Story by Maxwell A. Ayamba
Last issue, we featured a review of the play ‘Black Men Walking’. Maxwell Ayamba was a member of the group the play was based upon. He tells us about it here.
The Walk for Health Group, which was originally called the 100 Black Men Walk for Health, derived its name from the “Million Man March – The Untold Story” in the USA. The idea was not to make any political statement, but to use health walks to promote people’s health, well-being and love of the British countryside.
Most middle-aged black men tend to lead sedentary lifestyles due to urbanisation and cultural severance. As tropical beings, the lack of exposure to the sun has tremendous impact on their health and well-being. They are more susceptible to all kind of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, vitamin D deficiency and mental health issues.
Most diets of black people are high in carbohydrates, sugar, fat and salt – all of which contribute to ill health, especially when combined with lack of regular exercise. Our group want to inspire other people who are ‘genetically tropical’ but living in a temperate climate, to take up walking as a preventive measure. The Walk for Health group has been active since 2004 and we have over forty people on our database. It has now broadened to include women and young people. In that time we have scaled Ben Nevis, Scafell, Kinder Scout, Mount Tor, all across the Peak District National Park and beyond.
Our groups have been supported by the generous donations from Gift Your Gear, which has for two seasons been donating equipment to help and encourage more people to go walking. This is a great resource because outdoor gear is quite expensive and without it the outdoors can be very unfriendly.