Retired Grandmother Theresa was delighted to join the new Let’s Walk! group in Hackney, back in October 2020. What started as a way to help improve her health, brought other benefits too.
Her connection with the people and nature on the canal is now a very special part of her week. Theresa speaks highly of our volunteer lead walker Richard, and the friendships she’s made.
Walking has made the world of difference to Theresa’s health: “I've been having aches and pains from the age of 27, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and at one point the doctors were giving me so many different painkillers to help, but then it started affecting my kidneys. So that's why I'm doing all these activities, it helps with my aches and pains. And since I've been walking, although I still have the pain, I'm not in as much agony as before.”
Theresa experienced another worry around her health: “I was always watching what I ate, and I thought I was keeping myself healthy. So it was a shock for me when the doctors told me I was prediabetic. But the walking has really, really helped. The diabetes never developed.
You might think you can’t walk very far. But once you start doing it more and more each week, your health starts improving.Theresa
"You might think you can’t walk very far. But once you start doing it more and more each week, your health starts improving. You lose weight in a way that you don't realise you're actually losing it. It's just fantastic. I come home and I’m tired, but I've got a smile on my face.”
Engrossed in a story
“We've explored parts of the canal that we didn’t even know existed. Richard takes us all over and takes things at our own pace. He's got fantastic knowledge of the canal and surroundings. When he’s sharing with us, it’s like we’re little kids engrossed in a story being read. It’s the way he explains everything, you really get into it. I always think, we're so lucky to have Richard.
"I feel now we are like a little family meeting every Wednesday, and we go around on our walk talking about everything or nothing at all. Afterwards, we have a cup of tea or coffee. And then he makes sure we know our way home. It's a really lovely thing.
Vital for mental and physical health
"These little things like meeting once a week, it helps so much. You meet new people, and you see places that you never thought of when you were working. It's just amazing. I do love my life. These walking groups really are vital for mental and physical health, and these lovely people who give up their time just to help get people out of the house, and that is what we need, to get out and enjoy the nature we have.”