Brighton Walks

I’ve been having a good time in Brighton. Monday and Tuesday was spent just walking around town. Both days I did about 8 miles, which for urban walking is rather good for me – I would normally do only half of that on a day out.

This actually fits in with my memories of Brighton and Hove. When I lived here, I used to walk everywhere, and thought nothing of it. Since moving away, I tend to walk a lot less, which is a major contribution to my weight. The fact of the matter is, it is easy to walk in and around Brighton and Hove, because it is all connected up with interesting stuff – unless you go out of your way to go down back streets and residential, there are no boring walks in the town

Walking along the sea front yesterday, there is a bench every 50 yards or so. Strangely, this means I am less likely to stop and take a breather, as there is always another bench not far off. And – hey presto – before you know it, you are at your destination, and you realise you haven’t stopped after all.

However, I admit that I have felt it afterwards. Last night, I was planning to go to the Brighton board game group’s Tuesday session, but I got back to my room, and couldn’t summon the energy to go out again. Not wishing to completely do myself in, I took the car out this morning and went for a drive out to Rottingdean, where I had an excellent fish lunch (baked, not in batter!). I’m meeting an old friend for dinner tonight, so I am taking an hour or so in my room to chill out, and then I am going to go out and take the bus back into town for another walk around the North Laines before going out to Hove for a curry.

The following is about the practicalities of walking for someone of my size, and may be Too Much Information for some folk, so feel free to skip it.

Over the past couple of years, I have been trying to walk more, as I used to. I am fairly convinced that my weight issues are more related to (lack of) exercise than diet – while I admit I do splurge occasionally, I generally eat sensibly and not to excess. Indeed, when I do manage to keep the walking up, I find the weight falls off me.

So what stops me? The thing that limits my walking most is not tiredness, or stamina. It is chafing. Large thighs have a habit of rubbing against each other, and – more significantly – other parts of the male anatomy that hangs in the vicinity of the inner thigh. Furthermore, like a foot blister, it is not something you notice happening until the damage is done.

The first time I suffered from this badly, it was so painful, I thought I had done myself a major injury. Inspection with a carefully held mirror showed that it was fairly negligible. But oh how it hurt, especially the next day, when I found myself walking a bit like John Wayne.

I have seen my doctor about this, and he has prescribed various creams which soothes the area and lets it heal, but has no suggestion for what I can do to avoid it, other than “when it is like that, don’t walk”. In the next breath, he says “you are obese, you need to get more exercise”.

I’ve tried a number of things. Well fitting underwear is a must, although not that easy to find – most companies that do underwear in my size seem to think that their customers want it to be shapeless and baggy, where what we need is support. I spent a while trying to find out if anyone in the UK sold cycling shorts in “big” sizes, but without much luck. Vaseline works for a while, but is a bit messy and gets gunky after a few hours.

This trip I have been trying out BodyGlide, which is a “anti-chaf balm”, that comes in the form of a giant chap-stick. It is a non-greasy skin lubricant, easy to apply with no mess, and it is sweat resistant. It has helped me an awful lot, and though I have still suffered a little, I think that is down to my not applying enough of it when I first started.

It seems a bit weird talking about stuff like this on a public blog, but one thing I have discovered is that I am not the only guy who suffers in this way. However, we all suffer in silence, though whether through embarrassment, or delicacy I’m not sure. However, having discovered something that I think might work well, I thought I would share.


  1. May 5, 2010

    It doesn’t just happen to men. I have fat thighs, and that’s one of the things that eventually made me stop wearing skirts in summer. Because you can’t (unless you want to sweat like a pig) wear tights in summer (OK, you can if you want to (not you personally…? *g*) but *I* can’t!). So when wearing a skirt I ended up with very sore inner thighs, at the top. I gave up and now wear trousers pretty much all year round – warm ones in winter, cotton ones in summer – and NO tights, and am much more comfortable. (If it’s absolutely freezing in winter and I have to be outside, say at an archery shoot, I have some leggings I can put on underneath as an extra layer.)

    My own problem with exercise is that I’d love to do more, particularly walking, but my legs and lungs seem to keep taking it in turns to gang up on me and conspire to prevent it!

  2. May 6, 2010

    Cycling shorts often have sewn-in padded inserts which are designed to be comfortable when sitting on a saddle but might well make chafing worse when walking for long in them.
    There’s a type of cycling product called “chamois cream” (or creme) designed to reduce chafing when cycling long distances, named because traditional cycling shorts had the insert made of chamois leather, but the BodyGlide you’ve already found sounds a better solution.
    (I haven’t tried it, but I’m not cycling 5 hours sportives –

  3. Jo
    May 6, 2010

    I used to have this problem back when I was in my late teens/early twenties – which is odd, ‘cos I’ve been a lot fatter in later life than I ever was then! One thing (you probably know this) to avoid is nylon! Cotton or other specialised breathable fabrics are the only way to go. A liberal dusting with talcum powder prior to exercise can help, because it’s the sweat that causes the chafing. Also look into creams designed to alleviate nappy rash (yes, seriously).

    Personally, I’m about to get a new pushbike (or perhaps replacement parts for my old rusty one), because I developed shin splints and now worry about them re-occuring if I walk more than 2 miles at a time. I don’t fancy being stuck 2 miles from home in agony! Cycling would seem to be a good way round the problem!

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