By Gill Stewart at
Chandrika Hirani had not left her house for three years after a period of depression was further impacted by COVID lockdowns
As she does not drive or work, her world simply shrank to her own 4 walls and she began to lose the confidence to even speak to strangers, let along meet them. She knew that she needed to do something and began googling walking groups with her Husband, Praxy. Even though they found their local WALX Preston group and had a voucher for a free session, it took further contact from the group leader Matt Gibbs and the chance to join for a 6 week total body walking programme before Chandrika took that first step.
Chandrika pictured here, told us
I kept telling myself I needed to get out there, I had the shoes, the coat and everything….except the confidence. Then Matt sent me details of his 6 week lifestyle plan and both Praxy and I signed up because I knew I had to take the first step and could try out a number of walks. I am so glad I did because when we arrived Matt made sure he introduced us to the others in the group and they were all so welcoming. It was WONDERFUL, I enjoyed the walk but I also spoke to strangers instead of relying on Praxy to speak for me. I loved it so much I was determined to book into as many walks as I could to make sure I kept it up. The next day I met Di one of the group walk leaders and it was AMAZING, she had so much energy and was an inspiration. When I got home Praxy actually said “What’s happened to you, you are like a different person” I felt as if I could make a new friend on every walk which is actually what has happened. I have never met such lovely people and i have never been outside in nature so much.
Chandrika felt that all of the walkers had been supportive, offering her lifts and guidance. She reported that her confidence had soared but she was also feeling more energetic, healthier and toned too. At the end of the 6 weeks, which included fact sheets with lifestyle tips, she had lost weight, felt stronger and told us ….
I have gone from an unfit asthmatic who struggled to walk a mile to somebody who is not breathless and even tackling hills with the support of the group. I actually think it’s all down to confidence and that I used the breathing as an excuse before.
She and Praxy have now joined the WALX Preston group and intend to explore places they never thought off. They have heard about the trips, challenges and festivals and feel that there is so much for them to aspire too. Chandrika’s final words to us were……..
This has literally changed my life! This walking is like a drug, I’m actually addicted to it and it makes me happier than I have been for a long time. My friends and Family have noticed the difference too.
Matt told us
I’m really proud of Chandrika for taking that first step ! I’m also impressed with Praxy for supporting Chandrika both in get started but more so in encouraging her to get out as much as possible, even without himself.
I’m proud of Di, Steph and the whole WALX Preston team for supporting Chandrika, offering lifts to walks, even organising a Go Ape day (pictured) Big thanks and well done to all our members for just being their open, friendly and supportive selves and making the experience for Chandrika one that she wanted to repeat.
It’s a win win win. I love it ! Well done everyone.