Charity PR photography, Love for walking helps Inverness local find his voice

Love for walking helps Inverness local find his voice

Paths for All Press releases

Love for walking helps Inverness local find his voice

Paths for All Press releases
Charity PR photography, Love for walking helps Inverness local find his voice

AN inspirational story of how walking saved an Inverness local’s life on two occasions has been displayed in an online exhibition recognising people who champion the joy of everyday walking.

Previous Head of BBC Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski found a love for walking 10 years ago after struggling with various health issues.

Jeff was diagnosed with mouth cancer and after nine hours of surgery and weeks in hospital, he returned to walking not only for his physical health, but to regain his speech.

During Jeff’s daily walks, he would practice tongue twister exercises given by a speech therapist to help his recovery.

 Jeff’s story has been shared as part of Scotland’s Walking Charity, Paths for All’s “Humans of the Walk” gallery showcasing the immense impact everyday walking can have on our health, wellbeing and the environment as COP26 is underway in Glasgow.

58-year-old Jeff said: “Walking has completely changed my life. I was suffering from various health issues and went to the doctors for advice, it was recommended I take up walking and I’ve never looked back.

“When I began walking I lost a lot of weight and improved my general wellbeing, and crediting walking for saving my life.

“Fast forward a few years and I was diagnosed with mouth cancer, after an intense recovery period I found myself leaving hospital in the middle of a pandemic, with reduced speech ability.

“I was determined not to let this hamper my quality of life, and so I used walking to practise exercises given to me by an NHS therapist. Many of these involved the kind of tongue twisters we used to have fun with as kids.

“It was less embarrassing to spout these when alone in the countryside or along the riverbank when no one else was around.

“The outdoors can help to unwind, forget worries and for me, I can think more creatively to solve problems.

“My wife always says I’m happier when I come back from a walk and it is true. We should all make time to switch off from the world and enjoy the nature around us.

“It is one of the other reasons I actually choose to walk. Our country is so beautiful and I don’t want to be a contributor to spoiling the beauty.”

Jeff is a trained Health Walk Leader with Paths for All and works with Partnership for Wellbeing as the Charity Manager and is responsible for community transport and group health walks.

He added: “The outdoors and nature has helped me become more creative. I used to listen to audio books during my walks and I walked that much I began to run out. That’s when I decided I’d have a go at writing my own book which is called “Travels from my Twilight Zone”.

“Since my initial health issues, I’ve become a walking advocate and would encourage people to think about taking it up. Even if you decide to actively travel a short journey instead of taking the car, it all adds up!”

Images captured by the talented photographer Rebecca Holmes and her team, bring to life individual stories of overcoming challenges, connecting to our natural world and feeling our best.

Nine individual stories have been captured in locations all across Scotland from different ages and abilities.        

Reducing car travel for short journeys is an important step that Scotland must take to tackle the climate emergency, as car journeys are responsible for 39% of transport emissions.

The charity is determined to promote walking and wheeling as the default choices for short journeys or as part of longer public transport journey to make a happier, healthier and greener Scotland.

Kevin Lafferty, Chief Executive Officer at Paths for All, said: “We can all ‘do our bit’ for climate change by walking or wheeling more often to reduce our carbon footprint, while improving our physical and mental health.

“As COP26 is taking place in Glasgow we want walking to be recognised for what it is – a planet-saving, health-improving force, free and accessible to everyone.

“As a charity, we want to revolutionise the way people use their cities, and stop our spaces from being dominated by cars. Scotland’s towns and cities should be a backdrop for people walking, wheeling, cycling or simply spending time enjoying cleaner, quieter, calmer streets.

“The people who have been featured in Humans of the Walk show just how wide an impact our own individual actions can have – so think of what we could accomplish together.”

Paths for All’s mission is to support people in Scotland to be active every day, everywhere.

The charity works to create more opportunities and better environments for everyone in Scotland, no matter who they are or where they live, to stay active through walking, wheeling or cycling. To find out more about Path’s for All, visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/

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