on walking with others

so it is almost two months since I completed the Million Step Challenge, by the end of September I had amazingly walked over 650 miles.  The benefits of walking are with me every single day.

I am passionate about the difference it can make to life, getting active, feeling in touch with my body and with the world, not even the onset of winter in the Peaks has dissuaded me.  I continue to walk, not every single morning, sometimes it is just too dark and damp, but it is a rare day I am not out and about.

One joy is that I am able to share my experience and my passion with others.  The group I set up on Facebook continues to attract new members, each sharing and supporting with their walking stories.  Last week I took this a step further and began the Walking Well group for parents at a local primary school.  Funded by the local council I am able to run a twice weekly walking group which has quickly captured members who are already benefiting from regular exercise and social contact.

Seeing the delight on the faces of people who had never walked anywhere as they increase the step count is amazing.  Listening to tales of solo walking, of using stairs instead of lifts, of the joy of being outside.  This is powerful stuff.  So simple, one step in front of another, on the streets where you live.  This works.

So, world I am coming to get you.  I have a model that is working, evidence to prove the point and am available to go where ever it is needed.  Watch this space. I will get the world walking, one step at a time!!

a million steps later – challenge done

at three minutes past three on the 8th September, just a week ago today, on the High Peak Trail, the woman who never walked anywhere took her millionth step!! In just over nine weeks I walked 500 miles.
I have walked in the town, the woods, the hills, the dales. I have walked in cities and alongside canals. I have walked along the coast and on the beach.  It has been nothing short of amazing. As I walked I became fitter, as I became fitter I walked more.

So, I wonder what next?  First I enjoyed basking in the glory of completing such an epic challenge in such a short time.  My sponsorship for Diabetes UK has increased too, with a neighbour donating money having seen me on my daily walks for the past nine weeks.  I think before I start planning what to do next it is worth taking a moment to reflect on what has happened.

Back in April I was unwell, overweight and unhappy. I found movement painful and spent a lot of time pushing myself through the pain to take part in the most basic everyday things.  One day I really had, had enough.  I decided to try and eat less and move more.  If you have been with me through the blog you will know all this already, but what I didn’t know was how this simple plan, move more eat less would change everything.

Today I am three and a half stone lighter than I was in April.  I have energy and a lust for life I previously only dreamt about.  My car sits outside my house most days, only being used for trips out of town.  I have started a Facebook Group called Women Walking, and have dozens of members encouraging each other to take that first step.  It is simply amazing.

The next challenge is to keep up the fitness.  I have joined a gym!!  Honestly that is amazing in itself, and have learned how much fun moving to music is.  I have started swimming again and exercising in the pool is also great fun.  I still walk every morning mostly with my good friend who is now also walking every day.  All in all the Diabetes UK Million Step Challenge has effected every part of my life.  It has given me my body back, it has given me confidence and it has helped me to inspire lots of other friends to walk for health.  Truly if I can do this anyone can.  I really was the woman who never walked anywhere who now walks everywhere.

I can’t thank the guys at Diabetes UK enough, their support and encouragement meant everything.  I don’t want to kid people that this was easy.  I had dark days, I walked in the rain and the wind, I walked with blisters on my feet and when I was feeling so tired I just wanted to stay in bed.  The reason I carried on was knowing that people were sponsoring me and I had the responsibility to carry on.

The good days outweighed the bad.  I have so many memories. Reaching the top of the Great Orme in hot sunshine was amazing. Starting to run instead of walking and managing to breathe as I ran along was fantastic.

This has been the challenge of my life, and it is no exaggeration to say it has changed me for the good forever.



811,000 reasons to be cheerful

wow!!  sometime this week the woman who never walked anywhere passed the 800,000 step mark.  I cannot quite believe it.  Indeed if you count my practice walking in June I am already well over a million steps.

Some steps have been tentative, some strong.  I have walked in the rain, in the hail, in the sunshine and in the cloud.  I have walked early in the morning and late into the evening.  I have walked in fields and in cities.  Every step moving me nearer to fitness and to improved health.  The benefits are endless.

Firstly I have lots considerable weight, I am about three and a bit stone lighter than I was in May.  I have new clothes and have been able to pass on my good but now too big tops and bottoms to friends.  I am no longer breathless.  I can do up my shoes and I can walk up hills.  I can run.  I can get down on the floor with my darling girl and play trains. I no longer feel ashamed of my body.

Walking??  Who knew??  True I have also been careful with what I am eating, but the daily and consistent exercise is the thing that matters.  The folks at Diabetes UK are genius, creating such a long term challenge.

I know I will be passing the million steps for real sometime soon, so I am planning my next adventure.  This is not going to stop anytime soon.

If you are reading this and thinking you couldn’t do it, yes you could.  It is as simple as putting one foot in front of another.  It isn’t a race, go at your own pace, any movement is better than none.

Go on, I dare you, give it a go.


million steps – day forty three

luckily everything was better today.  I was feeling much better and the weather was fine.  A complete transformation from yesterday when the cold wind and rain made walking difficult.  Today the sun was shining as I planned how to fit walking with all the things I needed to do this morning.

It didn’t help that I awoke later than usual, so I decided to take my car to the supermarket and then leave it in the car park while I walked.  That way I could do the shopping before going home.  This meant a walk along a busy road, not something I usually enjoy, but I soon reached the quieter streets where there is very little traffic noise.

The sun was casting my shadow in front of me as I walked and I was enjoying the warmth on my back.  Suddenly another shadow appeared next to mine.  I slowed down to let the person pass but instead they fell into step with me.  ‘I thought that was you, Mother’  said my lovely son.  He explained that he couldn’t be sure it was me as I have changed shape so much, but he knew he had me right when he saw me checking my pedometer.  It was a lovely surprise to see him.  I have three sons and he is the one I see the least of.  We walked together along the street chatting.  I wondered where he was going but he said he was going where I was going, so I spent a happy half hour with my boy as the steps disappeared beneath our feet.

Being a Mum has always been an adventure.  From the baby days, through toddle tantrums to teenage angst, all four of my children have had their moments.  I think sometimes it is only when they are adult do we Mums realise what an adventure it really was.  The days when I knew exactly where they were and who they were with have long gone. It is lovely now they are all grown up we spend snatched moments together.  I am so proud of them all, and it seems they are equally proud of me.

This lucky woman added almost 12,000 steps to her total today, most of it in sunshine.

million steps – days thirty nine to forty two

This has been a rubbish week for me health wise.  It started on Monday night, after our lovely day thirty nine, with me getting a really bad stomach ache, which hasn’t really gone away since.  I have been checked out, all is well, I just feel a bit poorly.  So with no walking at all one day and very little yesterday, this morning I had to have a go.

The weather was against me.  Cold wind and driving rain, not your average August morning, made for tricky walking. Together with a sore tummy it was doing me no good at all.  I pressed on, once out I felt ok, but tired really quickly. For once I took the swift route home and I didn’t walk around the field.  I dried off and got changed and was already feeling better.  Quite proud I made it out to walk at all really, I have to remember that this isn’t a race, and the million steps are going to be walked, one way or another I will succeed.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, both weather and health will have improved.  Tonight my sorry total is just under 10,000 steps but it is the best I can do.

million steps – day thirty nine – family fun

Today started with a drizzling walk with my best friend.  As we moved through the town, getting ever more damp, we chatted about all the things that need to be talked about.  Family, work, life, there is something wonderful about such a friendship.

We walked into the park and made our away towards the lake.  The playground was empty, as was the adult gym equipment.  Dare we?  We did!!  It was such fun, swinging and stretching on the different pieces of kit, there was a freedom of movement and we just had fun.  I am sure anyone watching would have laughed at us as we got to grips with it all, but we didn’t care.  It was fab.

Later we have a very special date with our gorgeous Granddaughter, who will have her second birthday this week. Nothing prepared me for the sheer joy of being a Nanna, and the day she was born I found myself accepting this role with ease it was the beginning of such a lovely time.  She is a special little girl who can make me happy on the darkest day.  It was lovely to spend the day with her and her Mum and Dad, and her Grandma.  So many people who love her.  In the last two years of laughter and love, we have all watched her grow from a babe in arms to the clever funny little girl we have today.

We set off in convoy to a beautiful house, gardens and children’s farmyard.  The animals, from day old chicks to enormous Shire horses were all in view.  We wandered around together enjoying the experience, and I was put in mind of the days out I had when her Daddy was little, the places we went and the fun we had.

It was absolutely fantastic for me not to have to worry about not keeping up with everyone, or if I would need to sit down.  For once I felt totally at ease, wandering through the gardens, the farmyard and the maze.  My ‘new’ legs are working well.  The rain held off and we were warm and dry in the hazy afternoon sunshine.

Together with my morning walk, and a trip to town later I managed over 22,000 steps today, each one full of fun.



Million steps – day thirty four

A lovely long walk this morning, through the town and out onto country lanes, it makes a difference walking with a friend.  As we walk we are chatting and stopping every now and again to look at the views.

I am so lucky to live somewhere where the countryside is so accessible.  From my front door within a mile I am in the middle of fields and hedgerows.  We see rabbits scampering across the field and in the distance are sheep and cattle.

Today the weather was kind, warm and bright sunshine lifted the spirits and the mood.  It is easier to walk with the sun on your back, although it did get a little warm.  I left my friend near her home and carried on for a mile or so homeward bound.

This early morning world really suits me, I arrive home ready for breakfast and have more energy than ever.  Today mundane jobs in the house are calling and I spend longer than I would have liked on housework.  It is always good to remember that, perhaps, three months ago I couldn’t do much at all.  Now cleaning and sorting is all in a days work. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Another reason to be grateful today is that I have another sponsor on my fundraising page.  This brings the total to more than double the total I set for myself.  It is wonderful and all thanks to Diabetes UK.

million steps – day thirty three – two is company

My early morning walk today and I am not alone.  My very good friend has changed her job and can now also walk in the mornings.  I make my way to her house, starting on a different route is always a bit unsettling, but it made a change.  We set off and it is good to be able to chat as we travel along.

It is a miserable morning, the fine almost nothing rain is steadily falling and soaking us as we walk.  The sky is grey but it is not cold at all.  Weird weather, hot but damp, a British summer.

Later in the day I am heading up to a nearby town to check out bargains for our little shop.  It is not a comfortable shopping experience.  The people working in the shop are all losing their jobs next week.  They are selling everything, and we are lucky to pick up some bargains that will smarten our shop up, and yet it feels a big wrong.  We talk to the assistants who are mostly resigned to what is happening.  One woman is close to tears as she cashes up our purchases and it feels so very unfair.

Altogether I have managed another 13,000 odd steps towards my total today, most of it in the rain.


million steps – day thirty two – halfway there

Today I walked my 500,000th step.  I knew it was close so did a clever sum in my head and kept an eye on my pedometer.  It would have been awesome to be somewhere magnificent at the half way point, but I was actually half way down the steps on the way to the shopping centre.

It is incredible that I could have walked so far so quickly.  Helped by a regular 8,000 odd steps in the early mornings, a few long days when I have racked up the count and lots of slogging through the streets, the miles have mounted up.

Halfway to a million, and halfway to finishing this fabulous challenge.  I know for sure that once it is over the habit is set for life now.  I will be walking forever, thank you Diabetes UK for setting this up, it is a blast.

million steps -day thirty one – tired

today is the last day of July and the end of my first month of the million step challenge.  I have already achieved much, much more than I imagined on day one, but today was not a day for walking.

I have had an incredibly busy week, lots of walking, lots of physical work and by the time Sunday arrives I am frankly exhausted.  I have no inclination to go out early in the morning and instead settle for a good book and the sofa.

If I have learned anything in my almost six decades on the planet it is to listen to my body.  I am all for pushing myself, for not giving in, for keeping on carrying on, but sometimes enough is enough.  Today was that day.

Later in the afternoon I go out for a stroll around the town.  How different everywhere is when people are up and about.  The quiet of the park, where I watch the ducks take to the water for their early morning swim, is broken by families and children everywhere.  It is a quite different place.

Back home I have managed to complete about 7,000 steps, and as I go to bed the days total is the lowest yet, not quite 9,000, but I am feeling better.  Tomorrow is another day.