Activist Toolkit: A Walk in the Park – Boost Your Health
By: H.A. O’Shaughnessy
As many of us know, walking can be a highly beneficial form of exercise due to the positive physical and mental health effects.
According to the American Volkssport Association (AVA) website, the term volkssporting can include noncompetitive events such as walking or swimming for fitness and fun. The volksmarch (also called a volkswalk) originated in Europe and is typically a walk of 3.1 miles or 6.2 miles with friends, family or solo. Typically, the volksmarch uses a predetermined route typically combining the local town and city scape with nature.
There are many clubs internationally and those may be found here: https://www.ivv-online.org/walking-worldwide.html
The United States chapter of AVA also called “America’s Walking Club” may be found here: https://ava.org/
Joining a walking club is a good way to jumpstart your walking regime. You can meet new friends or invite your friends to join in this healthful exercise. Plus the added health benefits are hard to ignore from boosting immune function to preventing other health issues: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking#:~:text=Several%20studies%20have%20found%20that%20walking%20reduces%20arthritis-related,them%20and%20strengthening%20the%20muscles%20that%20support%20them.
Always check with your doctor before embarking on a new health regime. Other suggestions include getting a new pair of walking shoes to protect your feet and enhance your walk. Here is a website offering ideal walking shoes: https://www.orthofeet.com/collections/walking-shoes?msclkid=d821e67b82a71ab853d48481b38c62bd&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=7CON_Attributes%20-%20Walking%20-%20CPA&utm_term=best%20walking%20shoes&utm_content=Walking%20-%20Shoes
Be sure to stay hydrated and bring water with you. Since not all of your volksmarch will be in nature, street safety is another good factor to keep in mind and the NHTSA has a handy list of reminder for pedestrians: https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety#:~:text=8%20Walking%20Safety%20Tips&text=Walk%20on%20sidewalks%20whenever%20they,those%20turning%20left%20or%20right.
If you decide you would like to start your own walking club, the American Heart Association has some great ideas to help you out: https://azheartfoundation.org/heart-health-benefits-of-walking/#:~:text=A%20regular%20brisk%20walking%20routine%20may%20help%3A%201,levels%2010%20improve%20brain%20function%20More%20items…%20 No matter what, get out there and enjoy the fun and positive health effects that walking can offer you.
This piece used with permission and appeared originally on H.A. O’Shaughnessy’s Medium blog.