to show them that I’m staying active is to use my smartwatch to log my exercise. 10,000 steps a day gets you 100 points, as does a gym visit. A parkrun (just going and doing it, not achieving any specific time) gets you 300 and there are various steps for points depending on how long you can keep it up for (your age-related heart rate, that is).

It’s not a perfect system, but it works. People (generally) stay more active, (generally) stay healthier and – in turn – (generally) cost the medical insurance company less. Symbiotic, innit?

I’m on the top target (for mere mortals) of 900 points a week and that might seem like a breeze – I always get there – but you can only score points for one thing each day. So today, for example, where I have visited the gym (100), done a really hard workout (85% of my maximum age-related heart rate) (300), and done 10,000 steps (100), I’ll “only” score 300 points, even though I separately scored (100 + 300 + 100 =) 500.

This week wasn’t good for scoring points. Saturday was a write-off, Sunday was only very slightly better, and Tuesday’s football remained unrecorded because there was so much blood running down the outside of my arm that it masked the heart rate detector on the back of my watch.

Long story. I lived. Thanks to the Brandulance.

All this means that I have had some hard work to do over the last couple of days before tomorrow’s deadline. Again, I’ll make it, but it’s a reminder of spreading one’s exertions across the week, rather than trying to play catch-up, albeit that it really wasn’t my fault this week.

It’s curry night tonight, and I feel that I am fully deserving of plenty of the good stuff given the hard work I’ve put in over the past 72 hours.


Another game of football beckons this evening; something that I am really looking forward to. Or rather, I was. I do need to somehow mend my lower limbs first though, as after a hefty gym session yesterday (and despite a gentle one this morning), I am very much suffering from Concrete Leg Syndrome.

You won’t find any reference to Concrete Leg Syndrome in any of the medical books, because it’s a name I just made up. There are no visible contusions, no specific damage to the muscles or joints of the legs, nor is there any one area or part which is particularly painful. It’s just that in CLS, it does genuinely feel like your legs are made of concrete. Heavy, immobile (no, not the Italian centre forward), generally slow and a bit grumpy.

I’m not in agony, not even pain. To be honest, even ‘mild discomfort’ is going a bit OTT as a description. I’m simply just aware that my legs appear to be made of concrete at the moment.

Because CLS isn’t actually a thing, there’s also no real treatment for it. Sure, stretching helps a bit, and generally a little light exercise assists with easing the weightiness of the thighs.  I’ve also tried popping a couple of anti-inflammatories, but it seems that time is the only healer. And given that tonight’s game kicks off in about 6 hours, it’s something I don’t have a lot of. Later, I may slather my lower half (no, not all of it) with Deep Heat in a last ditch attempt to wake my legs up from their petrified stupor.

There may be advantages too, of course. It must surely be difficult for an opponent to injure a concrete leg, and if I get time to swing one of my mighty trunks backwards and then forwards again into the ball (and I get it on target), there’s likely to be no stopping it – even the net may be in danger. But 5-a-side relies mainly on speed and dexterity: attributes I was already running a little short of given my advanced years. CLS will likely only make things worse. Just call me The Statue.

Watch this space tomorrow, as I report back on the game and my personal experience of 40 minutes of high tempo, leg-dragging football.


I spotted this and it rang very true. We went for a walk this afternoon in the Constantia Green Belt: a beautiful Cape Town oasis full of invasive plants and white privilege ignoring the “Keep Dogs On Leads” signs.

Science indeed. I have done science for loads of years, and I can assure you that this is absolutely true. We wandered, beagle on lead, for over an hour. OK, so we stopped often for fun with the new camera (not mine) and rope swings, so we only managed a gentle 4½kms, but that’s basically all of my Christmas indulgences accounted for and now I can start planning for the New Year indulgences.

And then a 2 hour snooze on the 2nd should clear those calories too.


Me, banging out a second consecutive “30+ minute workout at 80%+ of maximum heart rate”:

Ha! This used to be difficult!

Me, a few hours after banging out a second consecutive “30+ minute workout at 80%+ of maximum heart rate”:

Why… why does everything hurt so very much?

Feeling Strong*. Feeling Good*.


* effects may be temporary.

Five fine

After my problems with my knee at the beginning of the year (and then throughout the rest of the year, if we’re being completely honest), I’ve been working hard to put things right.

I’m happy to say that it’s paying off.

Some decent weight loss (still a work in progress), a huge improvement in fitness (also ongoing) and, this last weekend, a 5km run. Walking isn’t an issue, but that constant impact on the knee as one runs isn’t good. 5km might not sound like much, but given that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever be able to run again, it was huge.

I was dragged out to try a flat parkrun on the weekend and – without wanting to blow my own trumpet – I smashed it. No knee issues whatsoever, and I finished feeling that I could have gone faster or further if I’d wanted to.


Sure, a little muscle stiffness here and there the next day, but nothing terrible. And so now I’m moving straight onto the next hurdle: a game of football on Tuesday evening. Running apparently isn’t an issue, but that constant impact on the knee as one plays football isn’t good. A game of football on Tuesday evening might not sound like much, but given that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever be able to play a game of football again, it will be huge.

Hold thumbs for great news on Wednesday morning.