Walking and Volkswalking

No wonder I do so much alone. I don’t understand the point of many group activities that people seem to enjoy.

Someone suggested I look into volkswalking since I walk a lot, but it doesn’t really appeal to me. It seems to be organized walking in groups, and I get that with the three-nights-a-week conditioning walk with the Sierra Club and an occasional hike with one of the hiking groups in the area. Volkswalking also supposed to be non-competitive walking, but anyone who completes a walk or a certain amount of mileage gets a badge or a stamp in a book (which they pay for themselves) to show masseswhat they accomplished. To me, anytime you give people “achievement awards” for completing something, it’s competitive, even if there isn’t one so-called “winner.” Why else do you need a badge? You know you did it — a badge can’t give you that. Only you can.

The premiere purported purpose of the various volkswalking clubs is to promote regular physical fitness for overall good health. So if you’re already walking, half of what they have to offer is negated. I suppose if I were in a new area and wanted to meet people, I’d go on one of the walks, but otherwise, if I were interested in the area, I’d just . . . walk.

That’s always been the benefit of walking — if you have two working feet and legs or reasonable facsimiles, that’s all you need. You just put one foot in front of the other, and you’re walking. What can be simpler?

Still, over 400,000 people take part in American volkswalking activities every year, so the bewilderment over the phenomenon is obviously mine alone.

So, if you’re interested in walking and need more incentive than simply going outside and putting one foot in front of the other for as long as you want (or can), then perhaps volkswalking is for you.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

9 Responses to “Walking and Volkswalking”

  1. Wanda Says:

    I think we’ve become a culture of doing stuff with a large, extended group. Stop smoking with a national group. Lose weight with Dr. Oz’s (or so many others) group. It’s a thing. I like the idea of just walking for the enjoyment of it. Maybe another person, maybe not. But I don’t need ‘no stinkin’ badges’. 😀

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Maybe it’s because I study the Holocaust, butbesides Volkswagon, I’m suspicious of anything with “wolk” in it to begin with. Is that weird?

  3. Carol Says:

    Have to admit I’ve never heard of it before, but nope, it doesn’t sound like something I’d want to do. If I *needed* to walk, it would be alone and with just my camera for company. But then I’m a bit of a rebel when it comes to being told what I ought to do. LOL!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I like walking with a camera for company. I can walk at my own pace. I do walk two or three nights a week with a group, and it gets hard because I like to lollygag, and they like to charge ahead.

  4. Juliet Waldron Says:

    I’ve Volksmarched, but it never caught on with me, either. I like walking and biking, as you do, Pat, mostly because I can do it by myself, at my own pace. It is an old health concept–I fear from Nazi Germany–but that shouldn’t take away from the basic idea which is to get out and to get fit through a simple form of exercise, available to anyone with 2 feet.

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