Walking is the number one physical activity for the over 55 crowd, so naturally in an Active Adult Community, walking is very popular. There are lots of documented benefits to walking.
Walking is something we have done all of our long lives, so you would think people would know how to do it. They do, but in their very own way.
You can see examples of the different walking styles on our own Deaton Creek Parkway every morning. There are the dog walkers, with their tug of war with fido, stopping, waiting, adding to their bag sometimes and starting again. They probably get a pretty good arm workout handling those leashes, with tugs from their friendly canine.
There are the romantic couples holding hands strolling along, getting some time together. There are the strollers, who are pretty good at keep their walking routine up several days a week, as they stroll along at a comfortable pace for a moderate distance, maybe from their house to either the back or front entrances.
Surprisingly, we have very little social walkers who walk in small groups, chatting and then encouraging each other with a “See you next time”. You really get to know each other when you are a member of social walking groups. It’s supportive of keeping your walking schedule up. If you miss a day, you have a little explaining to do. I did this type walking at the Johns Creek Senior Center (they call it Park Place Active Adult Center) and had the best time walking with Don and Lamont. We rarely missed a day in two years walking M-W-F at 8:30am, 12 months a year.
There are those commuting to the athletics fields or the clubhouse. These are usually pretty good walkers as they frequently tend to walk, rather than drive. Walking is probably not their main physical activity but some other sport, as they are in good condition. Becky in my Cardio class walks all the way from the back of the community to our class at the clubhouse, then a mile walk back home.
Our community has the trail walking club and many people like putting on the boots, grabbing a walking stick to head out in nature.
Then there are the Fitness Walkers, who are out for exercise with a more vigorous effort with their arms swinging back and forth and their long strides and quick steps. The real dedicated ones like to start early before it’s gets too hot in the Summer and in the Winter they are out there as long as it’s above freezing. They move pretty fast and are noticeable. Many of those doing fitness walking were former runners, who still want the cardio from moving fast, but now walking is the better way to do that.
Those doing fitness walking also have observable styles.
Some are just starting fitness walking and you see then struggling as they start a full out fitness walk without ever have walked much at all. A sure tell is when they have weights in their hands, something an experienced walker would never do. Sometimes they are overweight and seemingly new to any type exercise and you hope they don’t have a heart attack. They will probably burn out. They would probably be better off starting slowly and develop a normal walking routine first, but increasing their distance and speed over time.
Then there are the rare distance walkers, that start early and really cover a lot of distance, going at least six miles at a time. The distance from my house on Autumn Crest Lane out the front, right on Friendship Parkway down to Spout Springs Road and back is six miles and something I do that in my training routine. There are several people in our community that does that trip often. The longest I have heard is Bruce who told me he walked Friendship down to I985 and back, about 15 miles. He’s retired military, so he’s probably done distance before.
Then there are the fast or speed walkers who still walk a pretty good distance but also concentrate on their speed. They usually have the proper attire including quality walking shoes and socks. They are in it for the work out and probably have a runner’s watch, maybe even a Garmin Forerunner like I have or a similar watch that can record speed, distance, heat beats, steps per minute, average stride length and many more details which can be downloaded to your computer for analysis. Some of these walkers even learn how to race walk and go to various senior games at the local, state and national levels.
All walking is good for you. Any chance you get to take a walk, do it. Better yet, make walking daily part of your life style. We are fortunate living here in an Active Adult Community to be able to walk right out the front door to streets with sidewalks on both sides of the street and a two mile parkway with a wide walking path. Plus there are many other places to walk in our community. As more people have become experienced walkers, there is more interest in fitness walking, a subject on my list to write about in the near future.
Robert Fowler, the Race Walker