You’ve heard of book clubs and buying clubs. But walking clubs?
Organized walking clubs are increasing in popularity, and they’re shown to deliver both physical and mental rewards. People who partake in walking clubs have shown improvements in general fitness measurements like body mass index, blood pressure, and lung power along with decreased tendencies toward depression, loneliness, and feelings of isolation. A group walk, as opposed to a solo stroll, also offers the added advantage of peer motivation.
To assess the health benefits of outdoor walking groups, UK researchers recently evaluated 42 studies conducted since the late 1980s. Sarah Hanson, co-author of the meta-study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and researcher with the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, said findings offered evidence that could be employed by clinicians when recommending their patients get increased moderate physical activity.
Walking clubs are gaining traction among both sedentary adults and those who already participate in higher-intensity workouts because of the added social aspect. From 20-somethings through seniors, walking club participants have an opportunity to connect with friends or meet new ones while increasing their daily steps. It’s a win-win.
For those interested in starting, promoting, hosting, or growing a walking club, the American Heart Association offers step-by-step guidance at:
Among other tips, AHA recommends incentivizing, growing, and motivating club members with goodies like club t-shirts, water bottles, sunscreen, or pedometers. We, at Walkingspree, would recommend Walkingspree.
“Outdoor walking groups need no longer be viewed as just a leisure activity,” Hanson said. “They are enjoyable and have wide ranging health benefits – psychological as well as physical.”