Walking combined with Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) literally saved my life.
Walking might seem a bit old fashioned, when compared to riding a flashy road bike, or working out in the gym with expensive headphones on. But walking is free, and it’s perfect for people like me who have gotten themselves really overweight, because you just start wherever you are, and do as much as you can.
My first six-mile walk to Leamington Spa almost killed me but it was the start of my new-found love of walking.
Walking everyday has helped me become more agile and active. I can now tie my own shoelaces and actually get up out of my armchair without having to kneel forward to push off from the floor first.
It has also helped focus my brain, counter depressive thoughts and dare I say that because of that, it has made me a better person! And although it hasn’t made me lose weight (that happens in the kitchen), it has toned me up and built muscle, especially in my legs.
The major benefit of walking has been the lowering of my blood sugar and blood pressure. After about a week of walking six miles a day I saw a gradual decline in both and it has just got better and better. After around four months I needed no medication at all to control my blood pressure. But the greatest achievement was dropping my HbA1c from 91 to 51.
So, I would encourage you to walk for at least an hour a day.
You might be pleased to know that this does not have to be in one stretch, in fact there is a lot of evidence that two walks a day are better for your blood sugar, especially if the second one is after your dinner but at least two hours before you go to sleep.
If that sounds daunting at the moment, I understand.
I used to hate going for a walk, it would only remind me of how unfit I was.
When I first started walking I was so out of condition I’d get out of breath and sweaty just strolling. Stick with it and just take it slowly. I promise even after a few days you will notice the difference. Start at your own pace and just do what you can manage but each day try to slightly increase the distance or pace.
Remember you are not competing with anyone else you are simply doing this for yourself! I don’t want you to get injured because we don’t want to miss a day of walking due to injury!
I can’t help but laugh as I see the Lycra-clad, middle-aged fatties with their iPhones strapped to their bingo wings running past me. I think at my age and theirs jogging will probably do more harm than good, and many scientists now agree with me.
To me it’s all about getting into a routine. For the first couple of weeks I hated getting up and walking but then something clicked and now I get into a bad mood if I don’t start my day with a walk.
Lisa often wonders if the real Jon Gaunt has been kidnapped, as my attitude is so different to the man she has been married to for years!
Getting into a routine also helps as I believe the real benefit of walking is the cumulative effect of doing it most days. I fit a walk in whenever I can and try to aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. For example, the other day Lisa had to post a parcel for Rosie on the way back from town and instead of waiting in the car for her, I said I would walk to the off licence and get a bottle of red. It’s about a mile up the road, 2000 steps. Lisa raised her eyebrows and I set off, I arrived just a few seconds after her and she was amazed at my pace.
The wine was a great incentive!
I was also helped because I started in late June when the weather was good and the mornings light.
If I’m honest it became more of a trial when the clocks went back in the autumn and the country lanes were too unsafe to walk in. However, we are blessed in this country with beautiful parks so I just started taking the car to Leamington Spa or Warwick and walking around them as the sun came up. Or I would get Lisa to drop me off in the first village where there are pavements and I would walk into town.
I love walking through Leamington or Warwick just as the shops are being opened up, the butchers or the fishmongers.
It makes you feel like you’ve stolen a march on the day and are ready for anything! The point is to get into a routine and stick to it, and remember my mantra if it’s raining and cold, it’s the days that you don’t want to walk that are the days that really matter!