Walking as social exercise


Photo by Mussi Katz (CC Public Domain)

Walking for health and company

Lorraine Ochieng

Walking is a part of everyday life. Before the invention of locomotive machines, people walked to arrive at their destination, but today some people struggle to walk, even for shorter distances.

To combat this walking groups are becoming a common method of exercise. They consist of a group of people who meet up to walk together and socialise.  Peter Van Eyk, the founder of the Perth Walking Group, said we usually walk for about an hour or more depending on peoples’ comfort and ability.

The Heart Foundation has a walking organisation called Heart Foundation Walking. The organisation has been walking for over 21 years and has developed walking campaigns with more than 80,000 Australians participating.

Their goal is to encourage and support walking and any physical activity that will beneficially promote the health of Australians. Its aim is to support safe environments for physical activity and promote walking as a hobby which is generally a free and accessible physical activity.

Dianella resident, Shelia explained that, “walking is not a very strenuous form of exercise, it is beneficial for anybody, young or old”.  The Heart Foundation believes that walking helps those experiencing illnesses, such as heart diseases, stroke and people recovering from muscle and bone injuries, as walking can act as a healing mechanism. Sheila goes for walks every evening near her local park and it has helped her to lose some weight..

She added that walking has allowed her to socialise freely, “it is very inviting to tell someone to join you for a walk which is more relaxing than going to the gym,”. She says that walking is beneficial, especially when taking time to walk around different walking trails. Her favourite place is at Kings Park because of the beautiful gardens, trees and the view of Perth city which helps her to feel relaxed. Sheila believes the environment relieves her stress and it serves many purposes in life, similar to the Heart Foundation Walking’s message.

Walking has created benefits for greater purpose, especially when it comes to health matters. Peter suggests that if anyone wanted to join Perth Walking Group, he or she should read the information on the group website as they have different walking events and times, which is between five to six walks a week.

Many charities and campaigns organise events to raise awareness, funds and aid. An event coming up is Dogs for Diabetes on April 7. The event is a dog walk that aims to raise funds and awareness for type 1 diabetes. Held along Swan River, the walk starts at Trinity College at 8:30am. For more information head to the Dogs for Diabetes website.