65-year-old David Maughan thought his walking days were over after being diagnosed with early-onset arthritis. Now he's enjoying his walking more than ever...
Several years ago I was diagnosed with early arthritis in one hip. It was a bit of a shock as walking has been a major part of my life, having completed over 50 long-distance walks, written and had published a coast to coast guide book, and currently writing a walking blog. The first instinct was to stop and rest. But I soon found that made the arthritis worse and more painful.
So I carried on walking. And in fact I've managed it successfully since, still walking up to 15 miles in a day. The main change is that I no longer walk consecutive days with a backpack. Otherwise, I enjoy and appreciate my walking more than ever. Since joining the 1,000 mile group this year I've completed 851 miles by increasing and doing more short walks of 3-4 miles around my village to add to the weekly 10-15 mile walks I do each week. My main ambition is to keep walking....
When I started walking longer distances in the 1990s it was thought to be a little eccentric. But it’s great to see so many people are now enjoying its health benefits in the 1,000 mile challenge. My mother was a walker all her life and is now 94!
If I don't walk I don't enjoy life so much. Most of my close friends are also walkers. I love blogging and writing about my walks, including many photographs, as it brings the enjoyment of the walk back. It would be nice to think that my experiences of walking might encourage others to take up this wonderful activity. We all need a little distraction from the regular bad news on our TVs.
I'm now on my 52nd long-distance walk. There are lots to tackle in lovely Yorkshire. I’m not getting any younger and may have to reduce my mileage a little. I already have a library of shorter walks for the future, including many from Country Walking.
I am thoroughly enjoying all the conversations and posts on the 1,000 mile group. After so many years of walking I just want others to take it up and have similar great experiences to me. My advice to newcomers is always the same. Keep walking and keep within your limits and build up your fitness gradually. It is a lifetime activity not something you need to rush at.
• Have you got an inspiring story to tell about your journey to 1000 miles? Do you know someone who has? Here’s the link to our Q&A.