Walking and Volkswalking

No wonder I do so much alone. I don’t understand the point of many group activities that people seem to enjoy.

Someone suggested I look into volkswalking since I walk a lot, but it doesn’t really appeal to me. It seems to be organized walking in groups, and I get that with the three-nights-a-week conditioning walk with the Sierra Club and an occasional hike with one of the hiking groups in the area. Volkswalking also supposed to be non-competitive walking, but anyone who completes a walk or a certain amount of mileage gets a badge or a stamp in a book (which they pay for themselves) to show masseswhat they accomplished. To me, anytime you give people “achievement awards” for completing something, it’s competitive, even if there isn’t one so-called “winner.” Why else do you need a badge? You know you did it — a badge can’t give you that. Only you can.

The premiere purported purpose of the various volkswalking clubs is to promote regular physical fitness for overall good health. So if you’re already walking, half of what they have to offer is negated. I suppose if I were in a new area and wanted to meet people, I’d go on one of the walks, but otherwise, if I were interested in the area, I’d just . . . walk.

That’s always been the benefit of walking — if you have two working feet and legs or reasonable facsimiles, that’s all you need. You just put one foot in front of the other, and you’re walking. What can be simpler?

Still, over 400,000 people take part in American volkswalking activities every year, so the bewilderment over the phenomenon is obviously mine alone.

So, if you’re interested in walking and need more incentive than simply going outside and putting one foot in front of the other for as long as you want (or can), then perhaps volkswalking is for you.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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