A Walking Group Can Keep Your Exercise Routine on Track

Organizing a walking group to stay fit: it’s easier than you think.

Are falling snowflakes slowing down your fitness momentum? As temperatures fall and days grow short, it can be difficult to stick to an exercise routine. Organizing a walking group is a great way to stay on track with friendly support through the winter months.

Regular exercise is only one of the benefits that comes with being part of a walking group. Walking with others is safer than walking alone, and you may be a lot more motivated to get out of bed when someone is waiting for you and holding you accountable. Besides, social walking is a great way to stay in touch with longtime pals, and make new friends.

Starting your own walking group is easy.  The first step is to

Spread the word.

Propose the idea to friends, neighbors, family, or co-workers. You might be surprised by the response. Most people know they’d benefit from being more active, and appreciate the value of a convenient solution with group support. And remember—the numbers don’t matter. You’ll get as much benefit walking for an hour with one partner as you will walking with five friends.

Get organized.

Once you have a group of interested members, get together to exchange contact information and plan your walking schedule. You’ll want to cover the following details to establish a predictable routine:

-How many days per week will you meet to walk?

-What time will you meet, and how long will you walk?

-Will you walk outdoors, or inside at a mall or through a skyway system?

-What’s your plan in case of bad weather?

Build flexibility into your plans to accommodate unexpected emergencies, illness, and occasional conflicting work schedules. If your group is large, you might want to consider breaking into smaller groups based on location and compatible fitness levels.

Stay motivated.

Once your group’s routine is established, you might consider creating incentives to keep your fitness momentum going. Your group may want to expand the fun by entering charity walking events together. Some groups set goals to increase their walking time or the distance they cover in each session. Keeping track of the distance you walk can be a source of inspiration; it’s quite a sense of accomplishment to realize how many miles you are walking every week. One group created their own facebook page and logged their miles daily and then charted a make-belive course on a map to demonstrate their walk could take them, virtually.  They enjoyed seeing how many miles add up and where their miles could potentially take them.

Of course, it’s also possible that the sheer pleasure of regular social time and deepening friendships will be enough to keep you lacing up your walking shoes.

What are you waiting for? Walking your way to better health is only one step away.

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