In Kevin Rucioch’s younger days the Bay City Rollers and the Rolling Stones were all the rage, but now he’s all about the Encounter Bay Strollers and still listening to Mick Jagger and his Strolling Bones.
At 73-years-young, Kevin is one of 24,000 active participants in the National Heart Foundation’s fabulous walking groups around Australia, and one of 80,000 since it began in 1995.
And having done 900 of the walks since he became involved almost seven years ago – far enough to walk from his Encounter Bay home to Melbourne and back twice – Kevin not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk as the saying goes.
It’s all about a casual stroll at your pace to get fit and stay healthy, and Kevin says there’s not a better time to join a local Heart Foundation walk group than now after so many of us over-indulged during the festive season. And it’s all free – simply register or call a local group organiser.
The Encounter Bay Strollers is one of 13 organised Heart Foundation walking groups across the Fleurieu Peninsula, and they all participate on different days, times of the day, and most certainly the duration and pace to comfortably suit the needs of all.
“I do it just because it’s healthy, but along the way I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends,” Kevin said. “We have 20 registered walkers on our books, and I guess we average 12 each session, but there is no peer pressure here.
“The thing is, we all have an excuse to walk and we enjoy the exercise. I started to encourage my wife to keep walking; so far she’s done 25 walks and I’ve done 900.”
Jann Aldridge, one of the local Strollers, says she likes to do three 5km walks a week for fitness, but loves it just as much because of the social side of it all.
“It’s a good walk, and Kevin has done a great job organising this since 2008”
Helen Morley, a national training and support coordinator for the Heart Foundation walking program, provided a few scary statistics that should make us all think about our fitness and health. They included physical inactivity was a major health problem in its own right. Disturbingly, about half of Australian adults (54%) were not sufficiently physically active to gain health benefits.
Australians were more physically inactive and sedentary than ever before. Two out of three (66.9%) Australians aged 15 years and over do very little exercise.
And eight of 10 Australian children do not meet national physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes per day.
Helen said many walkers report the social contact is what keeps them coming back year after year, with most groups also organising an occasional special walk or other social events to make being active even more fun.
“The program helps you stay motivated,” Helen said. “It’s easy to say, ‘I’ll give my walk a miss today’, but knowing there is a group of people waiting for you can provide that extra motivation needed to get out the door.
“Being in a group keeps you committed. Many people find their enthusiasm for being active wanes after only a few months, especially if they experience an injury or illness. By being part of a group, you are more likely to make a commitment to walking regularly.
“This is also a safe way to exercise. Walking in a group makes you more visible to motorists and cyclists, and ensures help is at hand should you have an accident or become ill while walking.”
The Heart Foundation’s walk program would not be possible without its sponsors, including Medibank Community Fund, fitbit, and a range of state-wide sponsors.
To find out more information visit: www.walking.heartfoundation.org.au or call 1300 36 37 87. Here are the groups, contacts and some relevant details that will hopefully encourage you to become involved in a Heart Foundation Walking Group.
Meet: Aldinga Community Centre, cnr Hamilton & Butterworth Rds, Aldinga Beach. Organiser: Sandra 0427 418 967. Duration: 45-60 min. Speed: fast. When: Friday 8.30am.
Meet: Centre for Positive Ageing, Cnr Cadell St & Cutting St, Goolwa. Organiser: Shirley
8555 0029. Duration: 45-60 min. Speed: fast. When: Thursday 9am.
Goolwa Uniting Strollers & Walkers
Meet: Goolwa Uniting Church, Collingwood Street. Organiser: Marilyn 0403 000 877. Normal distance: 4km. Duration: 75-90 min. Speed: medium. When: Monday 9.15am.
The Early Birds @ McLaren Vale
Meet: Monday – Middlebrook Winery, Sand Rd; Wednesday – McLaren Vale Information Centre, Main Rd; Friday – Battle of Bosworth Winery, Gaffney Rd Willunga. Organiser: Sue 0448783261. Duration: 75-90 min. Speed: medium. When: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 7am.
Walking for Good Lives
Meet: ACH Community Club House, 177 Main St, McLaren Vale. Organiser: Felicity email@example.com Speed: slow. When: Thursday 9.30am.
Friends of Mitten
Meet: Basham Beach car park, Basham Pde, Middleton. Organiser: Jeff 0432 204 461. Duration: 45-60 min Speed: medium. When: Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 4pm.
Compass Lifestyle Walkers
Meet: Mount Compass Community Hall, Peters Tce. Organiser: Carolyn 0409 671 544.
Normal distance: 2km. Duration: 45-60 min. Speed: medium. When: Monday 9am.
Meet: Mypong Oval. Organiser: Ros 0447 418 157. Duration: 30 min. or less. Speed: medium. When: Monday & Wednesday 9am.
Port Elliot Easy Steppers
Meet: entrance Port Elliott Caravan Park, Basham Beach. Organiser: Duration: 45-60 min. Speed: slow. When: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 7am.
Strathalbyn Wellbeing Group
Meet: Angelican Church Hall, East Tce, Strathalbyn. Organiser: Sylvia 8536 2173. Duration: 45-60 min. Speed: medium. When: Monday & Thursday 8.30am.
Encounter Bay Strollers
Meet: Barker Reserve (opposite Civic Centre and by Inman River Bridge). Organiser: Kevin 8552 5063. 30-45 min. Speed: medium. When: Monday &, Wednesday 9am; Friday 9.30am.
Out and about Victor
Meet: Various places, Victor Harbor. Organiser: Dorothy 0414 666 030. Duration: 45-60 min. Speed: slow. When: Monday 9am.
Meet: Office and Image, Hill St, Willunga. Organiser: Christine firstname.lastname@example.org Normal distance: 4.5km. Duration:45-60 min. Speed: medium. When: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 8am.