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Want to start your own walking club?

Rush Copley is pleased to offer community organizations with the tools and resources to start a successful walking club.

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Walk Your Way to a Healthier You

Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health.  A free, low impact exercise that will get you active, walking does not require any additional equipment and it can be done pretty much anywhere.  It has been proven to not only help maintain or lose weight, but it has numerous health benefits:

  • reduces the risk of heart attack and other related factors such as high blood pressure
  • reduces the risk of some cancers
  • improves balance and coordination
  • helps maintain strong bones and lean muscle tissue
  • reduces the risks and aids in the management of Type 2 diabetes
  • lowers "bad" cholesterol and raises "good" cholesterol

Walking can also help reduce stress and the symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve your overall mood.

Ready to Walk?

While walking is fun and easy, it is important to follow proper technique avoid injury, especially when starting a new a routine or walking long distances.

  • Wear proper fitting shoes to minimize pressure on the joints
  • Warm up/cool down  – ease into walk  and finish with stretching
  • Wear comfortable clothing – choose clothes that drivers can easily see
  • Take short, brisk heel to toe strides
  • Use proper form – head upright, shoulders relaxed, abs tight
  • Aim to drink one cup or more of water every 20 minutes of walking
  • Use a pedometer to track progress
  • Avoid swinging hips from side to side as you walk
  • Do not use arm or ankle weights as they can cause injury
  • Maintain a consistent speed, the brisker the pace, the better

Safety Tips When Walking Outside

One of the advantages of walking is that it can be done anywhere. If you choose to walk outside, follow these tips to ensure a safe walk.

  • Choose routes that have sidewalks or a shoulder to give you plenty of space from traffic.
  • Be sure to walk facing traffic.
  • Carry a driver’s license or ID and a cell phone.
  • Use crosswalks and follow traffic signals when crossing at street lights.
  • Make eye contact with the driver when stepping in front of a car, even at crosswalks and street lights.
  • Keep to the right side so that faster walkers, runners and cyclists can easily pass.
  • Carry a whistle or some sort of alarm.
  • Wear reflective clothing especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Don’t walk alone.  Try to walk in groups of 3 or more.  If you walk alone, let someone know your walking route and expected return time.
  • Avoid wearing headphones.
  • Leave your wallet and jewelry at home.
  • Don’t use your cell phone while walking.
  • Don’t text and walk.
  • Always look up, not down at the ground.
  • Be unpredictable - choose a different route and a different time each day.

Put a Little Fun in Your Step!

Here are some suggestions for making walking fun and incorporating perhaps your favorite hobby or interest.

  • Photo walk – grab your camera or use your cell phone and choose a theme. Take as few or as many photographs as you would like.  Ideas: flowers, landscape, bodies of water, buildings, people, fire escapes, playgrounds, etc.
  • Scenic walk – choose a park district trail or forest preserve and enjoy the scenery.  Look at the beauty in nature's smallest creatures like insects and plants, or the largest like trees and lakes.
  • Bird watching – if you’re a bird watcher or would like to become one, grab a pair of binoculars and a bird watching book from your local library.  See how many birds you can spot.
  • Architecture walk – take your walk to an older neighborhood or the downtown area.  Look at the similarities or differences in the homes or buildings.  Can you guess the year it was built?
  • Garden walk – can you name the flowers? Who has the prettiest landscaping in the neighborhood?  Look for the garden that has the most color.

Local Walking Paths

Check out these local walking paths.

Fox Valley Park District Oswego Park District

Logs and Schedules


It is important to keep track of your success as you work at your own pace towards your goals. Walking Schedule for Beginners
12 Week Daily Walking Log

Tools and Resources

Check out these resources to learn more.
How much should you walk?
Are you ready to start running?

Fun Facts

  • When you take a step, you are using up to 200 muscles.
  • A typical pair of gym shoes will last 500 miles.
  • It would take, on average, seven (7) hours of walking to burn off a super-size Coke, fries and a Big Mac.
  • Walk 6,000 steps to improve your health and 10,000 steps to lose weight.
  • Walking briskly for one mile in 15 minutes burns about the same calories as jogging an equal distance in 8.5 minutes.