This Girl Can: Maureen and Walking

Ifirst started walking as I wanted to make a change to my lifestyle and walking seemed an excellent way to achieve my goals. Over time, I increased my fitness and even lost weight which was a bonus. It was a great to see the way these changes have made such a difference to my life.

I feared physical exercise as I was worried about feeling worn out quickly and the judgement of others when they saw me working out. Rather, I turned to fad diets, and these led me to binge, and I got caught up in a vicious cycle. My family tried to convince me to get involved with exercise, but I was skeptical, believing there was no hope left for me. My sister bought me an exercise DVD, so I began trying this out. I could happily exercise in the comfort of my own home, knowing no-one would be watching me. This built up my confidence.

I enjoyed walking, and once I felt brave enough to exercise in public, I started walking around my local community in the evenings. Over Christmas, I found out about a local 12 week walking and exercise programme in the community. The programme was led by a nutritionist who also taught me that my cycle of bingeing and starving was not healthy, so I started keeping a food diary.

I soon got more involved with walking — I joined a local walking group and soon became a walk leader. I have been leading the group for 9am Sunday walks for over a year now. Sometimes there are instances when people don’t turn up because of the weather or other commitments, but I would either go by myself in these cases or post on the social media group to see if anyone else wanted to join. Being a walk leader has benefited me not only physically but also socially and mentally. It means I have a set time during the week when I know I get to spend time with others. I feel good knowing I have that to look forward to.

I’d encourage other women who want to improve their fitness to take up walking. At the moment, I use the Active 10 app, and the alerts on my phone encourage me to walk more briskly when I’m out and about. Walking had helped me to become more active when I first decided to make lifestyle changes, and I can’t believe how easy yet effective brisk walking is.

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