Firstly, let me say, I am not, and never have been a natural exerciser.
I’ve had my run-ins with gym memberships and personal trainers. None of it ever stuck. All the pleasure that others seemed to get from exercise never seemed part of my DNA. To be honest, I was reluctant to even try Walk Active. I didn’t want to go and find myself in another toxic relationship with exercise, feeling guilty about my lack of enjoyment and commitment. This rather teenagery attitude had been with me since, well … since I was a teenager. Not being sporty was part of my rebellion; a badge of honour. It took a friend over a year to persuade me to go to my first session, yet just over 25 minutes for me to know that, for me at least, I’d finally found a form of exercise that suited me.
I could do it for a start. I wasn’t exhausted and sweaty. I didn’t need to shower afterwards. I felt well worked out and could certainly feel I’d exercised hard, but it didn’t wipe out my whole morning. And it was outside which means – good things like trees to look at. And fresh air. No twenty-something bodies in lycra, just a group of fantastically like-minded women, of all levels of fitness, working together to achieve something for themselves. To take an hour, three times a week to do something for them.
I’m still at it well over a year later. Amazing! I walk taller, more gracefully with my Walk Active glide. When I started, I was puffing up the stairs, within a matter of weeks a fast 5k was no problem, a few weeks after that, I’d knocked 6 minutes off my time. A shoulder problem I’d had for years had all but disappeared. My posture had improved. I am leaner and I realise I have a core. Am I taller, I’m not sure – I certainly stand up taller. I’ve learned to appreciate my body and to switch into my Walk Active walk naturally – in supermarkets, airports, whenever I can get the space to stride. I enjoy it! Who knew?!
Aside from that, there’s another level. Without going too deeply, my head was tangled up with the side effects of menopause. Mentally, I was foggy and flat and aware of just how low my mood changes were bringing me. To be honest, it was grim. Walk Active found me, or i found it, at an important moment. It gave me clarity and connection – with myself and others, and for that I will always be grateful. For me, the mental benefits are just as important as the physical.
‘It’s only walking.’ people say, ‘I don’t need someone to teach me how to walk.’ I say, ignore them and give it a go. It’s not just walking – think of it as walking pilates with a side order of wellbeing and friendship. Perfect.