BY BARB BERGGOETZ
Lisa McCoy is eyeing a milestone — walking the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon in September. And she’s relying on support from the Bloomington Walking Club to help get her to the starting line.
The walking club started in 2012 and McCoy has been a part of it for the past three years. Every Thursday from April through October, walkers gather at 6 p.m. at the Olcott Park shelter for 3–4 mile guided walks in the surrounding south side area.
McCoy, who is diabetic, doesn’t miss too many Thursdays. “When you do it, you feel so much better.” The free walks, and additional walks with a friend, have helped her lose weight and lower her blood pressure and cholesterol. “You have someone who pushes you and holds you accountable,” she adds.
“The intention was to provide an environment and social support group for walkers,” says Alison Miller, health and wellness coordinator for the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, one of the sponsors. Miller says the number of people who participate has grown each year as word spreads and dedicated walkers bring their friends.
People of any age and fitness level are welcome, as are those walking with dogs and pushing strollers. Ten to 15 people come out regularly now. “We encourage people to walk at their own pace,” Miller says. “We don’t want people to be left behind, so we make sure no one walks alone.”
The weekly walks help Apple Muncy reach his goal of walking 10 miles a day — that’s a whopping 20,000 steps. Muncy, 68, has walked with the club for two years. With the help of some dietary changes, he’s lost 45 pounds. “Mostly, I walk alone,” he says. “But once a week, it’s good to get together with a group of people with a common goal.”
Ronnie Goswami, a neurologist with IU Health, another club sponsor, spoke to the group last year about the benefits of walking and then started walking with the group. “I got addicted to it,” Goswami says. “Besides the health benefits, walking helps clear your mind. You see the beauty of nature, and you make connections with others.”