Walking is Good For You

Going for a walk is really good for you! Recent research by the Ramblers
Association and Macmillan Cancer Support has found that almost 37,000 lives
would be saved in the UK each year if everyone walked for two and a half hours
a week. This moderate level of exercise would prevent thousands of cases of
cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The two organisations run a scheme, Walking for Health, which promotes short
free walks around the country. As all of our lovely customers know, a country
walk is always improved by using a stick, and we keep a large stock of trekking
poles and wooden hiking sticks to help our customers to live healthier lives.

Don’t worry about joining a gym or buying lots of expensive equipment! All
you need is to step out of your house and go for a walk. The Walking for Health
website tells you how to make this a fun thing to do, meeting people, getting
healthy, feeling better and staying motivated to keep walking everyday.
Take a look at the following website for more information and how to find a
walking group near you.

http://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/

There is a wealth of information on the Walking For Health website including;
walking with health conditions (walking with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and
asthma), reports by walkers, your questions answered, volunteering and
running a health walk and how to start walking in a group or on your own today.
The walker’s stories are particularly interesting and motivating.

For example,
Alfred’s story below;

Alfred Clews, 71, was first referred to Walking for Health by his diabetic nurse.
Now a walk leader for Walkabout Wrekin, in Telford he has been leading health
walks for 9 years.

“I had always enjoyed walking and being outdoors ever since my days as a Boy
Scout. Throughout my life, walking has helped me through depression, severe
agoraphobia, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and thyroid and cholesterol
problems.”

In 2012, Alfred was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and spent Christmas in
hospital to receive treatment. Afterwards he felt very weak, and was barely able
to walk, but as time went on, he gradually recovered and when he returned
home he walked outside three times a day with his wife keeping him company.

Alfred’s experience of cancer led him to set up ’Routes to Renewal Walks’ as
part of Walkabout Wrekin for people recovering from surgery, or who have
chronic conditions or physical or emotional disabilities.

“It’s the walk with which I am most pleased and includes my wife, who is
disabled with arthritis, on her mobility scooter, a lady on dialysis who is also
diabetic, people with joint replacements and some with breathing or heart
problems. The walk is adapted to suit every condition with which we are faced.
Everyone says they really feel the benefit from the walks.”

Alfred has found leading the walks incredibly rewarding. He has particularly
enjoyed seeing the benefit the walks bring to walkers, many of whom are
nervous about walking alone.

“Walking for Health enhances so many lives, provides time for reflection,
companionship and the general feeling of well-being, which can all help in the
resolution of life’s difficulties.”

“I’m a somewhat overweight, 71 year old diabetic with high blood pressure,
thyroid and cholesterol problems and who has had cancer. If I can still walk
over the Shropshire Hills, there is hope for anyone!”

and Bryony’s story,
“I joined Walking for Health in November 2012 to build up my fitness and
improve my health following surgery to remove a tumour. I’d been allowed to do
some restrictive exercise by my consultant before this, but nothing strenuous.

Following my surgery I wasn’t able to walk far, due to being immobile for two
weeks in hospital. A physiotherapist helped me walk slowly down a corridor at
first, which was very hard going. I decided to take it slowly and do short walks
with the aid of a hiking stick so I didn’t fall over, and could prop myself up for a
rest.

I found out about Walking for Health through a friend who recommended it. I
searched online and found there were two very local walks for me, so I joined a
group the following day.

My first Walking for Health walk was really good. I was able to meet lots of
people and found the walk easy going and not too hard for my health.

I noticed each time I went out for the walks I felt stronger and stronger. After a
few weeks I was able to get up the hill quicker, without the aid of a hiking stick,
and my breathing was better.

Being out in the green spaces was really nice and it was also great socially, as
after the walks we finished up at a café for refreshments. I’m pleased I’ve met
so many different people and made such good friends.

Six months on my fitness and health has really improved. I’ve also been out
walking in the Yorkshire moors and on the coast in Whitby with friends. Walking
has been very important to my recovery – it’s helped me boost my energy
levels, well being and confidence.”