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Meet the walkers: Elena

Elena, a Graduate Trainee at Paths for All, shares her experience of taking part in the Step Count Challenge, and how she's including more activity in her busy working day.

Published: 20/11/2023

I’m a graduate trainee with Paths For All and I’m about 5 months into my year long placement with them. This is my first step count challenge and so far I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a great encouragement to get out the door and think about how much I’m moving during the day. I know of all the benefits of being active and getting outside as much as possible, and I feel the benefits during and after doing it, but still sometimes need that little kick of motivation, which the step count challenge has been great for.

The challenge has also come at a good time. During September and into October I was pretty ill for around 6 weeks. During this time, I wasn’t able to go for long walks, to the gym, for runs, cycles, or anything really, and so I lost a lot of fitness. The past few weeks I have been trying to slowly increase my levels of activity again and build back some fitness, and trying to increase my steps has been a big part of this. I find that brisk walking and walking up hills can be a good way to work on fitness. Research has also shown that it can negate the negative effects of sitting down for long periods of time, which as someone who’s job is very desk based, is important.

There are several things that I’ve found that help me be more active during the day. I always walk or cycle for everyday journeys- to the shops, to the office, to the gym, to nearby nature and greenspaces, and to visit friends- which is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into my day. Whenever I go home to visit my family, we have a dog who loves long walks, so that’s a great motivator to get out. When catching up with friends or family in person or on the phone, I try to do this while walking when possible.

As well as the physical benefits, I find going out for a walk, even for 10/ 15 minutes helps me mentally. A short walk before work sets up my brain for the day and allows me to be more focused and productive, or a walk at the end of the working day allows me to decompress.