With the warmer weather on the way, spring is a great time to shake off the winter blues and start walking for your health and your family’s as well.
If you’d like to be more active, but need motivation then Heart Foundation Walking might be just what you’re looking for.
Heart Foundation’s National Director of Cardiovascular Health, Dr Robert Grenfell said Heart Foundation Walking groups walk regularly all over Australia and are a great way to have fun, meet new people and look after your heart health.
“Joining a Heart Foundation Walking group in your area can help you stay motivated to exercise regularly and provides you with social support, health information and newsletters.
“We have groups catering for all sorts of people and fitness levels and everyone is welcome, including dogs and prams. Many groups have been created specifically for parents so they can bring the kids along too.
“We encourage people to ‘walk and talk’, so it is very much a social outlet as well as an activity program.”
Mums and bubs walk and talk
If you’ve thought about joining a Heart Foundation Walking group, but are unsure who will mind your little ones while you walk, then we have the solution – just bring them with you! A group of mums from Ngunnawal ACT do just that – they pop them in a stroller and off they go.
Imogen Vincent is the organiser of the Ngunnawal Mothers Walking Group: “As most of us are from a mothers’ group, all our children are of similar age with the eldest being 5 months old. All the mums always bring their babies, which ensures we get a good workout pushing them along the path in the prams.”
“We meet every Thursday for a walk followed by a coffee, but often some of us will organise a walk spontaneously via our Facebook page when our husbands are driving us crazy or we just really need to just get out of the house. I often post that ‘I am going for a walk if anyone wants to join me’ and in most cases I have one or two come along.”
The regular walks are not just about being active – it’s a chance for everyone to catch up, unwind and enjoy the fresh air. And their babies’ benefit too!
“I like getting out and talking to other mums to vent or to simply share ideas and stories on motherhood. It is such a great opportunity to make new friends that are in a similar situation to me. It also provides a good dose of Vitamin D, not to mention how important it is for my mental and physical wellbeing. I think our babies also benefit from being outside in the fresh air and exposed to things in the environment – the birds, the lake etc.”
As a busy mum, sometimes it’s hard to find the time and energy to get active, but Imogen recommends all mums join a walking group. “Mums need to make their health a priority as much as their baby’s, and don’t get cooped up at home. Take control and make your baby fit in with your schedule as opposed to always accommodating the child’s needs. By joining a walking group you will gain more than you expected and all mothers deserve some ‘me time’.”
Dr Grenfell added walking for just 30 minutes a day can help you maintain a health weight, increase fitness and strength, improve your self esteem and mental health and cut your risk of heart disease by almost half.
“More than half of the Australian adult population is not active enough to gain health benefits and being inactive is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease – the number one killer of both Australian men and women,” said Dr Grenfell.
Heart Foundation Walking is a fun, social and easy way to be active, and best of all it’s FREE! There are over 1300 groups around Australia, why not join one today?
For details of how to join or start a walking group near you call 1300 36 27 87 or visit www.heartfoundation.org.au/walking.