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Meet the Walkers: Fiona McQueen CBE

Fiona McQueen CBE, former Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland and Step Count Challenge regular, tells us about how taking part in the challenge has helped her find new routines to build walking and activity into her day.

Published: 25/04/2022

A photo of a woman from the shoulders up, with short brown hair, brightly patterned top standing against a grey patterned backdrop

We are what we Repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an Act, but a Habit...

For me that saying epitomises my experience of Step Count Challenge and my habits of walking. Although I had always enjoyed physical activity, I struggled to fit it in to my day-to-day life.

So, when I came across Paths for All’s Step Count Challenge it whetted my curiosity. I was the Chief Nursing Officer for Scottish Government and I had recently launched the Nursing Vision, which amongst other things, highlighted the importance of nurses’ health and wellbeing. The Step Count Challenge I felt was a great way to publicly demonstrate commitment and ease of increasing physical activity. And as they say, the rest was history. 

Social media allowed teams to compare progress and pace each other to excellence. And of course, what could be easier than throwing on a pair of comfortable shoes, going out the door and walking?

I took Peter Drucker’s saying ‘If you can't measure it, you can’t change it’ to heart, and my fitness tracker became my new best friend. An extra walk round the block or walking while talking on the phone (Teams meetings unfortunately has meant the demise of phone calls for many) all contributed to increasing my steps. That same fitness tracker also showed me the connection with sleep, resting heart rate, and my steps, which in turn encouraged me to walk more.

Taking part in the Challenge also challenged my beliefs about how far I could walk and just how easy it was to fit in to day-to-day life. Recently retired and now working part time, the habit of walking has stayed with me; to the station, the shops, all fitting in with day-to-day life, as well as that more leisurely walk to the beach.