Meet the Letchworth 'jive walker' given new lease of life with quirky exercise

PUBLISHED: 16:05 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:05 29 May 2019

The group joined Mark on the upbeat walk around St Christopher School playing field in Letchworth. Picture: Courtesy of Mark Edwards

The group joined Mark on the upbeat walk around St Christopher School playing field in Letchworth. Picture: Courtesy of Mark Edwards

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A Letchworth 'jive walker' - who has lost four stone since taking up the exercise - is encouraging others to get involved with the uplifting workout and donate to the British Heart Foundation after successful heart surgery.

Mark Edwards enlisted friends and family to take up JiveWalking on Sunday. Picture: Courtesy of Mark EdwardsMark Edwards enlisted friends and family to take up JiveWalking on Sunday. Picture: Courtesy of Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards - who has been jive walking since January, after undergoing rejuvenating heart surgery last year - invited others to join him on Sunday for a walk and dance around Letchworth's St Christopher School playing field on Sunday.

The 55-year-old was diagnosed with chronic atrial fibrillation, a heart condition which causes an irregular heart rate,

Mark said: "I had been fortunate, and I was ecstatic. Many years of on and off AFib had left me feeling quite pessimistic about my future. I had recently become a grandfather, and I sometimes wondered just how long I could continue to live for.

"I was discharged the next day and began life again with my ticker beating away in sinus rhythm."

Mark has lost 4 stone since taking up JiveWalking. Picture: Courtesy of Mark EdwardsMark has lost 4 stone since taking up JiveWalking. Picture: Courtesy of Mark Edwards

With a now regular heartbeat, at 20 stone Mark decided to take up walking.

"I noticed that, as I walked, I found that certain songs energised me and inspired me enough to move in time with the rhythm," Mark continued.

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"With certain songs playing on my headphones I started dancing along as I walked."

Mark's daily exercise routine does not go unnoticed by passersby, with many motorists taking to beeping and waving for encouragement.

"I walk along a few busy main roads, and see the looks on people's faces - I get a lot of smiles and waves, which is a great response.

"Someone even wrote a lovely post on the We Love Hitchin Facebook group saying:'Who's that older gentleman who walks along dancing? It brightens my day up'.

"You can see it in my face that I'm coming back to life after being in the worst stage of the condition.

"You can jive walk on the streets, on a quiet country lane, in groups or even jive walk at home in your living room. It is the perfect exercise for those who don't enjoy hard exercise."

The group of 10 took to St Christopher School playing field on Sunday and managed 9,000 steps, using one of Mark's specially made playlists on Spotify - with each giving a small donation to the British Heart Foundation.

To find out more, including how to donate, go to facebook.com/TheJiveWalker.

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