How walking could improve your well-being this lockdown
- Credit: Melanie Sturman
Whether it's 10 minutes or two miles, Norfolk walkers have been improving their wellbeing during the third national lockdown, with help from an online community.
‘Walking for Well-being' is a Facebook page set up by Thetford nurse Melanie Sturman, who wanted to help get people moving in the new year.
Ms Sturman, who is also Thetford’s Parkrun coordinator, said she wanted to provide a space just for walkers, where they could be supported by other group members during lockdown.
The 50-year-old said: “I set the group up at the end of last year after thinking, ‘how we can motivate people in January?’
“I guessed that we would be going into a lockdown and everyone usually makes New Year's resolutions or moans about putting Christmas weight on.
“So, I thought this would be a great way to encourage people to go out for a walk, feel part something and still be safe.”
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With nearly 300 members so far, Ms Sturman said anyone was invited to join the page, where walkers share what they have done and post photos – no matter how small it may be.
Jeanette McLoughlin is a walker and member from Wymondham who has been regularly posting on the page.
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She said walking had helped to improve her mental health during lockdown and “loves” the support from the Walking for Well-being community.
The 53-year-old said: “For me during the first lockdown I was really stressed. I didn’t want to go out or do anything.
“Eventually my husband got me out walking and I felt the benefit of it so much.
“I was so happy when Mel set up this group because there is much around for runners, but not so much for walkers.
“I go out for a walk, come back and post it on the group. It’s really lovely. You don’t have to run a half marathon; you can walk 2 miles and everyone is rooting for you.
“There is so much kindness and there is no pressure. Some people walk a fair way and others just walk to the post box.
“And everyone takes beautiful photographs. It’s so uplifting.”
Ms Sturman, who has raised thousands of pounds for local charities since the pandemic began, added: “We are nearly a year into this and people are really struggling,
“Even if you just go out for 10 or 15 minutes, it’s just about encouraging people to get out and share their pictures and stories.
“And it’s perfect to take some time for yourself.”
To join the group, visit the Walking for Well-being Facebook page here, https://www.facebook.com/Walking-for-well-being-103331825031275.