Fort Macleod - Walking Groups
In the spring of 2014 a group of community members in Fort Macleod under an initiative called “Thrive on Wellness” (TOW) wanted to increase physical activity and the use of the great walking paths that already existed in the area.
The TOW committee decided the best way to do this was to create a walking map to raise awareness of available paths and routes. The Thrive on Wellness Committee in partnership with the Town of Fort Macleod and the Oldman River Regional Planning Commission were able to identify several walking routes and have them mapped out using Geographical Information System (GIS). The walking path maps are available in print around town and are also housed on the Town of Fort Macleod’s website for public use.
The Thrive on Wellness committee also envisioned having walking clubs available for members to participate in. The committee organized several events where committee members would host a walk to show in person what routes were available on the maps. The kickoff walks were very successful having many people attend. As a result, a group of women who all met on that very first walk, continue to walk together throughout the year! The woman are always inviting newcomers to join them and the group continues to grow.
This fun and simple initiative has helped increase walking in Fort Macleod and also increased the use of an existing community asset: walking trails. A new partnership also formed, making a small idea turn in to a huge success! Everyone took a small piece of the work to create a common vision and move action forward.
Please enjoy this personal story of how this Walking initiative has impacted some community members:
On a chilly day in October 2014, several people answered an invitation forwarded from the Thrive on Wellness committee members to join them in a walk to test the new walking trails. Following this invitation, six of us decided that we would start walking together for an hour or so once a week and suddenly… the “Way-Out Walkers” group was born. We now number 12-14 dedicated walkers and another 5 or 6 occasional walkers. We are a group of retired and semi-retired women aged from 64 to 85 who enjoy being outside in the fresh air and we walk year-round no matter what the weather. This can sometimes provide quite a challenge! We have explored all areas in and around our town and beyond. We have travelled to Waterton, Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Glenwood, and more for different walks. Most of us have participated (more than once) in the 5Kor10K Wilderness Walk/Run held here each spring.
During our walks, we have lively discussions and share much laughter. Our interests and ideas are as diverse as we are. At the end of each walk we reward ourselves with coffee and sometimes a pastry. We celebrate birthdays once a month by going out for lunch instead of coffee following our regular walks.
We have found walking to be beneficial in many ways. Being out in the fresh air and enjoying our natural surroundings contributes to our physical and mental well-being. The physical activity firms our muscles and increases flexibility and bone strength. Mentally, it provides moments of calm reflection, stimulating discussions and companionship. We heartily recommend this activity to everyone. It is invigorating and exhilarating and it is free!
November 18, 2018