Walking to get fit after 50: Kevin's story

Kevin Ibbertson, 58, found that his love for walking helped him recover after his heart attack. He shares his story.

Kevin Ibbertson out walking

When Kevin Ibbertson, 58, suffered a heart attack in October 2012 it came as a shock. But his passion for walking helped him make a speedy recovery. “It was completely unexpected – my job as a bank manager was quite stressful, but I was comfortable with my lifestyle,” says Kevin, from Broughton in North Lincolnshire. “I’d had slightly high cholesterol, but reduced this through diet.”

Daily breaks from the office resulted in me having a much healthier and more positive mental outlook

He was treated with medications, which he still takes today, and advised to attend an eight-week cardiac rehabilitation programme followed by circuit training sessions, eat a low-fat diet and gradually increase his exercise.

Kevin went back to work on a phased return four weeks later, and began a daily walking routine.

“I was walking at least three miles per day, four days a week,” he says. “These daily breaks from the office resulted in me having a much healthier and more positive mental outlook, and the increased fitness levels gave me a much better feeling of wellbeing.” He also lost around 12lb (5.4kg).

Kevin Ibbertson playing golf

Enjoying retirement and staying active

Two and a half years later, Kevin seized the opportunity to retire early and fill his life with walking, voluntary activities, DIY, holidays, golf and time with his family.

He completed a Walking for Health course with a friend from his village, and the pair set up a walking group. “We now have over 100 people registered,” says Kevin. “I enjoy seeing the pleasure that walking brings to others.”

He now leads Rotary Club members on monthly walks, too. He also recently walked 34 miles for the BHF’s My Marathon, finishing in 10.5 hours and raising £1,200, and acted as a guide to Kieran Sandwell on part of his BHF coast walk.

“I thought the heart attack would be life-changing,” says Kevin. “But I haven’t let it get in the way of anything.”

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