Not a runner? Don’t stress it. Fitness walking is gaining favor among adults and might provide the perfect change of pace for your health this year.
About 62 percent of Americans walk for fun, fitness or transportation, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – up from 56 percent in 2005. Regional walking clubs are seeing memberships spike as more people realize the health benefits of putting one foot in front of the other.
Dr. Chris Palkowski, physician-in-chief of Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center who occasionally leads hospital-sponsored walks, said a 30-minute walk five days a week is proved to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, control blood sugar and raise metabolic rate. He also said it strengthens muscles and bones, which is important for older adults with osteoporosis.
Whether they’re walking the dog, running an errand or just taking a few miles to smell the roses, about 145 million people include walking as part of a healthy lifestyle. Want to be one of them? We’ve rounded up some accessible indoor and outdoor walking groups to get you started.
Roseville Walking for Health
This meet-up group describes itself as a “friendly, health-minded environment” where folks can walk and chat. They host four walks in the Roseville area each week, and attendance varies from a handful of people to a dozen. They host walks Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
There is no payment or registration required. Just check their website for any changes in plans.
Next walk: 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, at the Miner’s Ravine trailhead, 350 N. Sunrise Ave., Roseville. This walk repeats each Saturday and Sunday.
Sacramento Walking Sticks
This chapter of the American Volksmarch Association is the largest in the country, with more than 300 members. They plan wilderness walks as well as urban walks and make a point of finding interesting historical landmarks along the way. The Walking Sticks often participates in large community events and hosts themed walks. They have an event nearly every day at locations throughout the region.
Contact president Barbara Nuss at 916-283-4650 or visit the website for more information.
Next walk: 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, at Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ, 2700 L St., Sacramento.
Rancho Get out and Go Slow Walkin’ Buddies
This casual club is for walkers who are “not ready for prime-time walking” but want to gradually increase the pace and length of their walks. They host events Tuesdays and Thursdays in parks in the Rancho Cordova area. They welcome well-behaved children and well-trained dogs.
Find out more about these walkers on their website, www.meetup.com/Rancho-Get-Out-and-Go-Slow-Walkin-Buddies.
Next walk: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, at Sunriver Park in Rancho Cordova, at the end of the cul-de-sac on Moose River Court.
Kaiser Walk to Thrive
This club allows walkers to slip into the mall early each Saturday to complete a flat, climate-controlled walk before shoppers arrive. The walk, held weekly on Wednesdays, is led by a Kaiser Permanente physician who is on standby to answer health questions from walkers.
To learn more, visit the Walk to Thrive website, https://kpwalktothrive.org.
Next walk: 8 and 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, at Westfield Galleria Mall, 1151 Galleria Blvd., Roseville.
What you’ll need
To begin walking for exercise, here is a brief list of equipment to get you started.
- Comfortable walking sneakers
- Loose-fitting clothing that allows arms to swing
- Sun protection if walking outdoors
- Inhalers or any other required medical device (per your physician)