May is National Walking Month. We love walking at Fitmums & Friends, so during this month we will be celebrating all things walking: our walk leaders, our walking members and our walking achievements.
Walking is such a simple way of reaping the benefits of being active: it can help you get fitter (or regain your fitness) and it’s good for your mood. A Fitmums & Friends fitness walk is usually a power walk of two to three miles, led by a trained volunteer walk leader. The leader will use our unique support systems to ensure that the group stays together while everyone is appropriately challenged. The aim is to provide an enjoyable and effective cardio-vascular walking workout.
We asked several of our walkers to explain what they get out of our walking sessions:
Nancy has been a regular walker now for 15 years and a member of Fitmums & Friends for around four years. She says:
“The benefits for me are endless. I feel so much fitter for walking regularly, both physically and mentally. Getting out in the fresh air relieves stress and stimulates the mind, and can help to maintain a healthy weight.
Walking as part of a Fitmums & Friends group is both enjoyable and entertaining. We have a lot of laughs and we support each other – the camaraderie is amazing. We all take walking seriously as part of a healthy lifestyle and when we attend a training session or a timed walk, it appears to awaken the competitive spirit in us, but we are not under pressure – it is our choice.
We often enter local fundraising events which give us the chance to walk a bit faster and raise money for a good cause.
As a walk leader, it is particularly rewarding to hear members of the group say how much they have enjoyed the walk or the session and if they miss one, they get withdrawal symptoms. I know I do!
Walking to me is a very healthy drug and one that is worth a try.”
Dorne joined Fitmums & Friends in January 2016 and thoroughly loved running. But after a major operation in June 2017, she was unable to exercise for four months. When she returned to Fitmums & Friends, she had to start slowly, so she joined the walking group, which she absolutely loved: “I became a walk leader in November 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history. I lead at two Fitmums & Friends clubs and take part in walking events. I am proud to be a “Fitmum” and I wear my t-shirt with pride!”
Finally, Mary told us: “Around four years ago, following an operation, I was told not to run any more. Honestly, I was never a very enthusiastic or fast runner, but it was still a big disappointment. I liked being a part of Fitmums & Friends, I liked getting out in the countryside and I wanted to stay healthy, but I didn't think I could any more.
My husband suggested walking as an alternative, and I gave it a go. It turns out I'm a much more enthusiastic walker than runner!
In 2018, I walked various events, including two marathons, and was really happy with my times. I also gave proper race walking a go, and was astounded by how fast the other athletes were. I do sometimes feel self-conscious (not helped when my daughter calls me a “bum-wiggling wierdo”), but the positivity of my family and friends pushes me on.
This year I am concentrating on getting stronger and faster over short distances. I hope one day to walk a 10k under 1 hour and 7 minutes, my fastest running 10k.
I find track sessions, hill sessions, and strength and conditioning invaluable in supporting my walking. A marathon is tough on your body, whether you walk it or run it. I could not function afterwards unless I had done the correct preparation.
Fitmums & Friends has so much support and guidance available for people wanting to get into walking at any level – I'd encourage anyone to give it a try.”
If reading this has inspired you to try out walking with us, then we’d love to welcome you at one of our walking sessions soon. They take place in Cottingham, East Hull, Hedon and Withernsea. We also have a daytime walk option in Hull’s East Park at which buggies are welcome too. You can check out exactly when and where the sessions are here.
If you need any further info, please don't hesitate to get in touch: email Ally at firstname.lastname@example.org.