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Meet the walkers: Charu

Charu, a member of team No Mean Feet from the University of Strathclyde, shares why she decided to take part in this year's spring Step Count Challenge, and the joy she finds in spending time outdoors.

Published: 01/08/2023

What do you enjoy the most about being active outdoors?

There is something magical about being outdoors. It seems like every step infuses a fresh energy in every little cell of my body and vivifies my soul. I love to observe and document the surroundings – the changes that every season brings, how trees, plants and shrubs adorn a different appearance every season. It is nature’s way of telling humankind that change is the only permanent thing, and one must embrace it.

In John Muir’s words – “Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Why did you decide to take part in the Step Count Challenge?

I have always been an avid walker. When I came across the challenge, I was instantly drawn to it. I also felt that participating might motivate me to go further, explore places and push my limits and so it did! I have never walked for more than 10-12km usually but with the challenge I built up my endurance gradually and my average went up to 15-20km. Moreover, it gave me an opportunity to combine my favourite activities together - cycling and walking.

Tell us about your favourite place to connect with nature. What makes it special?

It would be the Kilpatrick hills hike to Loch Humphrey and beyond. Packed with an ample dose of adventure, the hike offers stunning scenery, incredible views of lovely Glasgow city and an indescribable experience. The last day of the challenge happened to be my birthday. I wanted to do something memorable. So, as a family, we cycled together to the foot of the hills and then hiked. A moment I am going to cherish forever.

What's your top tip for keeping active during the working day?

Just do it! Step outside as much as you can. With busy lifestyles and priorities, it does get difficult to take time out for a walk or be outdoors, but every minute in nature is truly worth it. Keep exploring.