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