Last summer I shared my story about how I started walking 10,000 steps a day. This small daily challenge helped me stay positive and healthy during the first lockdown and on into the summer. Since then, while the pandemic has continued, so have my daily walks. On 24th March I celebrated a full year of walking over 10,000 steps a day.
When I started walking over 10,000 steps each day I hadn’t anticipated I would keep it up for a full year. The motivation to do so came about when I reached 200 days in a row and my son-in-law, James, asked if I’d reach a full year. That was the nudge I needed. So, I kept up my daily walks come rain or shine!
Walking every day has had a huge impact on my physical and mental health. During the second lockdown there was a real temptation to stay home and indulge in leftover Christmas chocolate and treats. Getting out each day helped me burn off those extra calories. The one year target also gave me the motivation I needed to keep exercising during those dark, cold winter days when it’s very easy to stay home on the sofa. I was pleased to still see lots of friendly faces out on my walks, even in the rain and snow.
The greatest reward has definitely been the ‘feel good’ factor I get when I return home. Walking helps me to blow away the cobwebs and also gives me time to process everything that’s going on; the lockdowns, missing friends and family, thinking about the year ahead. Everything feels a bit less stressful after a walk.
I felt quite emotional when my fitness tracker flashed up that I’d reached 365 days. It was a personal challenge and I feel very proud to have achieved it. I was also so pleased that my walking challenge, which started off as something just for myself, encouraged a number of my friends to take up daily walks (those same friends very kindly bought me a celebratory trophy, cards and gifts to mark the milestone!).
One year on, my walks look slightly different than when I first started in March 2020. Friends join me a few times a week (gives us a chance to catch up while we can’t meet indoors), I’ve discovered new routes that I never knew existed before, and I now have a beautiful little grandson who I can take out in his pram.
I’ll definitely keep up my daily walks and would encourage others to do so too. It’s free, it’s easy to do and the benefits are invaluable.
Read Margot's story on how daily walks helped her feel less isolated during the first lockdown, as part of our Humans of the Walk campaign.