For the past 20 years, my sole mode of exercise has revolved around walking, religiously monitoring my progress toward the elusive 10,000 steps through the Health App on my iPhone. However, according to Psychology Today, achieving a range of 6 to 8 thousand steps is sufficient for most individuals to enjoy substantial health benefits.
My fitness routine evolved as a result of my husband Neil’s decision to halt any further purchases of workout equipment for our home. It seemed that whatever type of machinery we acquired, it ended up serving purposes other than its intended use, like a laundry hanger or a conversation piece gathering dusk, not to mention another item to accidentally trip over.
Prior to my ill-fated attempt at creating a home fitness center, I had tried several gym memberships, all of which were abandoned after a month or even less. Walking however has yet to let me down.
According to the CDC, a significant six out of ten individuals walk for various reasons, whether it’s for transportation, fun, relaxation, or exercise. Harvard Medical School’s health publication further enlightens us on the remarkable benefits of walking, revealing how it combats the effects of weight-promoting genes, curbs a sweet tooth, lowers the risk of developing breast cancer, alleviates joint pain, and enhances immune function.
Adding to the list of advantages, Blue Cross emphasizes that walking acts as an instant mood booster, providing a surge of positive emotions, while also increasing energy levels and promoting better sleep quality.
While I find solace in my solitary walks that help clear my mind, I must remain constantly vigilant and aware of my surroundings, for attackers don’t always fit the stereotype of machete-wielding criminals. Sometimes, they can appear seemingly harmless. It serves as a stark reminder that danger can come from unexpected sources, even seemingly ordinary individuals.
That’s when City Girls Who Walk (CGWW) came to my attention.
In 2022, fitness guru Brianna Joye Kohn launched an innovative initiative, aimed at fostering social interaction in a fun and active manner after the pandemic. A Michigan native and Pace University alumnus, Kohn took to TikTok, extending an invite for a roughly 40-minute walk in Central Park.
Since its inception, the community has garnered an impressive following, boasting 15.1K followers on TikTok and 51.5K on Instagram
Remarkably, the response was overwhelming, as two-hundred and fifty women joined the event, forming a crowd comparable to those commonly seen at sample sales. The success of the gathering was not limited to New York City, as the movement rapidly spread to various cities across the country.
The vibrant social club meets every Sunday at the corner of Central Park and West 72nd Street, completely free of cost and with no sign-up required. Simply show up and have a great time!
There are plans to expand the club’s offerings in the future, with the possibility of introducing happy hours and networking events to enhance the overall experience for its members.
Although CGWW is billed as a way to forge new friendships, my initial interest was based on changing up my walk-alone routine by adding a day of comradery. Plus, there’s safety in numbers while walking through the park.
The club’s warm embrace extends to “Ladies 18 to 100,” as proudly stated on its Instagram page @citygirlswhowalk. As I arrived, I was greeted by a diverse and inclusive crowd of approximately 300 participants, donning an array of styles, from baseball caps to blowouts to burqas. The inclusivity is evident, and it’s heartening to see the community welcoming women from all walks of life.
Notably, the club’s FAQ section highlights that 80% of attendees come alone, fostering a sense of independence and empowerment among its members. Additionally, I discovered that it’s a dog-friendly environment, allowing members to enjoy their walks with their furry companions.
Regardless of your reason for walking, how fast you do it, or how frequently, now that you know about City Girl Who Walk, as the song says: You’ll never walk alone.