To recruit walkers, promote the club via a variety of outlets. Once people have joined, organize the membership and set walking goals for the club.
Places to Recruit Walkers
You may already have a ready-made group of people who are interested in participating in a walking club. Here are other sources to consider when recruiting older adults for a walking club.
- Senior Centers. Get permission from the center director to promote the walking club during the lunch hour.
- Senior Villages. Place a notice in their newsletters.
- Senior Exercise Classes. Ask to make an announcement before or after a class.
- Libraries. Post a notice on bulletin boards.
- Faith-based Organizations.
- Book Clubs.
- Sororities and Fraternities.
Promoting Your Club
Here are ways to promote your walking club.
- Word of mouth.
- Post flyers in libraries and other venues.
- Post social media messages multiple times.
- Send emails and/or make phone calls to family, friends, and colleagues.
- Put notices in community newsletters and newspapers.
- Post notices on the news boards of local public access channels.
- Contact local radio and TV stations to gain access to their community outreach programs.
- Use car magnets or traveling billboards with messages such as “Interested in Joining a Walking Club?” that display contact information.
Organizing the Membership
- Identify people who could serve as walk leaders.
- Assign one person or a team to keep the group informed about club news and information.
- Develop a list with members’ email addresses, phone numbers, and emergency contact information.
- With members’ permission, develop a listserv so that leaders and members can communicate with one another.
- Consider using a social media platform or app to stay in regular contact with club members.
- Determine who, if anyone, in your group does NOT use email and develop a system for phone communication with those people if needed.
- Setting realistic goals—such as walking up to 30 minutes several times during a week or a month—and having a plan to reach them may improve the chances of sustaining a walking club.
- Ask members to do an assessment of their current level of physical activity using the Go4Life Find Your Starting Point activity log (PDF, 211K). Members can share their logs with each other and then discuss walking goals for themselves and for the group.
- Members may wish to set walking goals after seeing how many steps are recommended for daily physical activity.
- Ask members if they have health issues that would affect walking.
- Based on the different levels of physical activity and individual health issues, the group may decide to divide up into brisk walkers and casual strollers.
- You may wish to start out with shorter, slower walks and then increase the distance and speed over time. Remember, the health benefits of walking are maximized when people engage in brisk walking.