Catherine Walks All Over Cancer Author: GUEST POST     
Date: 14th June 2019

We are told statistics all the time, but the one that sticks in my head the most is that one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. I think this is because whenever we hear it, we are inclined to look at whoever we are with and think: “one of us”. I suppose that is the point of a shocking statistic, but the reality is that each of us will be affected by cancer at some point, be it our own diagnosis or someone’s we know. As much as we’d want the statistic to be wildly inaccurate, cancer is so prevalent that we aren’t the least bit surprised.

Cancer Research UK’s goal is that, within the next 20 years, 75% of those diagnosed with cancer will survive. To help make this happen, I recently completed Cancer Research’s Walk All Over Cancer campaign. The campaign challenges fundraisers to reach a certain number of steps per day. It raises money for life-saving research through the promotion of active lifestyles, encouraging participants to get a little more movement into their days. I opted to complete 15,000 steps a day, for each day in March.

I totalled around:

  • 475,000 steps &
  • 225 miles

I’d consider myself an active person, but I found this quite difficult. Normally I’ll set aside time on my lunch break or in the evenings to get in a workout, go to yoga or walk my lovely black lab. Getting in enough steps throughout the day required careful planning, especially as I am office-based and commute up to 3 hours per day by car.

A day during the challenge would consist of a morning walk, a lunch-hour power-walk, and an afternoon walk. In between this I’d maximise my step count by:

  • Avoiding lifts and escalators (sadly there aren’t always stairs);
  • Parking as far away as possible from my destination and walking the rest of the way;
  • Ditching the majority of train, bus and Underground journeys and traveling on foot (the longest I did was nearly 5 miles);
  • Making (even more) trips to the kitchen for cups of tea.

And, if I still hadn’t reached my target, I’d squeeze in an evening run.

So, what’s the verdict?

Coming up to the end of the campaign, I stumbled across an article in a newspaper titled “Sitting in an office all day blamed for 1 in 9 deaths”. Catchy headline and tenuous link aside, I think it carries an important message about the risks of being sedentary that deep down we are aware of. Research is now suggesting that trying to offset a day of inactivity with an hour in the gym is not like for like and we need to have more regular activity. Rather than sitting and complaining about the lack of opportunity to move throughout my day, I’ve realised it is my own responsibility to prioritise it.

I am really thankful to this campaign for giving me a reason to be more active. Walking is especially helpful at work and I’ve noticed how much my productivity improves when my day is broken up with gentle exercise and fresh air. Moving forward, I will no longer monitor my step count and I will be glad to have diversity back in my exercise routine again. I will maintain my walking schedule and I’ll keep moving with a variety of other activities too.

Most of all I’m thankful to those who have generously donated to this cause. I have also received some lovely messages, which remind me just how important it is to raise money and awareness to help beat cancer.

Takeaway lessons

  • Take walking breaks to feel happier, more productive and refreshed on your return;
  • It’s always possible to walk more, try parking your car early and walking the rest of the way;
  • Be aware of all the ways our society and environments encourage us not to walk, and walk instead!

Feel free to donate to Cancer Research through my giving page:

Useful resources


By Catherine Ball, CW18 Trainee at Grand Union Housing Group


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