Fitness

Joining a fitness walking clinic

Looking for a new way to get a leg up on your walking goals? Fitness walking clinics are a safe, social way to get in shape and stick to your walking routine

Chatelaine

Walking clinics offer more than just walking in a group. Think of it more like a class – 6 to 12 weeks of coaching and structure designed to make you work harder and better. And all that work pays off. Whether your goals are getting in shape or losing weight, you’ll notice results faster than you would on your own.

A safe and fun way to stay motivated
Most clinics meet once or twice a week and include both workouts and brief seminars: short weekly fitness talks on topics such as avoiding common injuries, choosing the right shoe and eating well.

Clinics not only provide security when walking at night, the regular schedule helps you to keep your workouts consistent. Plus, once you’ve sprung for the cost of the training, you’re less likely to blow off a walk if the weather’s bad or you’re not in the mood.

Learn from the pros
When you’re choosing a clinic, make sure it fits your experience and goals. Some groups offer slow pace, moderate pace and quick pace training. Whether you’re new to sport or a seasoned walker, enrolling in the right level can greatly increase your success.

The biggest advantage clinics offer is the guidance you get from group leaders, who are usually fitness experts or seasoned walkers. In addition to teaching proper technique and pacing, they can help you reach specific walking goals, such as making your walk a bona fide cardio workout or preparing for an event, such as a 5K or 10K race.

Regardless of the clinic’s purpose, it’s a good way to mingle with like-minded people, meet potential exercise companions and inspire yourself to new fitness feats, backed by the support and camaraderie of a group.

Finding a clinic
Ready to sign up? Look for walking clinics at running shoe stores, community centres and fitness clubs. Enrollment fees usually range from about $50 to $100 for 6 to 12 weeks of training.

Most clinics go ahead rain or shine, so be prepared to face at least a few workouts in wet or cold weather, depending on the season. You might also be able to try it out before committing to an entire session: some clinics let you pay a modest drop-in fee so you can try a clinic and see if it’s right for you.

Then you’re ready for the next step. And before you know it, you’ll have the skills, strength and schooling to kick your walking up a notch.