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How to start a walking group

It is no secret that walking is a great form of exercise. Some people love to go at it alone, but if you'd like to have some company, why not start a walking group? Not only will you be doing something good for yourself, those that join you will also reap rewards from possible weight loss, increased cardiovascular health, improved mood and more.

Aside from the health benefits, walking in a group can offer you safety, socialization, accountability, friendship, and motivation.

To get a walking group started, just start spreading the word. Talk it up amongst your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. You may be pleasantly surprised at the response.

Once you've recruited your walking buddies, host a kickoff meeting to gather everyone's contact information. An email list is a great way to stay in contact and send out friendly reminders. You should discuss when and where to meet, distances and routes to be walked, speed of walk, and what to do in case of bad weather.

Once your group is established you may want to find ways to maintain and boost motivation. You could name your group and create a logo for T-shirts, enter charity events, or set group goals. You can even start a little challenge within your group. In my corporate wellness programs, I incorporate a walking challenge where everyone wears a pedometer. Whoever takes the most steps during a given week wins a prize. You could do something similar or just have everyone in the group add up the amount of time they have individually spent walking during the week and see who comes out on top.

So, while walking is great for your health, it is also a great way to build friendships and inspire others, so get out there, get moving, and enjoy this nice weather while it lasts!

Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist offering private personal training, classes, and weight management programs. She can be reached at 605-3549 or corinnamaggy@yahoo.com.

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