Stepping out with friends

The bonds between the members of the Preston Walking Group grow greater with every step, as do their health outcomes.

The Preston AgeWell Centre’s new program was introduced in February to increase community engagement, support clients’ independence and improve wellbeing.  Due to client demand, the program now runs twice a week.

At 2pm on Mondays and 9am on Fridays, each group of eight clients and at least two staff members hit the pavement, then catch up for refreshments afterwards.

“We do some stretches at the centre, walk for about 45 minutes, then come back to share morning or afternoon tea and do some relaxation exercises together,” Program Manager Julie Anderson said.

“Walking around the oval is great practise for our clients because of the soft surface of the grass, and we have the support of an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist on each walk.”

It is well known how important exercise is for maintaining good health but several group members said pain or a lack of motivation often prevented them from exercising alone. 

“It’s a distraction when you’ve got others around you,” said Dot Lane, who participates in the Friday group.  “You don’t think about the aches and pains because you’re busy socialising.”

Each group member has their own fitness goals and mobility challenges, but what unites them is their growing confidence and sense of achievement.

“I discovered I was able to walk around an oval twice,” Patricia McIntosh said.  

“I had never tried it before, to be quite honest, but I did it once and thought I might do it again.  It felt terrific.”

If you would like to join one of the Preston Walking Groups, contact the Preston AgeWell Centre on T: 9416 8433.