Have you ever had a passion for something and wanted to share it and couldn’t convince anyone to try it? My passion is walking. Oh not just any walking but “Volksmarching” as in doing 10K sanctioned sporting events. These walks are sanctioned by the American Volkssport Assn (ava.org) and when I complete one I collect a stamp in my record book. Once my record book is full, I send it in and I receive a patch, a pin and a certificate of accomplishment.
One of the excuses from my friends and family is that they are runners not walkers. They claim running is better than walking. But according to articles I’ve read walking is just as good, if not better, as running. According to a recent article; runners reduce their risk of heart disease by about 4.5 percent if they ran an hour every day. However, walkers who expend the same amount of energy per day reduce their risk of heart disease by more than 9 percent. Of course to expend the same amount of energy walking as you do running you would have to go twice the distance as the runner. But you’ll also have reduced your risk of joint injury and you’ll get to actually see things around you.
Another excuse of my friends is that it’s too hot (cold, wet, etc) and they prefer walking on a treadmill at the gym. Yes with a treadmill you have climate control; but the treadmill is flat and even with an incline it doesn’t give your muscles the same variability or challenge that you’d get outside. Plus it is boring and your resolution to go to the gym quickly fades. So I get out early in the morning for my Volksmarches before the summer sun gets brutal, I dress in layers when it’s cold, and I wear a raincoat and carry an umbrella if it happens to be raining which isn’t likely in drought plagued Texas.
In addition to collecting my stamp for Volksmarching I’ve learned that there are Letterboxes and Geo caches hidden along many of the walk routes. I can’t understand why others don’t enjoy traveling to a strange places to walk around and discover things and enjoy a little treasure hunting also.
You might see some awesome sights like this in a state park.
Or see sites like this in the cities.
Or walk down a small town main street.
So break out of the familiar and predictable world you live in. Come be more adventurous and have some tales worth telling. There are 32 AVA sanctioned walking club in Texas. These clubs host 144 walks in Texas that can be done most any day of the year. Click for a map to see if there is a walk near you. http://www.ava.org/ava_events.asp. You can purchase AVA records books online also if you’d like to start collecting stamps.
To do one of these sanctioned Volksmarches you simply go to the start location listed, request the “walk box” and complete the registration and fill out a start card. Take a set of directions/map and complete the event. When you finish the walk you place $3.00 in an envelope along with your start card and mail it to the point of contract for that walk box. If you have a record book there is a stamp and stamp pad in the walk box. You would stamp your book.
To watch a youtube video about Volksmarching (or Volkswalking) click on this link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-94z0OS7SHo