Whether you are the sedentary type or very active, you can do something to encourage others in your community to become more active and lead a healthier lifestyle. Starting a walking/running club and/or a bicycle club can give people who wouldn’t ordinarily exercise a chance to get out and exercise with others. People tend to be more consistent if they have someone to exercise with.
Starting a Walking and Running Club
Walking and running are sports that require little investment to begin. A good pair of shoes is all that is needed, so many can participate. Begin by choosing a meeting place in a low traffic area.
Mark out a 2-5 mile route ahead of time so all will know where to walk. Find an area with low traffic for this, and put little flags along the route. It is ideal if your community has a walking trail. If you are an experienced walker or runner, stick back with the inexperienced newcomers and offer them encouragement and a little advice. Make them feel welcome so they will come back. Having a fixed day and time each week will encourage more to attend.
Beginning a Bicycle Club
Starting a bicycle club is a little harder. You need to have safe areas to ride and riders who are comfortable riding near traffic. Young children and traffic are not a good mix. It might be a good idea to have two nights to meet. The first is for the inexperienced riders. Maybe offer some tips about shifting and pedal cadence. Talk a little about bicycle maintenace and the importance of keeping your bicycle in good repair. Start out with a fairly short distance, maybe 5 miles, and add to it each week or two. When more experienced riders are together, they tend to challenge each other to build endurance and stamina. Riding in a group is safer as the more bicyclists there are, the more visible you become to oncoming traffic.
Exercise with a Partner for Accountability
Once people begin an exercise program with others, they are suddenly accountable to each other. New friendships develop and they continue exercising and getting in shape for much longer than if they start something on their own.