It’s cheap, easy, and most people can do it regardless of fitness level.
Walking is the preferred form of physical activity for the majority of Canadians. To capitalize on that interest, the Canadian Walking Academy is starting its first chapter east of Toronto and HRM is the beneficiary.
“This is a new concept. Mainly in Ontario and in BC they’ve started within the last year opening chapters,” said Bill VanGorder, acting chairman of the Canadian Walking Academy’s HRM chapter.
“Many people you ask about exercise don’t like going to the gym, don’t like running, don’t have time for golf. But everyone can walk so let’s make the most of it.”
Chapter meetings will focus on different aspects of successful walking, ranging from discussions about proper clothing and footwear to diet and technique. Different forms of walking will also be covered. Whether you power walk, Nordic pole walk, race walk, hike, or engage in ‘normal’ walking, the academy can help you maximize the benefits.
“We’re talking about more than window shopping when we talk about walking,” VanGorder explained. “We’re talking about walking with purpose, using the larger muscles of your lower body.”
The not-for-profit group welcomes guest speaker Dr. Klaus Schwanbeck for its Sept. 27 inaugural meeting.
Schwanbeck, the former national head coach of Germany’s national track and field team, said creating an academy to promote walking for health will give Canadians an official organization to consult and will provide motivational support.
“Through our Canadian Walking Academy we are trying to provide greater educational opportunities and practical instruction to Canadians.” said Schwanbeck.
“This more formal association will benefit our existing partnerships with major health organizations like the Canadian Diabetes Association who for example have actually launched downloadable exercise prescriptions for doctors and will give five prescription options for patients based on their activity and fitness levels.”
The Sept. 27 event is for adults, but VanGorder said discussions are currently underway with educators to develop a Canadian Walking Academy program for schools.
“The whole idea is to support the idea of walking ... We want to help people maximize the value they get out of walking,” VanGorder said. “The more you do it and know about it, the more benefit you get.”
The first Canadian Walking Academy HRM chapter meeting takes place Sept. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Nantucket Room at the Dartmouth Sportsplex. E-mail info@MRCassociates.ca or call 497-8073 for more information.
Some of the objectives for the Canadian Walking Academy Program from Dr. Klaus Schwanbeck:
• Educate people about the benefits of walking and Nordic pole walking.
• Educate people about walking programs that help to prevent or “cure” most common chronic diseases
• Educate ‘walkers’ on how to choose the right walking program to achieve individual goals, like fitness, weight loss, diabetes management, high blood pressure, back pain, neck pain and others
• Explaining scientific studies in lay terms regarding the health benefits of walking
• Provide recommendations on how to make regular walking part of an active lifestyle