July 24th, 2024

Walking club springs into gear for winter

By Lethbridge Herald on January 9, 2024.

Members of the Runner's Soul Walking Club enjoy a warm stroll during the opening session of the season Tuesday morning at the Servus Sports Centre. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – apulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Now that winter has decided to grace us with her presence, many find it difficult to walk outdoors due to the cold temperatures and slippery surfaces, but the Runner’s Soul Walking Club is here once again to offer a warm place and safe surface to continue exercising. 

While for some people walking is part of a new year’s resolution, to others it might be doctor’s orders or simply an opportunity to socialize but winter has a way of getting in the way. Therefore, having a safe warm place to walk continues to attract many residents year after year. 

Co-owner of Runner’s Soul, Shawn Pinder says the walking club has been offering a warm place to walk to members of the community for more than a decade, and this year they are starting their season just in time to escape the cold temperatures ahead. 

“We’re just getting started again for the new year and our winter-spring session will be going until the end of March. We go every Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Servus Sports Centre and it’s open to people of all ages, but because of the timing we probably end up with more seniors than other age groups,” said Pinder. 

He says the process to join the walking club is very simple. Residents have the option to sign up at Runner’s Soul located at 2646 South Parkside Drive South, or during a Walking Club session at the Servus Sports Centre located at 2501 28 Avenue South, with both offering different payment options, depending on their usage preferences, from a full semester, to a monthly or drop in session fees. 

Pinder recalls the early stages of the club before he became involved over a decade ago, and says many members continue to join every year. 

“I’ve been involved with the walking club for the last 12 years, but it was started by a small group probably about 17 or 18 years ago. They had graduated from the cardiac rehab program and were looking for somewhere warm and ice-free to walk during the winter times,” said Pinder. 

He said after a few years, the couple who founded the club decided to step away and passed it on to Pinder, who saw the club face the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who is now happy with a strong membership once again. 

“The numbers have really come back significantly since then, and I expect this could be a popular place over the next couple of weeks as we get much colder than it has been so far this winter.” 

Pinder says another attraction for members is the cushy surface they get to walk on, which many have praised and named as one of the reasons for coming back every winter. 

One of those members who keeps coming back is Daniella Beet, who says the surface of the soccer field makes it easier to walk than concrete sidewalks. 

“It’s much easier on the feet and on your knees because you’re walking on a carpeted surface so you don’t get the jarring effect, and you get a much better exercise,” said Beet. 

She says socializing another benefit of joining the  club since it is much easier to talk to others while staying warm. 

“It’s nice meeting and seeing the same people and chatting as you’re walking along, because then you tend to walk more. As you’re talking, you’re not paying attention to how many times you’re going around and the exercise is really good, keeps your muscles nice and limber and your knees limber as well,” said Beet. 

Beet said if she had to do it outside, she simply would not walk at all, not only because of the cold temperatures but because of the danger it poses to walk on slippery surfaces. 

“It’s much safer here and it’s nice to do it while staying warm. We used to do a lot of walking when we were in Florida for the Winter, but now that we stay here it’s really nice being able to do it indoors here,” said Beet. 

She said it is also helping her husband after he suffered a heart attack, as he was told to continue exercising and being able to walk indoors allows him to do just that.

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