You’re only a few clicks from thousands of fellow walkers, established paths!
Everyone is looking for ways to get more active, both as part of an overall fitness plan and to reduce risk factors for heart disease and stroke. One of the best, easiest and cheapest things you can do is go for a walk.
Yet, there can be a few obstacles, such as knowing where to walk, or rounding up a reliable group to walk with you.
Fortunately, the American Heart Association has some quick solutions to both problems.
The Buddy System
Your own Walking Club is just a few clicks away. Going to MyWalkingClub.org is the perfect way to connect with others who share your goals, lifestyles, schedules and hobbies.
You can join an existing club, or start your own. It’s easy, it’s free and it could be a big step toward improving your health.
“For every hour of regular, vigorous physical activity – like brisk walking – life expectancy may increase for some adults by up to two hours,” said Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D., director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and an American Heart Association volunteer.
“The accountability and camaraderie Walking Clubs provide will help those that struggle with a regular exercise commitment,” he said.
A Walking Club can be a built-in support system to help you stick to a fitness routine. In fact, American Heart Association research shows that American adults are 76 percent more likely to take a walk if another person is counting on them.
A Walking Club can make exercising feel more like socializing. It can be like hanging out with friends – catching up with old ones and getting to know new ones. As your conversation flows, so will the miles.
Existing clubs may already have schedules and courses, goals and mentors. It’s OK if you don’t find the perfect fit because you can start your own. Or, you can do both – join one, and start another. This program launched in January and is growing every day.
Get On the Right Path
No matter whether you walk in a group or by yourself, it’s nice to have new places to walk. After all, following the same route can get tiresome.
American Heart Association Walking Paths can help you freshen up your routine.
More than 19,000 Walking Paths are available at StartWalkingNow.org, or through the Walking Paths app available for iPhone and Android devices.
Is the right path available for you? Well, consider these tidbits:
- Available paths cover more than 132,000 miles –more than five trips around the equator!
- You can find a Walking Path for practically anywhere you want to go: a neighborhood or a downtown, an airport or a shopping mall, a nature park or an amusement park, a school campus or a workplace.
- They range in difficulty, from easy to moderate to high. (Most are easy.)
- The length varies from a few blocks to a few hundred miles. (On average, they cover 7 miles.)
The best part is how easy they are to find. You can narrow it down by your ZIP code.
As you scroll through the names, you’ll find simple titles such as “Main Street Mile,” or some more creative ones, like the “Home Stretch.”
You can print them out, or follow them on your smartphone or tablet. You can also keep track of your progress by logging walks into a tracking tool.
You might even be inspired to share a favorite path. Just click the “Create A Walking Path” button.
Whether you find or start a Walking Club or a Walking Path, what matters most is that you get moving. These are great options to help you get inspired, or to keep your inspiration going.
Give them a try. What do you have to lose … except maybe a few pounds.
This content was last reviewed on 03/22/2013.