Mum, 59, goes hiking in just a bikini – Prompting jealous wives to tell walker husbands to keep away
A mum was inspired by a near-death experience to get ‘body confident’ and go on 20-mile hikes in just a BIKINI and boots – but jealous women have told their walker husbands to KEEP AWAY.
Ann Wheeler, from Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire, suffers from Cauda Equina syndrome – a rare spinal condition that can cause paralysis.
The 59-year-old mum of two claims that the post-op experience motivated her to take up walking and wild swimming as natural pain management as she believes it is as strong as traditional painkillers.
However Ann’s confidence crusade has been met with some criticism online with some women even ordering their walker husbands to steer clear of her.
Ann said: “They think because I wear a bikini I’m flaunting myself – not everyone takes their tops off on mountain tops.
“I took a week off work and was due to hike with some male walkers from Essex but they said they couldn’t because their wives had got wind of it.
“I went anyway because I’d taken time off work.”
All the exercise has also helped her ditch the pounds going from a size 16 to a slinky size 12 and she’s even been approached to pose for a naked charity calendar.
Ann said: “Life is for living. I’m doing it for me and for women to show they shouldn’t be ashamed of their bodies.
“A lot of women are knocked down so much because of their bodies.
“I was never confident with my body for years and hid it away and then when I got older I thought ‘to hell with it’.
“I’m 59 and I’d love to get other women doing it too. My friend thought I was a nutter doing it but it has a great feel-good factor.
“I got a lot of abuse because I’m in my bikini, they’re just jealous. They’ve judged me wrong – it’s totally out of order.
“The pain Cauda Equina leaves you with is horrible. I’m an old woman, an OAP, but I’ll keep walking and open-water swimming all through the year.
“It’s my mind that gets me through things. People look at me and think ‘she can’t be sick’ but they should try living in my body.”
Ann has been inundated with messages from women, particularly those with painful back problems, who’ve seen her achievements and cite her as an inspiration.
Ann said: “I think it’s lovely that people say I’m an inspiration, but I’m just doing something I like doing.”
After undergoing a gruelling five-hour op five years ago Ann explained she technically died after all her bodily functions shut down.
Ann said: “A male nurse helped me get out of bed the following day, I said I didn’t feel very well and the next thing I was out.
“I remember a doctor working on my chest. When I came to he said ‘welcome back, you’re back with us’.
“I also remember going down a black hole – it was then my bodily functions had shut down.
“I turned my life around after that – it took six months to get me walking again but now I can walk 78 miles in three days.”
Ann had to learn to use her legs again during a six-month recuperation period and, bored with staying indoors, decided to go for a stroll which turned into a ten-mile walk.
Since then she’s tackled all 214 Wainwrights in The Lake District and taken part in swimming challenges in mountain lakes.
Ann said: “Doing that turned my life around. Going walking and open-water swimming makes me better and I’m stronger even though I’m in pain every single day.
“Since I was a child I’ve always enjoyed open-water swimming.
“Some people can’t stand the cold but for me it’s therapy, I love cold water.
“I won’t take painkillers – the happy endorphins are the painkillers for me. I just love it – it makes me feel great.