Isobel Boyle enjoys the social side to walking

4th June 2004 at 01:00
How do you keep fit?

I love walking, and I do yoga.

What got you started?

I'm not at all sporty. "Games" don't interest me. But as I got older, and with a sedentary job, I realised I needed to do something more active.

Walking seemed easy. I could do it by myself and it's free.

Why walking and yoga?

The yoga's because I'm a bit stiff and I want to keep supple to keep walking - it's the walking I love. I like being out in the country. My school's in the city centre; there's nothing, not even a playing field, so a change of scene is important. And it's very inclusive: depending on who I'm with, the walk can be easy or difficult, long or short, and it's just as much fun.

How do you make time?

I walk to and from school every day, about four miles. At weekends I make time for a longer walk. Yoga can be less attractive, so sometimes I'll put it off.

Have you felt the benefits?

Walking definitely keeps me fit. It's not just the physical side that's important: it's social. You choose who you go with and it's a good way of spending time with friends.

Any downsides?

Yoga's not social at all. You pay your money, go to the class, go home.

It's silent and can be soulless.

How active are your colleagues?

A few times a year, a group of us will go for a walking weekend. I've been at the school 15 years and over that time we've built up a dedicated core.

We might cover 20 miles in a day.The activities at school tend to slot into age groups. Young staff go to a gym, the middle-aged run and older people walk.

Healthy hint?

Walk to school. It doesn't impinge on your time and, even if your weekends are busy, you can still keep it up.

Isobel Boyle, 52, is a school administrator at St Aloysius College, Glasgow. For tips and ideas on personal fitness go to: www.tes.co.ukgetactive

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