Once you've recruited members for your walking group, hold a kickoff meeting. Collect email addresses, phone numbers and other contact details, so you can stay in touch about workouts and keep each other motivated. You can even set up your group online using tools, such as those available on the American Heart Association website.
Then discuss the details of your walking group, such as:
- How often to walk
- The distance to cover
- The route to take
- The speed to walk
- When and where to meet
- Whether to walk indoors or outdoors
- What to do in case of bad weather
Of course, your walking group may need some flexibility to accommodate weather, work schedules, illness or other factors that may arise. If you've recruited lots of people, consider breaking into smaller walking groups, perhaps based on fitness level, fitness goals, availability or other factors.
On the other hand, if your walking group members are at different fitness levels, you may be able to encourage and motivate each other by walking together. Staying motivated is one of the key factors in sticking with your health and fitness goals for the long term. So lean on your walking buddies for support, especially on those days when you feel like skipping your workout.
Once your group's walking routine is established, look for ways to maintain and boost motivation. You might choose a name for your walking group, enter charity walking events, and set group goals to increase walking time or intensity.
The camaraderie you experience in a walking group and the shared fitness success can help you walk your way to better health.
Dec. 30, 2016
See more In-depth
- Walking: A step in the right direction. NIDDK. http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/walking.htm. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
- Hanson S, et al. Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med 2015;49:71. http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/11/710.
- More people walk to better health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/walking/. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
- Start or join a walking club. American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/American-Heart-Association-Walking-Clubs_UCM_460019_Article.jsp#. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
- Tips for getting your steps in. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/features/getting-your-steps-in/. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
- Izumi BT, et al. Leader behaviors, group cohesion, and participation in a walking group program. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2015;49:41. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379715000434.
- Laskowski E (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 8, 2016.