Month: October 2013

Fran’s feelings about Cerdded Da – Walking Well

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Here is our Fran Walking Well as you see, having done two miles, and only 0.3 miles away from a lovely hot chocolate. She is a  star, below are her feelings about the group.

The Walking Well group meets every saturday at Caffi Y Llyn at Llyn Llech Owain. After a cuppa and an examination of the map we set off. Nobody is expected to ‘climb Snowdon’, and everybody walks/strolls at their own pace, enjoying the change of seasons across beautiful countryside. Some Saturdays we have people clever enough to identify the calls of various birds; the names of various plants or even identify the weather we are observing.

The photos indicate a feminist dominated group this is not necessarily so – who always enjoys being the next David Bailey or Patrick Lichfield?? So come on fellows get back into that walking vein.

The group

Walking Well is, at the outset, to give confidence to those of us who have had health problems which limited our enjoyment of a healthy walk. However, there are a lot of people these days who have enjoyed a lifetime of sociable walking holidays and now do not have a companion to share this with. Walking by yourself is not a necessarily happy experience, but with a group of interesting companions life becomes more  relaxed, and we all need to keep in shape.

You are not expected to achieve a ten-mile lap, you may walk as far or as little distance as you feel fit for. Because at the end there is always a gorgeous hot chocolate  – with  trimmings – to enjoy and some of the younger and fitter people enjoy a substantial and mouth-watering ‘Brunch’ at the cafe.

Walking Well meets at the Llyn Llech Owain cafe, in the car park at 10:30 on Saturdays. you are no left alone as a ‘Companion’ ensures that if you need to return after a short walk you do so in safety. The group is distinguishable by the yellow high vis vests worn by the ‘companions’ and the leader has , thanks to generous grants a suitable first aid kit, and walking poles – also membership is FREE.

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Walking back my youth

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I have arthritis which used to make me feel very old. Aching joints and burning tendons and an overall tiredness plus the inability to play active games with my children would bring me down and made me depressed. I was in my late 40’s and began to believe that my life as the person I wanted to be was over. I then made a friend who shared my love of walking. We would regularly walk the dogs together and I suddenly realised I wasn’t feeling so ‘old’. AND I had lost a few of the pounds I had piled on after stopping smoking 5 years ago. So a big thank you goes to Joanne for getting me started. I’m now walking as often as possible and am looking for a bike to start cycling (that should be interesting as I haven’t cycled since I used to ride to school in the 1970’s!) I have lost 1 and a half stone whilst walking and calorie counting and I have 2 and a half left to go.

The reason I became a walk leader for Walking Well Gorslas is because I believe in the idea that walking can be a great way of getting fit, not just physically but mentally. You can feel the stress leave your body as you notice the tree’s, birds, flora and fauna along the way. You make friends and chat and before you know it you’ve walked a mile! Today in Llyn Llech Owain a lady managed – if slowly – 2.3 miles. The first time she walked with us 5 weeks ago she could only manage half a mile. That’s great to see.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Walking Well group grow and am proud to be a part of something that helps to improve peoples happiness.

Sharan – Walk Leader Gorslas Group

 

Gorslas first walk – in pictures

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We all met up on the 14th September 2013 and were very pleased to find that we had some walkers with us. We had to get everyone to fill in registration and health forms and then we were off. Andy Kurzfeld joined us for the first walk and we were blessed with sunshine – if not heat. So we walked, we looked at the views, we got to know each other and had a very nice morning out. Afterwards I had a massive breakfast !

The groupView over the lakeGroup taken by organiserinaug walk 3brekkie inaug 9inaug walk 6

The new Gorslas group starts its life

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I had been trained as a walk leader, I bumped into Andy one day in the summer, he complimented me on my weight loss, we chatted I said I was walking a lot and he suggested I start a new group – with his support. So I did.

Having walked and run at Llyn Llech Owain and Mynydd Mawr I felt one of those would be suitable, as LLO has toilets and a cafe this was my choice. Andy quickly found some more volunyeers and Ros, Kathie, Sharan and Alison were on board. I arranged a meeting with Park ranger Judith, she was very supportive and encouraging.

Next the leaders got together to decide or how we were going to run the group and what people we were looking at to come to the walks. We were unanimous our main focus would be on people recovering from illness or with chronic conditions that needed a gentle exercise to start them off.

We all went away and started putting out leaflets, bombarding our contacts, setting up a Facebook page and met a week later to risk assess the various walks.

We started our first walk on the 14th of September, we wanted to start quickly before the weather turned and so far we have been very lucky.

My motivation for walking

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A few years ago I looked like this:

20th April 2011
20th April 2011

I was, and still am a single parent, then aged 53 with two sons. I had been diagnosed with the following: angina, hypertension (high blood pressure) Rheumatoid Arthritis, gastritis. I had a disabled blue badge, I could barely walk a few yards. I rattled with the number of pills I was taking, decided to stop taking them and had a mini- stroke, was smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

One day – I visited the doctor and I got a prescription for Champix to give up smoking. Once that was done I started Slimming World in 2011 and lost nearly 4 stone with them – a huge thank you to all the ladies in the group. But I stalled, stopped going and put a lot of weight back on.

In 2012 I decided to enter the Race for Life, I had had, and survived cancer at the age of 22. So my very kind boss started to train with me, she walked round the block with me and was concerned at the redness in my face, the sweat and the struggle I had to walk a quarter of a mile! That initial walk took over half an hour. We walked every day, she giving up all her lunch breaks to help me and I shall always be grateful to her for her efforts.

I did the race in about an hour – I walked and was exhausted at the end but pleased I had done it.

Last Christmas I met a wonderful man and mentioned to him that I would like to lose some weight and perhaps get rid of some of the pills I was taking. Now the real journey started, he gave me coaching plans, targets, goals, encouragement, we talked, he watched me train, and now 10 months later I look like this:

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I have to thank my man for his help, encouragement and patience.

My medication has all but stopped, being reviewed on a monthly basis for a while. The angina has gone, I ran a mile today, after doing the Walking Well walk.

In short I want others to have the chance at a new lease of life, I don’t say walking can cure everything, but it helps with lots of things.

Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx