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- "How Can Walking Help You Stay Fit and Make a Difference for Charity?"

This post is about a walking challenge I came across and why I'm walking for Jack and CCLG.

First though I will share a little about me and SAD.

If you haven't heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) its a seasonal form of depression.

I have never been a "winter" person and my mood often deteriorates around November as the days become darker and I begin feeling more tired and lethargic.

During spells of really long dark days I have little inclination to do anything and often eat as a form of comfort causing me to gain weight and making me feel even worse!

Re discovering my love of art has helped me a lot but with Covid and SAD I was becoming really unfit and overweight as I hardly walked anywhere or did anything in winter.

At the beginning of the year I had a conversation with someone on Twitter and we touched on the topic of "winter blues". He encouraged me to have a goal of walking every day and recommended I take a look at Country Walking magazine as inspiration.

I must confess I was sceptical, how on earth would this help I wondered but I decided to give it a go and ordered a copy of the magazine.

I eagerly awaited its arrival and what I read when it arrived was a true light bulb moment for me.

I read about the walk 1000 miles 2022 challenge and how people who had completed this in previous years had literally changed their lives. People were fitter, happier and had discovered the true joy of being outside whatever the weather ! I decided that I had to do this for my physical health and my mental health..

The challenge is not set in stone, its there to motivate and you can count all the steps you do in a day or just record your walks "boots on". I made the decision to count the miles I did boots on !

I began this journey on January 23rd.

When I told my son about my challenge, he was very supportive, and suggested as extra motivation that I raised funds for charity and mentioned CCLG (Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group) as his boss's little boy was battling illness.

Jack wasn't quite 1 when he was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Hystiocytosis, please visit the fundraising page and read Jack's moving story via the link below.

Of course I was only too happy to fund raise for this great cause, now I was not only walking to beat SAD and get fit but more importantly I was Walking for Jack too.

The first week I walked just over 10 miles, my biggest challenge was my breathing !

I got out of breath so quickly and hills were a nightmare for me but I was out there in the wet and cold and beginning to enjoy the experience.

I also had donations coming in from people which I was so grateful for.

As I walked I decided to take photographs to record my journey, below are 2 pics from my local walk, you will be able to see many more as I visit new places.

Photo of Ancient Boundary Oak in Chippenham Wiltshire
Chippenham Old Oak

Photo of section of River Avon in Chippenham Wiltshire
River Avon

After a month I had walked over 40 miles, with the support of my amazing husband, not a huge total but it was massive for me !

Already I was feeling fitter and my breathing was much better, I also had fewer aches and pains.

Another big factor for me though was that I wanted to go out walking in any weather and I was feeling happier, whenever I feel anxious due to happenings around the world etc I know that getting out into nature will help. Nature is a great healer.

Of course knowing that I am Walking for Jack keeps me going, getting wet and muddy is nothing compared to what Jack and others are going through. I have set a goal to raise £1000 by the time I have walked 1000 miles. I know times are really tough but any donations are appreciated so much.

Throughout my journey I shall also be creating some watercolour sketches which will be on sale with profits going to the fund. Below is my first sketch of the beautiful tree I see nearly every day as seen in the photo above. Sketches for sale

Watercolour sketch of ancient oak Sue O'Sullivan
Watercolour Sketch No 1 Old Oak

Please follow my blog for tales of my travels and details of sketches for sale.

I'd love to hear anyone else's experience of how walking has changed their lives so feel free to message me.

Time for a walk I think...........

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