1. Why would you find a walking companion? What are the benefits?
You don't feel like an athlete right now. That's understandable if you've been inactive for a while. Fortunately, walking groups are suitable for every demographic.
It's worth it to get moving. There are countless studies supporting walking decreases the risk of heart disease and improves memory. It's even more worth it to join a walking group. With virtually no side effects, unless boosting overall health counts as one, finding a walking group near you may be the kick start you need to spur on an active lifestyle. The group makes it fun and has the bonus effect of elevating your performance. You'll increase your frequency and intensity in a walking group compared to by yourself, furthermore, increasing the value to your health.
You can expect a greater reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and cholesterol build-up. It's low-impact, meaning your knees and other increasingly fragile joints have a very low risk of injury. With a pair of quality shoes and comfortable clothing, you'll be good to go anywhere and everywhere.
Walking groups have a kind of synergistic power to them, and even more so in nature. They can enhance your mood and improve your self-esteem. Walking alone deprives you of the fun and social experience. Whether you have old lingering injuries or zero experience with exercise, walking groups are safe, and easy for all levels. There is practically no barrier to entry or learning curve. And you will have the capability to spur on muscular and cardiovascular improvement.
Joining a walking group will do much more than benefit your physical health. You'll meet like-minded people. Chances are, they've had the same challenges to health as you, and are eager for the same beneficial results.
As you now know, this shared opportunity provides numerous psychological and emotional benefits that you wouldn't get on your own, such as lower stress levels, reduced depression, and an increase in overall self-confidence. If a walking group is expecting your presence, it will encourage your consistent participation. Soon, it will become a staple to your weekly routine.
What you need to know is walking groups provide strength, happiness, and health. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars towards a gym membership that you'll stop using after New Year's resolutions, find yourself a walking group near you to transform the trajectory of your health, for free.
2. Where to find walking groups near me?
Are you new to the walking group world and want to find a fitness tribe near you? Tools of the internet make this easier than ever before. Meetup.com has over 6000 different walking groups waiting to meet you. Click here to find them. You'll see a map of the world with all the walking group locations on it.
Facebook is another excellent resource for connecting with like-minded people. Type "walking groups near me" in the search toolbar. If you have Facebook linked to your location, as most do, a list of pages and groups will appear. Click one that seems appealing to you and start surfing the page. Some walking group pages are "closed", meaning you need to ask to join and occasionally answer some introductory questions as a vetting process. This is for the group administrator to get a better understanding of the people joining, filter out solicitors and get quality members. Like anything that produces value, the more you put into it, the more you'll get. Start participating in the group, introduce yourself and share what you're looking for.
Facebook can also be used to chat with other walkers about the experience, challenges, and wins. If you can't find an appropriate walking group, an online walking companion can be a great back up. From anywhere, you can trade messages on ways to support each other's success.
The internet never closes. You have unlimited access to locating experts or avid walkers for advice. There are online walking tutorials and inspirational content waiting for a click away.
Maybe, you're interested in walking with people you already know. Chances are, someone around you is struggling to keep a healthy routine and wants to jump-start their exercise. They're probably dealing with the same lack of accountability and structure as you. Recruit that friend, family member or spouse to take to a walking group nearby. Bringing someone will dampen the fears of being new or awkward. Joining a walking group together is a great opportunity to enhance your existing relationship and spend more quality time as you inevitably walk and talk together. If your friends or family are resistant, insert yourself in places where people are already walking nearby.
Local running shoe stores and medical centers are good places to find brochures and publications for walking groups. Many health clubs sponsor walking groups. They're likely to make announcements and update bulletin boards for you to be on the lookout for.
What about the countless charities? Running and walking in groups has been an amazing way to raise money for causes close to the heart. Ask around your neighborhood for the next opportunity for registration and walk your way towards a good cause. Certainly, there will be walking groups encouraging new companions such as yourself to join.
3. How to choose an appropriate walking group?
It completely depends on you and what kind of group you want to be a part of. Every walking group will have a style kind of person it attracts.
Women-only walking groups may provide the security, company, and comfort you're looking for.
Besides swimming, walking is the most pain-free form of exercise. If you are a senior, you know aches and pains. There's no way you're are setting foot in a fitness class full of 20 something-year-olds. A senior walking group may be just right.
If it's timing yours after. You've got a full schedule and want to complete your exercise before your workday starts. Narrow your search to morning walking groups.
You could even have a virtual walking group. One where you check in with each other online. Providing encouragement, accountability, and advice from anywhere after each bout on your feet.
Come with a positive attitude and you'll set yourself up for success. Know that you may not find the right fit on your first try. If so, keep looking. Be playful and open-minded. The choice is yours!
4. Want to start your own walking group? Here's how
Are you looking to create a niche walking group that's missing in your community? You want to exercise your grit on tougher walks, easier walks, weeknight walks, or other social aspects of walking groups. Every single group started with just one person. Here some ways you can start your own.
Mark up a cardboard sign with the day time of your one-man walking group. Find a park or trail, and stick that beautiful homemade sign where people passing by will see it. Return to the previous landmark at the appropriate time and see who you've inspired.
Try the same thing on Facebook. You've got instant access to a plethora of people hoping someone will be bold enough to start a walking group nearby. Maybe they didn't have the guts to lead the way, but you do. Repost your walking place and time on the Facebook groups you follow. Popular supermarket or restaurant pages will have a larger and more distinct community to draw from.
Be sure to get there earlier than your proposed time at the rendezvous point. When your exciting new walking companions arrive, just start walking. Depending on the size of your existing community, it may be just a few days or weeks before you have created your very own walking group.
As your new walking group gains traction, both literally and figuratively, take time to discuss routes. Look for places full of vegetation while avoiding steep inclines and rough terrain. Keep things light and easy as your group finds its identity. You may be more successful than you think about recruiting and creating a valuable experience. If your walking group gets too big, you can always break it up into smaller groups and empower others to lead.
Try not to be surprised when you have created a walking group that's developed life long friendships in it. There is so much glorious opportunity out of initiating this. Before you know it, you could be putting your group name on t-shirts, making awards, and a website. You could even team up for a charity event together.
The hard part comes in being the first one out the gate. It is scary to do something new like joining a social walking group, let alone start your own. You have concerns. What if people don't come? What if it's weird and not fun? What if you don't like it and feel out of place? The relationship between thoughts and actions takes courage. There is no way around it and the reward is powerful. So embrace it, and take the leap that you and others will thank you for later.