How to Find and Join a Walking Club

Enjoy Walking with Others

Team of Walkers at Race
Team of Walkers at Race. Hero Images/Getty Images

Joining a walking club is a great way to enjoy walks and meet other other walkers. Many people prefer to walk with a group for safety and as a social activity. Learn about different types of walking clubs and how to join them.

Benefits of Joining a Walking Club

Joining a walking club can serve several goals:

  • Safety in numbers
  • Good choice of group walking routes
  • Meeting other walkers and walking partners
  • Sharing tips on walking technique, shoes, and gear
  • Participating in organized walking activities, trips, and social events

Walking Clubs

Not all walking clubs are the same. Here are some of the different types and where to find them:

  • Meetup Walking Groups: The Meetup.com site is a popular way to find a walking group to join and group walks in which to participate. You can easily search for a walking group near you. You will usually need to request to join a group and there may be a membership fee. Many walking clubs have an associated Meetup group and post their group walks via Meetup. The advantages are that you can RSVP for a walk, easily add it to your online calendar, and get directions to the meetup on your mobile phone. You often have a choice of groups focused on a certain age group, easy walk, or hikes.
  • AVA/IVV Clubs: These are non-competitive volkssport walking clubs that host and participate in 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer walking events. The IVV is the largest walking club organization in the world, with thousands of member clubs, including over 500 in the U.S. and Canada. These clubs vary from mom-and-pop clubs to those with hundreds of members. Use the AVA club listings and of you find more than one in 50 miles of you, give each a call to see which one best suits your needs. You may also want to form your own club.
  • Racewalk Clubs: If you need speed, racewalk clubs will assist you in learning legal racewalk technique and finding competitions. You will experience the thrill of passing runners during 10-kilometer fun runs. The club search at Racewalk.com can help you find clubs that don't have web sites, or individual racewalkers around the country.
  • Mall walking clubs: These clubs are organized individually, so call or visit your local mall to see if they have an organized program for walking. These clubs will generally concentrate on walking indoors for exercise.
  • Running Clubs: Many running clubs also accept walkers as members, and some have a large contingent of walkers and many events organized for either runners or walkers.The Road Runners Club of America has hundreds of clubs throughout the U.S.
  • Medical Center and HMO Clubs: Medical centers and heath maintenance organizations are good places to contact to find local walking clubs, as many sponsor walking groups. Your health insurance carrier may recommend walking groups.
  • Running Store Clubs: Check your local running shoe stores for brochures and publications which list walking and running clubs. Some stores have their own running and walking club that meets regularly to run and walk together.
  • Health Clubs: A gym or fitness center may sponsor walking and running groups, and be sure to check their bulletin board and web site for brochures or announcements.

More places to look include asking other walkers at a local charity walking event whether they know of any walking groups or clubs. You should also check social media such as Facebook for walking groups in your area.

Virtual Walking Clubs

When you can't find any groups in your area, but you would still like the support of a club, consider these options.

  • Fitness App Virtual Clubs and Friends: With Fitbit and other trackers and apps, you can often add friends who use the same device or app. Then you can challenge each other, send messages and cheers and keep each other going even if you can't walk together.
  • Yahoogroups: Look for email groups dedicated to walking, such as the Walklist email group which is mostly volkssport walkers and the Racewalk email group which includes world-class racewalkers as well as interested beginners. Visit the web interface to join, read or search the archives.
  • Social Media: You can keep in touch with what walkers are interested in with Facebook pages such as About Walking.