Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Walking for NASS

As you likely already know, AS is an odd illness because the primary way of alleviating it involves exercise. Exercising your aching joints can seem a nonsensical way of preventing increased stiffness later, but it seems to work a treat. Asking for a Blue Badge assessment does, I can assure you, lead to some quizzical looks. Sure, I can walk, and sure, I try to park as far away as possible from where I'm going, but - when I'm walking to my final destination once I get out of the car - I look pretty disabled; hobbling along like someone who needs some help.

Last year, my friend and colleague Claire Ashton started up a walking challenge to keep people engaged in physical exercise during the lockdown. She's written about the process on LinkedIn, and I'd recommend you read that article if you want to set up a challenge yourself. I signed up, and I think I did pretty well, primarily because I walk the dogs at least twice a day (if it's too hot, we knock off the lunchtime walk and instead do two long walks, one early morning and the other once the sun goes down). I also spent weekends walking, a lot! Even to the extent that someone stopped to enquire to check if I were OK.

After completing the walking challenge at work, I wanted to carry on. Claire and I followed a link from a colleague, joined her team, and signed up for the walk 1,000 miles challenge. That coincided with the Walk with us, Walk for AS fundraiser, so I adapted the template to 1,000 miles rather than 250, and away I went. I hit 1,000 miles at the end of April this year and achieved my funding target of £250.00 a few days ago. I've now signed up for the Pacific Crest Trail Virtual Challenge, which is a further 2,485.5 miles, and as of today, I'm 15.16% of the way there (I know because I wrote a Bookmarklet). Hopefully, I'll get there by the end of the year; at least once it gets a bit cooler, it'll be OK to take the dogs for long walks at lunchtime.

I still walk like I'm about three times older than I am (admittedly, that'd put me at near to 150 - but you perhaps know what I mean), and the tendonitis I've got in my ankle means that most steps are not in the least bit comfortable, but it does keep me active! And messing about with charting my progress, and working out percentages, has kept my mind engaged while I'm not walking. I've kept involved while walking with listening to audiobooks via audible and encouraging my youngest dog to drop the latest terrible thing that she's decided to eat. Every so often, I even manage to have someone else to walk with, now that restrictions are easing.

I hope NASS do the same next year; I'll certainly sign up again!

No comments:

Post a Comment