A million steps challenge has set one man on a path to transformation.
At an annual health check three years ago, Malcolm, who we support in Cornwall, was advised that it was very important for him to improve his health and fitness. Weighing 14 and a half stone, and with a family history of heart problems, Malcolm’s doctor was concerned about his health. Malcolm was keen to take his doctor’s advice and, together with his support staff, set about coming up with a healthy action plan.
Malcolm decided to take up walking and asked his support workers for help. Together they mapped out a route that Malcolm could navigate himself, and after a few practice laps with support staff, Malcolm was able to learn the route and complete it on his own. At first, Malcolm needed a little bit of encouragement, but he soon started to enjoy the challenge. Staff began to notice that not only was he losing weight but the walking was also having a positive effect on his mental health by reducing his anxiety. Before long, Malcolm was setting off for walks every day without any prompting.
Now that Malcolm was a serious walker, staff supported him to go shopping for a new pair of walking shoes. The team took him to different sports shops where he tried on many different pairs of shoes until he found the perfect fit. Sporting his brand new trainers, Malcolm proudly took to the streets once more. Shortly afterwards it was time for his next annual check up. Malcolm’s weight was now down to just over 12 stone. A nurse checked his BMI and advised that according to his age, weight, and height, Malcolm’s ideal weight would be around 11 and a half stone. Encouraged by his success so far, Malcolm now had a target weight to aim for.
Staff were eager to support Malcolm on his fitness journey, so they arranged for Malcolm to be given a Fitbit. With their support, Malcolm learned how to use the Fitbit to count his steps and was excited to see how many steps he had completed every day. Having daily goals really spurred him on and staff were very impressed with how much effort Malcolm was putting in. Seeing how determined he was, a member of staff suggested Malcolm take on a ‘million steps challenge’, which he accepted without hesitation.
To help Malcolm to understand such a big number, staff created a million steps chart, marking off every 25,000 step milestone with stickers. As Malcolm continued to smash his targets, the deal was sweetened with the promise of a big chocolate cake when he reached a million steps. Now, walking had become fun and Malcolm was not only feeling good but learning about the importance of diet and exercise. He was feeling proud of himself and wanted to show everyone that he could reach his target.
The day finally came when Malcolm took that fantastic one millionth step. Staff and friends were on hand to cheer him home and presented him with a certificate of achievement, and of course the chocolate cake! Malcolm is so proud of his great achievement, having walked the equivalent of 445 miles and losing three stone along the way. He has put his certificate on display in his room as a reminder of all his hard work and continues to keep fit and active in his new lifestyle.
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“This was a hard challenge because I did find it was taking a longer time than I thought it would, so I had to be patient. I started to go for small walks when I was feeling stressed because it gave me time to clear my head. I found that I really enjoyed the walking and getting outside after being inside for so long because of the virus. Then I started to use a chart so I could see what I had done. I really looked forward to asking staff how many steps I had done at the end of the day and filling in my chart. I feel really proud of myself and still enjoy going for walks. I might be joining a walking group soon which is good news. Next year when the weather is better I am thinking about doing another walking challenge but this time for charity.”
Malcolm’s support worker Tegan Martin said:
“This achievement means so much to Malcolm and the team. He has worked so hard on this. Despite his first doubts, Malcolm stayed committed to his goal and used his chart to see himself get closer and closer to his target, which was fantastic to see. This has been a really positive experience for Malcolm where he has been able to find a form of exercise that he really enjoys and develop it further. We are so proud of his achievement!”