Dec 14 2014

Walking to Fitness


High Peak Trail. My Workout Walk Route…Nigel Ayers©

Overweight, tired nearly all of the time, and pains in my legs after short periods of exertion; brought on by too many years of smoking, eating too much, little or no exercise, and most of all sat down at a desk for long periods of time during the working week, I was seriously unfit. My appearance in some photographs of me taken mid year (2014) had also started to bother me a little too! At 51 it was now time to do something about it.

Several years ago, about 10 actually, before I took to canoeing, my outdoors interest centred around walking and hiking with some mountain biking thrown into the mix. But once the interest in canoeing started the boots and bike were replaced with boats and paddles! But the style of canoeing that appealed to me does not lend itself to to fitness building and weight loss. After selling the bike to help fund my first new canoe, I think is when the rot really started to creep in.

Fast forward to mid 2014, and the scales registering a whopping 19¾ stone I had to do something! But what? I am not a gym person and I am not a one night a week at the squash court fan either. No, I turn to the one form of exercise that I know works tremendously well and is completely free; walking! It’s an old friend really having spent a number of years walking the hills and trails close to my home in Derbyshire. But this couldn’t just be a once a week affair, one walk at the weekend no matter how far was not going to achieve much, not in the short term anyway!

No; it was time to get up early, around 6.00am, and punch in a few miles before work, every day. This I have done now since August, and missing only one day here and there. I started with a 3.5 mile loop in the months when it was light at that time only recently reducing the distance to 2.5 miles because of the dark and cold. And they are not strolling type walks either, effort has to be made physically to have any benefit, so I push myself quite a bit!

Fast forward to the present day just leading up to Christmas 2014 and the scales are currently hovering at 17¼ stone, and I have lost some four inches of girth. And do I feel better for it? You’re not kiddin! Although I have not managed to quit the smoking (maybe a new years resolution) I feel so much fitter, certainly less breathless, and a lot less tired all the time!

I sort of knew though that once I’d started walking again that I would want to return to a pastime that I had long since shelved and take on some longer and more challenging walks, and throwing one in there every other weekend or so would go a little further in my quest to Walk to Fitness.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



  1. Camping With Style (Shell Robshaw-Bryan)

    Good to hear you are feeling fitter for all the walking. I hate sitting down for 8 hours a day, I really struggle with it and wish I was blogging full time so I could spend less at a desk!

    After being diagnosed with no less than 3 incurable chronic conditions last year following a snowboarding accident, I was unable to go to the gym for several months and I spent a lot of time indoors as I could barely walk around the house without being in pain. I got my act together after a few months of moping and feeling generally sorry for myself, and got back to the gym. I can’t do any of the classes I used to do and I can no longer run (not that I was very good before, but I was trying!), but I now swim a minimum of 1k every morning before work and as many weekends as possible, i’m out walking.

    It’s done wonders for my wellbeing. I’m so much happier. I still get frustrated that I have new limitations, but it’s a great feeling knowing you are getting fitter.

    Keep it up!! :)

    1. Nigel Ayers

      Awesome!You caught me off guard there for a moment, I don’t get too many comments on here. :)

      Sorry to hear that, but well done for getting moving again. I often think that the will power has been the greatest hurdle. Really pleased with myself, and so should you. I can only imagine how you must’ve felt in the beginning, but you’re right, the knowledge that you are getting fitter is a tremendous moral boost. And of course out walking you’re at the best gym there is!

      Thanks so much for popping by and posting!


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