“I needed to feel settled, build up my confidence and to have a good routine in place.”

Susan chooses to walk every week with Gayle, a Walking Engagement Worker at Health for All in Leeds. The weekly walks have helped her to manage her many health conditions, including Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. She has grown in confidence, settled into her forever home, and her favourite part of the walks are putting the world to rights with Gayle.


I have various issues with my health, which has left me feeling very frustrated with my body, and at times, my mental health has really suffered. In 2021, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), which is a long-term condition that causes pain all over my body.Last year, I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) so I have trouble breathing.

I also have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) in my wrists, inflammation in my knees, asthma and I’m pre diabetic. So there’s a lot going on physically and mentally for me, which can be extremely exhausting and has been very debilitating for a long time.

I had a couple of falls due to my illnesses, and I was really worried I’d need to move house as my current home didn’t accommodate my needs. I’d moved around all my life, because I was in care when I was younger. I realised more than anything through all of this that I needed to feel settled, build up my confidence and to have a good routine in place. My weekly walks with Gayle are a large part of this. 

For the weekly walk Gayle comes to my house in Middleton, and we usually do a few laps around where I live. I walk with a crutch, so being able to just take my time and enjoy our chats means the world to me. We really put the world to rights when we meet and I always look forward to seeing Gayle and catching up. 

“It’s lovely to be able to be really open and honest with Gayle, whether I’m feeling a little better, or a little lower from one week to the next. It doesn’t matter where I am or how I’m feeling – Gayle always meets me where I need her to and gives me that extra nudge to keep going.”

I’ve been doing the weekly walks now for 18 weeks and my confidence has really started to grow. Walking is so good for my health and it’s also low impact, which means I can go at my own pace and enjoy the fresh air whilst saying hello to people in my community along the way!