Walking in general can have a truly positive impact on your overall health if done on a constant basis. Walking in the company of others can be a great way to get even more from this pleasant and rewarding form of exercise. Deciding to join a walking group can really cause an important change and help you not only from a physical perspective, but social and emotional as well.
Here’s why you should consider walking with other people:
Enjoy Health Improvements
One of the most important benefits of being part of a walking group is the fact that it can boost your health. This is not just in theory, it’s been scientifically proven. A study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, was designed to assess the physical and mental benefits of outdoor walking groups. The systematic review analyzed 42 other studies, involving 1843 participants in 14 countries.
The results? Walking groups can actually make a difference. According to researchers, people who walked in the company of others manifested positive changes in blood pressure and heart health, were able to reduce their body fat and cholesterol level more efficiently, to increase their walking speed and improve their overall fitness level. Moreover, the findings suggest that people who walk in groups are less likely to feel depressed.
Meet Like-Minded People
When you surround yourself with negative people, you are likely to become negative yourself. When you surround yourself with people that are lazy, complain excessively or love to procrastinate, you are likely to become the same person. On the other hand, when you spend more time with positive people who share the same purpose of bettering themselves, you are likely to become a better person, embrace healthy habits and succeed in life.
One of the advantages of joining a walking group is that you have the opportunity to meet like-minded people. Being surrounded by people who have the same vison and goals, who are looking to make lifestyle changes, to improve their physical health and mental wellbeing can be truly beneficial. You can learn from one another, share health-related tips and tricks and experiences, provide emotional support whenever is needed and motivate each other to keep on going.
It Helps You Stay Accountable
One of the difficulties we all face in our quest to get fit and healthy is staying accountable to our workouts. We’ve all been in that situation where we felt that overwhelming urge to just skip a planned walking session and relax on the couch. After all, we have no one to report to, right? Well, when you’re part of a group it’s a completely different situation.
When you know someone is relying on you to exercise together, it’s not that easy to skip that session. When you start to lose your motivation, there’ll always be someone there to encourage you and help you get back on track. And there’s research to support these statements. According to scientists from Anglia Ruskin University, people are more likely to stick to their exercise goals if they walk in groups. The study also suggests that group walking can lead to a better quality of life.
It Makes Walking More Challenging
Maintaining the same walking routine for a longer period of time can turn out to be counterproductive. Walking by yourself in the same place, at the same pace and seeing the same people and landscape can lead to boredom and to stagnation when it comes to your fitness progress. Things can significantly change for the better when you start walking in a group.
When you become a member of a group, you get to experience new things that make walking more challenging and rewarding. For instance, you can pick up the pace. When you’re alone you may tend to maintain a slower pace, but when you’re walking with others you’ll feel the need to keep up with the rest of the group. A change of terrain can also get you out of your comfort zone and make you push harder.
Walking by yourself can be dangerous, particularly if you’re planning an evening stroll in a poorly-lit area or you’re going in a certain part of town you’re not familiar with. On the other hand, if you’re walking in a group, you won’t be worried about your personal safety. Moreover, in case you suddenly feel bad or have a medical emergency, there’ll immediately be somebody to help you.
Tip: Keep Track of your Walks
If you want to make the most of your walks, it’s important to monitor your progress along the way. Tracking helps you know with accuracy how much you’re walking, discover if you’re going in the right direction, set realistic targets based on your actual fitness level and stay motivated to reach and surpass your fitness goals.
How can you track your walks? It’s easy. Simply download a pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker on your iPhone or Android device. The app will automatically record your physical activity and display relevant fitness data, like the steps taken, calories burned, distance covered or time spent active. You’ll also get to set and adjust your own goal and see the progress made in time.