No time to exercise? Dispelling the myths

On 1st March, I wrote a blog post about why a man with one leg had inspired me to #MoveMoreInMarch and I pledged to walk 100 miles in March.  I have a fairly sedentary lifestyle – my work involves sitting down all day – so for me, this would involve a big lifestyle change and some careful planning.  Like many people, I work long hours and when I’m not with, or completing work for, clients, I am usually filling my time with things I am passionate about e.g. fundraising initiatives, which also involves sitting down!  I wear a Fitbit and on a ‘normal’ day I usually walk approx 0.5 to 1.5 miles (1192 to 3651 steps) which really isn’t good for my health or well-being, but I’ve always said that I don’t have time in my busy day to exercise.  I’ve also been known to say that if I had a dog, then I would have a reason to walk… and that I wasn’t motivated to go for a walk on my own – that wouldn’t be any fun at all, would it?

Time to dispel the myths! During March, I have discovered:-

  1. It is possible to fit exercise into my life – albeit not every day, but certainly most.
  2. I don’t need a dog to enable me to walk.
  3. Walking on my own IS fun – walking with a friend is fun too.

Other things I have discovered:-

  1. Having started to walk every day, on the days when I literally can’t fit it in I miss it.
  2. The blossom on the trees and bushes smells wonderful.
  3. How much ‘wildlife’ there is to see, even in the suburbs.
  4. Gloucestershire is even more beautiful than I thought it was.
  5. Just how far I am capable of walking.
  6. Meeting a friend for a walk is much more fun than meeting a friend for lunch!

I am delighted to share with you that I walked 112.66 miles in March.  As part of my pledge, I promised to donate £31 (£1 for every day of the month) to Mark Pattenden, Kelly Jackson and Hannah Moore’s #TogetherWeCan fundraising initiative  to fund a running blade for Hannah.  The blade will cost £9,000, so if you’re reading this and you’re in a position to make a donation (small or large) please do.  Mark has pledged to run #10kADay from 1st March to the end of December (or until the £9,000 target has been reached) and whilst I am proud that I have WALKED over 100 miles in March, in comparison to the 310k (192 miles) Mark has RUN in the same period… on one leg and a running blade… well, there is NO comparison!

And there is more… I can’t tell you how lovely it is when friends say “Your #MoveMoreInMarch pledge has encouraged ME to move more too.”  Several have told me that they had been about to get into their car to go to the local shop, thought of me and WALKED instead. 

Finally, I would like to share with you something that happened on the 30th March.  It was my birthday and my friend Pauline (a local amateur photographer) had booked a day off work to help me celebrate.  Pauline has joined me on some of my walks, so I suggested that we drive to Wales to do the Four Falls Trail, in the Brecon Beacons.  We parked in the Gwaun Hepste car-park and set off on the trail in glorious sunshine.  There had been quite a lot of rainfall in March, so the waterfalls were magnificent.  The trail was described as ‘energetic’ which we found quite an amusing term, until about half-way through! Our fitness levels were severely tested, particularly by the ascent after visiting the final fall on the trail ‘Sgwd yr Eira’ which was described as ‘strenuous’, having 170 steps which descended (and of course ‘ascended on the way back up) 330ft (100m).  This wasn’t helped by the fact that I insisted on walking along the track behind the waterfall and got soaked through to the skin by doing so! What an experience! We had also forgotten that the trail from the car-park to the falls was downhill, so walking back up was very challenging. (Understatement of the year.)  But I do believe the amount of walking Pauline and I had achieved in March had really improved our fitness levels, making the day far more pleasurable than it might have been in February!!  I have to say that it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had.

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Photo courtesy of Pauline Roberts 

And in case you’re wondering… I intend to continue walking.  It’s part of my life now and I love it.

 

Why a man with one leg has inspired me to #MoveMoreInMarch

People who know me will know I’m passionate about fundraising. I live it, breathe it, do it, coach it and follow others who do it.  This blog post is dedicated to another fundraiser, who has inspired me to do something I really should have started doing a LONG time ago!

Mark Pattenden is an amputee.  Mark and I have been Facebook friends for a few years now.  We are both fundraisers. We ‘like and share’ each other’s posts on social media.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed me sharing posts last year, when Mark was the first amputee to #RunTheGreatWallOfChina, thanks to a very special ‘running blade’ which was provided by Dorset Orthopaedic, one of the world’s leading providers of prosthetic and orthotic services, and for whom Mark is an Ambassador.  (For more technical details about the ‘blade’ please read Mark’s blog.)

Mark’s Great Wall charity challenge raised enough money to provide another amputee, Kelly Jackson, with a running blade.  Mark has a dream… his dream is that by helping to fund Kelly’s running blade, that Kelly in turn will run and raise money for a running blade for another amputee.  It’s a brilliant initiative and one that Mark is determined will succeed… so much so, that he has pledged to run 10k a day, EVERY DAY, from 1st March until 31st December, or at least until £9k has been raised to fund the next running blade.  Kelly is on-board with the initiative.  She has set up a VirginMoneyGiving page and has entered herself for the Birmingham 10k later this year.  The recipient of the third running blade will be Hannah Moore, who is also helping with the fundraising and has entered the Supernova 5k walk/run.  Together, this fabulous trio aim to raise the £9k needed for Hannah’s blade, and then… guess what? They will do the same again, for a fourth amputee.  It’s a brilliant #PayItForward initiative, or perhaps I should say #BladeItForward

So what has this all got to do with me and what exactly HAS Mark inspired me to do? Well, I work from home.  I am a Life & Business Coach, Cambridge Weight-Plan Consultant, Talk Therapist, Fundraising Consultant and in my spare time, I love to write.  ALL of my work involves sitting down and I ‘sit’ for most of the day. When I don’t have clients, I work on various charity initiatives, or catch-up with my paperwork. I have a Fitbit and out of curiosity I analysed how much I actually do move.  Over the last 4 months (November to February) I walked a total of 192 miles or 310km.  This equates to an average of 2.58km a day.  By comparison, Mark has pledged to RUN 10k a day for 10 months (unless their £9k target is reached earlier). In March he will run 310km, which is exactly the same amount as I have WALKED – on two rather chunky legs – in 4 MONTHS! He puts me to shame! So things are going to change!

I PLEDGE to #MoveMoreInMarch! No excuses! I might not have much free time in the day, but I will make time! I pledge to walk (briskly) for at least an hour every day. My goal is to walk 100 miles in March! My fitness levels will increase and my weight will decrease! Even as I type this, my pledge sounds slightly pathetic.  It is only two thirds of the recommended 10,000 steps a day (approx 5 miles/8km)  but everyone needs to start somewhere and as they say ‘great oaks from little acorns grow’!  An average of 3.23 miles (5.19km) a day is double my usual average of 1.6 miles (2.58km) a day.  Who knows, I might even be able to convert my #Cankles2Ankles, although that’s quite a big ask! And as a ‘thank you’ to Mark for inspiring me to get off my backside and use the two legs that I have, I will make a donation to his #BladeItForward initiative at the end of March, once I reach my goal.  I will be completely honest about whether or not I have achieved my goal. I will pledge a donation of £31 (which represents £1 a day) and sent Mark weekly screenshots of my Fitbit summary.  If I don’t reach my goal by the end of March, I will double my donation to £62.

I am writing this blog on the evening of St. David’s Day.  St. David urged his followers to ‘Do the little things in life’ (‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd’) and this has become an established inspirational saying in Wales.  100 miles may not be a huge distance to walk in a month and £31 is certainly not a massive donation, but thanks to a very inspirational man I will be ‘doing a little thing in life’ which will help to make a difference to someone else’s life.  Who’s going to join me?