Walking at Work: Better in a Group

I really enjoy walking. It is my preferred means of transportation (within reason), and though there are mornings where I wish I had a vehicle to fall back on, there are worse ways to start off one’s day than a brisk walk.

So when staff at my office expressed interest in participating in a regular walking group, I happily took on the responsibility of coordinating it. A meeting with a representative from the Alberta Centre for Active Living got us going – we established a regular day and time, circulated a poster around the office, and sent around a one-page fact sheet on the benefits of walking. The representative also agreed to initially lead the weekly walks, at least up until the group became self-sufficient.

On a walk

On a walk through the canopied Central McDougall

We started the walks at the end of June. The preliminary response from staff was better than I anticipated, with ten of my colleagues taking part that first week. Since then, we’ve had wavering participation (as expected with any new initiative), but I’m proud to say that ten weeks in, we are still averaging five walkers every Wednesday. Three weeks ago, we even added an additional day to the schedule, in order to try to further some of that momentum.

Patrick and Chinlong

Patrick and Chinlong, two well-dressed walkers

Though my innate preference lies with solitary walks, I’ve grown to really look forward to the walking club. It surprises me how much I want to motivate my colleagues, but at the same time, be accountable to them myself. When the weather is lousy, or I’m feeling tired, it’s easy for to stay at my desk for the bulk of the day – but I know it’s not an option when the group is set to meet.

Surinder and me

With my colleague Surinder after a walk

In mid-July, we were able to provide pedometers to the group. It helped everyone track the number of steps they were taking, and we were told to shoot for 10,000 steps a day (given that wasn’t too far above our average step count). Though I know walking alone isn’t enough (darn that elusive cardio), it’s helped to make me more conscious of what I need to do to achieve my daily goal.


A good day

I’m not sure how the walking club will fare once the weather goes south (with the dangers of falling a serious concern), but I’m hoping to keep this going as long as possible, and at the very least, start it up again in the spring.

Thanks to my coworkers for their continued support, and for helping to make the walking club a worthwhile initiative!

5 thoughts on “Walking at Work: Better in a Group

  1. Cathy – they’re about 20-30 minutes long. The routes vary, depending on who is present and leading! We usually go through the residential neighbourhoods though – less traffic crossings and more peaceful.

  2. It also such a great way to spend time with colleagues that I may not chat much with all day. Other than you of course!

  3. Hi Sharon
    I, too, love walking. And like you, walk at lunch in a similar neighborh0od, up and down residential streets, to get away from traffic and noise. Sometimes I meet folks walking their dogs, the school children playing outside at lunch, or an occasional Buddhist monk with whom I share a bow of greeting. Or I’ll amble over to Little Italy, eat in the park and feel transported to another place and time. I feel blessed to have such simple richness right outside my corporate door!

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