Get a step ahead with the walking club

by | Oct 6, 2022 | News

The walking club is a brand-new initiative by NAIT Well-Being that is open to staff and students. With meetings every Monday from 12:05pm to 12:50pm, participants can expect to engage in light physical activity while socializing with other club members. Sandy Babiuk, a NAIT Well-Being Coordinator, and Margareta Jesse, a Well-Being Fitness Leader, operate the club to help staff and students realize a more active lifestyle during their busy days on campus.

Babiuk founded the club following the success of the 150KM Club during the winter semester of 2022. Participants of this club were challenged to reach 150 kilometres through physical activity throughout the semester. “This challenge was self-led and participants who achieved their goal would receive a prize,” said Babiuk. Some of the feedback she received from participants was that certain activities would outperform on the leaderboard and walkers would often find themselves on the bottom. “They didn’t think it was fair that all the bikers were at the top of the leaderboard.” To respond to this feedback Babiuk founded the walking club this semester.

Jesse, who leads the club in their weekly meetings, hopes that members will make walking a more integral activity in their daily lives. “I hope that through this club, members can get a bit more activity in their days when they originally did not think they had time for it,” said Jesse. “By scheduling the meetups at noon, we hope that members can burn off stress and pick up their energy levels.”

The club also emphasizes the social aspect of walking. “The Walking Club allows like minded people to come together to get more active. [It’s] more social than a traditional exercise class,” said Jesse.

It’s also more convenient, Jesse explains. “Some people know they need activity but are not looking to do weight training or other high intensity activities. The Walking Club is still a fitness option that can be easily fit into the day.”

The level of physical activity is also lower than a traditional fitness class. “Intensity of the walking club is lower and easier to commit to than a more rigorous bootcamp,” said Jesse. “This club is inclusive to everyone, regardless of fitness experience or physical ability. This accessibility allows beginners or those with injuries to still participate.”

Photo by Brian Janssens

Previously in September, a river valley walk was jointly hosted by the NAIT International and Intercultural Community Centre (IICC) and NAIT Well-Being. Freya Fu, International Engagement Coordinator at the IICC, hoped that the event would help students get to know more about Edmonton and make new connections. “This idea came from new students to Canada, who want to know more about the local area,” said Fu. “The goal was to find something that is moderate enough for people to enjoy exploring the city, as well as meeting new friends.” 

The feedback from this event was very positive and Babiuk is planning to host more events like this. “These events are planned to be scheduled once a month and will help participants stay active throughout the colder seasons. They will be open to all staff and students of NAIT,” said Babiuk. 

Staff and students who pay a twenty-dollar membership fee will also receive a BOCO cross body bag and access to the club’s Teams chat. Through Teams, members receive reminders of events and peer support from other club members. Those who participate virtually, or are unable to make it to that week’s meeting, will be able to see how far the club walked that day and walk at a time that better suits their schedule. 

Additional events will also be available to those in the Teams chat. “Other challenges to keep people motivated, like scavenger hunts, will be organized through Teams,” said Babiuk. 

The walking club’s meetings are available on Ookslife, and all students and staff are invited to attend.

cover photo by Brian Janssens

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