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Karen Middleton

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Update - 1st March 2012

Still walking up all escalators! Swimming 4 times a week has been really tough since Christmas and is back to once during the week and once at weekends but had said to myself that 1 March was the date to start aiming for 3 times per week and am going swimming this evening! Have got my husband and step son also swimming and my sister in law and niece have started too following discussions over Christmas!

24th August 2011

I have always been reasonably physically fit - using the gym and a bit of
running -  but during 2010, I really found every excuse for why I simply
could not find the time to exercise! Work was simply taking over and I was
too exhausted to do anything by the time I got home. And, of course, the
less active I was, the more tired I became. Being tall and relatively slim,
any weight gain wasn't noticeable either.

As a physiotherapist, you'ed think I'd know better and I am part of the
team working on the NHS 2012 Challenge - my lack of activity was like a
dirty secret!

One of my concerns about the NHS 2012 Challenge is to ensure that staff
don't automatically think this is about playing sport, but it is about
being more active. Other people's personal challenges have been about
running 10ks or half marathons or playing touch rugby or joining a local
hospital football league. All great if that's what appeals to you but for
many, it doesn't - or it does when it's sunny and the days are long but may
not feel sustainable in the dark days of winter. So as I came to the
conclusion I needed to really take a grip of my lack of physical activity,
I wanted to model something which may have more resonance for staff in the
NHS who feel sport is a step too far.

So, for the last 3 months I have got off the tube 3 stops earlier and
walked the rest of the way to my office. After only 2 weeks, I realised how
much more ready for the day I was when I arrived at work. Added to that, I
set the aim of walking up every escalator I encountered during my journies
to and from work and in any journey I undertook during work. I have to
admit that when I started, I could really only manage half of one of the
long escalators. Now I can managed 2 escalators but am seriously out of
breadth at the top of the second!

After 2 months, I lost half a stone! I also felt I wanted to do more, but
wanted a change from the gym. So I now swim 4 times each week (at least)
after work and at weekends. I pay £17 direct debit per month (discounted
rate as a public sector worker) to swim and use the sauna etc as many times
as I want. Going to the pool after work is not always easy, especially if
it's late, but I am now enjoying the feeling afterwards of having so much
more energy when I get home and I have the flexibility of going at any
time. I find swimming first thing on Saturdays is great to get the weekend
started and I literally tumble out of bed and go straight to the pool.
Sunday evenings are good for a swim and then a relaxing sauna before the
start of a busy week.

So I started with just increasing my walking, then my climbing of stairs
and then I added in my swimming. I've lost weight, feel more alert and am
sleeping better. So if you see  person huffing and puffing up the escalator
who has a slight odour of chlorine, give me a word of encourgagement!

Karen Middleton
Chief Health Professions Officer
Professional LeadershipTeam