Jean Hedden, 75, said: “I found out about Walkfit as I am always walking solo in the park to keep fit and saw the ‘top notchers’ doing press ups and the like in the mud and thought ‘no not for me far too energetic if not impossible!’ But then I saw this jolly group of older men and women laughing and walking – purposefully I hasten to add – and having a good time so I enquired of one of them and they said come and join in, so I did, and the rest, as they say, is history!
“I had been wanting to do some exercise in the open air for ages. I don’t like gyms and all those machines and the tacit competitiveness of them, but walking alone was less than inspiring, so here was the answer. Although I don’t manage three times a week as sometimes ‘life’ gets in the way, it is there to dip into and out as and when and if you compare 12 times a month for £25.00, the value is amazing.
“The instructors are uniformly good, adapting easily it seems from the higher level to our ‘less than high level,’ with a good sense of humour and loads of patience, as we are incredibly talkative and sometimes it is hard for them to make themselves heard – indeed we call ourselves ‘talkfit!’
“The exercises cover all parts of the body, together with hand and eye coordination routines and sometimes a power walk in the wooded areas of the park. We are encouraged to work at our own speed and within our personal limitations and we are treated as individual grown-ups who know best about our own bodies. There’s no criticism of how much or how little we can achieve so it’s a very encouraging and friendly community, promoting a positive and cooperative atmosphere with people becoming friends albeit only for an hour each time. And as many of us are local we see each other out and about which helps the sense of community for us as retirees beyond the obvious value of the exercise.
“It goes without saying that walking, swimming etc. and keeping fit in the later years is essential and the whole philosophy of the scheme also encourages our emotional and psychological health as well. And socially, we often have coffee after the hour’s activity.
I am very enthusiastic about the whole set up and think the concept excellent and well carried out and recommend it to friends all the time.”