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Nell Blane and Councillor Hitesh Tailor walking in Ealing

How walking can put you on the path to a better lifestyle

Walking is an amazing – and easy – way to improve your health. This spring and summer, why not take advantage of our lovely parks and the milder weather to get out and join in an organised walk? Or perhaps you could just build more walking into your daily routine.

There are 10 walks arranged every week in the borough to help anyone interested in becoming more active, in losing weight or just in becoming healthier in general. These walks take place at a number of parks across the borough. They are free to take part in, easy to access and are suitable for all walkers. They are organised for One You Ealing, which Ealing Council supports, by Southall Community Alliance. You can find our more online at oneyouealing.org/moving

‘I decided to improve my fitness’

If you just want to try to add a bit more walking into your day-to-day lifestyle then local resident Nell Blane (pictured above walking with Councillor Hitesh Tailor, cabinet member for health and adult services) is a good source of inspiration. She started walking regularly as part of her daily routine to boost her health, and is now a health training co-ordinator.

She said: “I decided to improve my fitness and my first experimental step was to get off the bus one stop earlier on my way to work. Unfortunately, this method didn’t quite work for me because I was often in too much of a hurry, so I switched my experiment to the beginning of my journey and started walking to the next stop before I got on the bus. I was quickly able to gradually increase the length of my walk and in a few weeks I was regularly walking 2-3 miles to and from work.

“Making this change has no doubt improved my fitness, but it’s also given me the confidence to look more closely at my diet and make some experimental changes there too. I found I enjoyed the walking time. It’s something I used to do as a teenager when I was stressed out, and it definitely helps me manage my stress levels, process things and get a better perspective on life.

“I’m a health training co-ordinator with the borough’s public health service now. I’m training people to have effective conversations about lifestyle behaviours, particularly smoking, alcohol, physical activity, healthy eating and mental wellbeing. It’s called Making Every Contact Count. Part of this is helping people identify small steps to improve their lifestyles. Part of the training is to recognise that none of us is perfect – we all have room for improvement. I’m a good example of how a small step can escalate into a meaningful improvement.

“The Making Every Contact Count training is for any public or voluntary sector staff or volunteers who work with Ealing residents.

“But anyone can make positive health choices and changes towards a longer and happier life – you can contact OneYou Ealing on 0300 456 0556, email oneyouealing@nhs.net or visit www.oneyouealing.org

‘Walking is underrated’

Councillor Hitesh Tailor, the council’s cabinet member for health and adult services, walks to Ealing and Shepherds Bush regularly from his home in Acton.

He said: “Walking is underrated as a form of exercise. It is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active. Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, asthma, stroke and some cancers; and it improves our mental health.

“In fact, a recent report by the Ramblers and Macmillian Cancer Support found that regular walking could save 37,000 lives each year. It could also lead to nearly 300,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes. The report shows walking to be a great way to fulfil the 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise every week recommended by the UK’s chief medical officer. And, best of all, walking is enjoyable – and free.”

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