Queensland Walks is a volunteer group set up to improve conditions for walking in Queensland. It is the peak body for walking and provides a voice at local council and state level. Its also promotes events to get us walking.
Anna Campbell, President of Queensland Walks spoke with The Westender about its Walk at Work Week initiative. The event, she says, celebrates and encourages walking in and around the workplace.
Why walk at work and not to work?
Ms Campbell said that Queensland Walks recognises that while Queensland residents may include walking in some part of their journey to work, walking all the way to work is not always possible for a lot of Queensland workers. So instead of walk to work, they have created a signature Walk at Work campaign.
Throughout the week starting on Monday the 19th of August, Queensland Walks is encouraging workers to start experiencing and assessing the pedestrian environment within team-based walking groups. Their goal is to normalise walking and encourage more people to get involved.
“Some of our suburbs tend to be so car-centric and people are not encouraged to get outside and go for a walk,” Ms Campbell said.
Ms Campbell says she knows people who will drive their children to school and then spend an hour in the gym, when an alternative might be to walk to school with the kids. So, she said, let’s consider walking as an option not just for fitness but also as a family activity and a way to see and experience our environments differently.
“We are disjointed in not recognising the walking that we do, and the walking we can be doing,” she said.
Ms Campbell urges workers to get a team together at work, register for Walk at Work Week, and grab the team for a walking coffee trail, or for a lunchtime walk, or even for an after-work activity. In her own workplace, Anna’s team started a coffee trail where they would walk to a new coffee shop each week, to get some exercise and to enjoy some camaraderie. These walks work best, Ms Campbell says, if managers and directors get involved as well.
Tag your walk
Queensland Walks is also encouraging teams to photograph their walks – images can include the street, the destination, their feet, and selfies of course – and to post these images on Facebook at Queensland Walks Incorporated with the tag #walkatworkweek.
Queensland Walks sees this as an opportunity to improve the places we walk by gathering our feedback on our experiences.
These walks are also a good way you start having a look around the environment, Ms Campbell said, and she suggests asking yourself, “is this a good environment to walk – does it have shade, are the paths wide or narrow?” If walkers find that their environment is lacking shade, or the footpaths are in disrepair, Queensland Walks is encouraging walkers to let their local council know. Photograph and tag the good bits of your walk, as well as the areas that need improvement.
Other Walking Opportunities
There is something for non-workers too.
The Brisbane City Council’s former Gonewalking program is now delivered through the Heart Foundation Walking program. There are 269 Heart Foundation walking groups in Queensland, including groups for all abilities.
Locally for West End readers, there are walking groups in Highgate Hill, South Bank, South Brisbane and Dutton Park. Find times and details HERE
Many would know of 10,000 Steps – this program now has an app for mobile phone use and if you are up for a bit of competition, they provide team and individual challenges online.
How to Register
You can register your Queensland workplace, team, or just yourself and get involved by going for a walk before work, during your lunch break or even a little further for that extra special coffee.
Queensland Walks hopes that people will keep their groups going at the conclusion of the official week, and they’d love to see people becoming advocates for walking in their own communities, Ms Campbell told The Westender.
While we tend to hear more about bicycle advocacy groups in Brisbane, Queensland Walks is pleased to have been consulted by the Queensland Government when it was developing its soon to be released Queensland Walking Strategy . The strategy is intended to provide the framework for promoting walking as an accessible, active transport mode across the state, delivering the health benefits for Queenslanders and access to important destinations such as schools, shops and public transport.
The Westender and Queensland Walks will bring you more on this when the strategy is launched.