Four years of daily exercise \o/

Somehow I missed the fourth anniversary, two weeks ago, of my exercising daily 🤷🏻 It’s probably become so much part of my life now that I don’t pay as much attention to the day it all started in 2020.

Calendar of the Fitness App for February and March 2020
After 8 March 2020, everyday I closed my activity rings and exercised daily.

That 8 March 2020, my Apple Watch suggested that it wasn’t too late if I wanted to earn the 2020 International Women’s Day challenge: all it took was a 20-minute walk! My dog in tow, I went for a walk. I earned my first “activity” badge. And this marked the start of my exercising daily.

I often joke that I exercise everyday otherwise if I stopped I wouldn’t take it up again. I think it’s true. But at the same time it really matters to me to be that person now. For most of my life I hated exercise and sports, and didn’t care at all for the benefits it brings. I am no longer that person.

I combine things in my life in a way that I can work out when I need to go somewhere (e.g., to run errands, go shopping, visit a friend, go to the doctor, etc.), and take photos which I really like. It takes time, so I plan for this in my work days or the weeks my kid is with me. But also, I combine working out with other things like listening to podcasts, catching up on social media, or watching TV series (my elliptical bike is in my room).

Exercising: 2023 review

2023 is the fourth year in a row I’ve been exercising daily. This is a review post of my exercising year 2023, similar to the summaries I wrote for 2022, 2021 and 2020.

2023 was another good year where I got a lot of fulfillment out of exercising. I’ve worked out everyday except 3 days, discovered new sports, purchased a new e-mountain bike (the one I would have purchased last year if it had been available!)

Raw numbers

Collage of three screenshots tallying exercising

Highlights of 2023:

  • 488h of exercise (= 20 days)
  • 509 workouts (1.4/day)
  • 1716 km on feet (4.7/day)
  • Walked under 300 km
  • Ran under 70 km
  • Cycled nearly 2800 km (233/month)

Monthly challenges

This year again I earned all of the monthly challenges suggested by my Apple Watch. They are determined based on recent activities and are meant to either keep you at the same level or elevate you a bit, so that at the end of the year you have improved your fitness.

  • 14x 4.08 km
  • 14x 67 min exercise
  • 5x double “move”
  • 27x close 3 rings
  • 14x 564 kcal
  • 4x outdoor cycling
  • 4x double “move”
  • 14x 613 kcal
  • 14x walk/run 3.95 km
  • 14x 80 min exercise
  • 10x double “move”
  • 14x walk/run 3.93 km

New gear

Me on my new e-mountain bike doing the peace sign. There is motion blur around me.
Me riding my Nakamura eSummit 950s (picture by Daniel Dardailler)
Screenshot of my furthest cycling activity: 67 km around Sophia Antipolis, Grasse, Auribeau.

My furthest cycling this year was on 15 December: 67 km (which my Apple Watch recorded as 69 km).

I rode with DanielD and Pascale around Valbonne and then continued solo for more time on the bike and followed the canal as much as I could from Plascassier to Peymeinade, and then headed around Mount Peygros and down to Auribeau, Pégomas and back home.

69 km, 5h15, 13 km/h average, 1265 m elevation.

Aside: car vs. bike usage

I drove 2800 km in 2023 (less than 50km/week on average) and bought 150 liters of fuel (3 tanks).

This year, out-of-the-ordinary drives included going to see Isabelle for a few days last Summer in her husband’s house in Vaucluse, and driving to Marseilles with my brother so we could attend the funeral of our father’s sister.

Instead of my car I used my bike 55 times in 2023 (equivalent to once a week on average), covered 620 km and it took me 31 hours.

That includes cycling to the office the 8 times I went there this year (I usually work from home), and cycling back and forth the 5 days of a mandatory training in Grasse last November.

Activity map

Screenshot of the area map showing in orange my cycling tracks, in green my walking tracks and in yellow my running tracks

This map of the area shows my tracks:

  • Orange: cycling
  • Green: walking/hiking
  • Yellow: running

Repeating tracks are indicated by a more contrasted colour.

Year in sport 2023 (Strava)

Collage of my year in sport 2023 showing the 362 days I've been active: every day but two days at the end of February and one day mid March.
2023 year in sport: days active
Collage showing that my top workout types are 30% and 13% yoga, HIIT, functional strength, flexibility, 18% walking and hiking, 14% cycling and 8% weight lifting. Total time of 417h and 31 minutes. Time broken down per month with the most activities in August with 48h and 45 minutes. Illustration that I am among the top 2% most active on Strava this year.
2023 year in sport: workouts and times
Collage showing a card for my longest activity: 69 km by eMTB which is 57.6% longer than my average. Total distance of 3243 km and this is broken down per month with the month with the furthest distance covered being November with 547 km. Total elevation of 55,832 meters, broken down per month with the highest achieved in November with 8,776 meters.
2023 year in sport: longest activity, distance and elevation

More graphs

Collage of the 2023 average per day Exercise minutes bar chart and comparison with 2022: 80 vs 113 min/day
Health graphs: exercise minutes
Collage of the 2023 average per day energy burning bar chart and comparison with 2022: 618 vs 747 kcal/day
Health graphs: active energy
Collage of the 2023 average per day workouts time bar chart: 1h9. Another snippets shows that I walked on average 4.7 km/day in 2023 vs. 8 km/day in 2022. Finally the last snippet shows that today I took 3,300 steps whereas I usually take 5,600.
Health graphs: workouts, distance on feet, steps
Two graphs: the 2023 average per day workouts time bar chart: 1h9 and the 2023 average per day cycling distance: 34.4 km.
Health graphs: workouts and cycling distance
Two graphs: the bar charts for the move, exercise and stand goals which show that the bars aren't varying by a big margin. The other graph is the weight: average of 63.12 kg for the year with min around 62 and max around 65.
Health graphs: activity, weight
Two graphs: heart rate ranging from 33 to 173 in 2023. The other graph is the resting heart rate one and shows an average at 51 bpm with max at 53 and min at 47.
Health graphs: heart

Body fatigue & middle-of-the-night insomnia

Today was a very lazy Sunday. I’m aching all over! Mostly, my legs are stiff and my arms feel heavy. A few days ago my legs were stiff and my shoulders were screaming from trying a different kind of push-ups. So today I woke up several times during the night and the morning, and finally got up late after “third sleep”.

Gif: camera zooming on a cat resting on its back on a couch, propped on a pillow.

Be that a coincidence or not, yesterday evening I read articles about biphasic sleep. For millennia and up until the Industrial Revolution such a sleep pattern (the kind where nighttime sleep is split into two segments) was the common pattern: people would fall asleep some time after dark for two to four hours, wake up refreshed for a few hours to do stuff, and go back to sleep for a few more hours until around dawn. (I enjoyed reading about this subject particularly in this BBC article.)

I am reassured there is an explanation to the middle-of-the-night insomnia, although it makes me angry that our society prefers to shame us into thinking it’s wrong and against the interests of how we’ve organised the school and work lives of our fellow humanlings and humans.

As to what is causing my body fatigue, I am not sure. Nothing obvious, that is. I went from no exercise to daily exercise but that was 3 years ago. There was a time period where my daily exercising average was over the top (nearly 3 hours every day on average) but right now it’s been about 90 minutes every day on average for about a year.

Screenshot of the Health app showing the exercise minutes between september 2022 and september 2023: Gradual decrease from 125 minutes per day on average in September 2022 to about 60 in January 2023, then rather stable around 70 until August 2023 where the bar goes over 100. Daily average for the period rounded to 86 minutes per day.
Screenshot of the Health app showing the exercise minutes between september 2022 and september 2023: Gradual decrease from 125 minutes per day on average in September 2022 to about 60 in January 2023, then rather stable around 70 until August 2023 where the bar goes over 100. Daily average for the period rounded to 86 minutes per day.

It could be a combination of the heatwaves we’ve been having these past few months (hot nights never under 24°C/75F and blazingly hot days in the range of 30-35°C/86-95F which feels like way more given the humidity), and some intense workouts.

This week for example I discovered a particularly wicked 10-minute “functional strength” total body workout by Greg Cook on Fitness+ that is done only with body weight which killed me! Squats where you never fully stand up between each repetition, walkout pushups, and lateral lunges. This week I also rode my bike as far as its battery could take me (with the hills to climb, that’s about 65 km/40 mi).

Could be that work is stressful (and has been a kind of different stressful for about a year) and adding this to the mix probably explains the fatigue.

Longest “move” streak: 908 days

I broke my “move” streak the other day for the first time in 908 days, and didn’t close my “exercise” ring in time. I noticed after work when to my surprise it was already the next day (and had been for an hour) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I did exercise on what to me felt like that day, but that counted for the next day.

Assuming I close my “move” ring everyday, the next time I get the “longest move streak” award is Wednesday, August 20, 2025.