Get walking

It’s important to exercise on a regular basis, but you don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to increase the heart rate and burn calories. Instead, you can simply walk and there’s a group in Minot that promotes just that activity.

A local group of walkers, known as Minot Area Team Wellness, will be holding weekly walks at various parks in Minot throughout the summer. All of their walks are held on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. So far, the group has held two of the walks, with the last one to take place on July 15. There is no cost to participate in the weekly walks. People are encouraged to wear walking shoes and to bring a water bottle.

Diane Thorne, member of Minot Area Team Wellness, said the walks all last approximately 45 minutes and are family-friendly. People are encouraged to walk at whatever pace is good for them, she added.

The weekly walks are open to anyone and everyone. Thorne said there has been a wide mix of ages from babies to people in their 70s and 80s. “Walking is a simple exercise and one that most people can do,” she added. “All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and away you go.”

The first two walks took place at Oak Park and Roosevelt Park Zoo. The walk today will be at the Scandinavian Heritage Park. People who join the walk on June 3 will receive a free bandanna.

As a way to encourage participants to be part of a walking group, the last six walks will be self-led.

The number of participants mainly depends on where the walk is and the weather. There have been as many as 140 people, Thorne said. “We had good attendance in 2010 when we introduced the walks,” she added. Then the flood hit in 2011 and that derailed the walks. There were a few walks in the summer of 2012, Thorne said, and now are trying to build up the weekly walks again.

In case of inclement weather, the walks are usually canceled or postponed. Thorne said the best way to find out if the walk is taking place is to check the Walk Minot Facebook page since that is kept the most up to date.

Minot Area Team Wellness was started as a way to create awareness of Minot’s trail system, promote physical activity and encourage citizens to get outside and enjoy what Minot has to offer. “Walking is a good way to get physical activity,” Thorne said. Minot has a lot of walking trails, she continued, although some of the trails are no longer walkable due to the flood. The Minot Park District has plans to add more walking/bicycle trails, though.

The weekly walks are fairly popular with the participants. “It’s a good social activity because you get to meet new people and make new friends,” Thorne said.

If people post a comment on the Walk Minot Facebook page after each walk, Thorne said their names will be entered in a drawing to win a final door prize.