Step lively this Walktober

Regional challenge prompts residents to get walking

Coun. Michelle Kirby and George enjoy a walk around the neighbourhood during Walktober

Coun. Michelle Kirby and George enjoy a walk around the neighbourhood during Walktober

The simple act of walking can yield big benefits, and if you’re up to the challenge, Walktober wants you.

The regional walking challenge from pedestrian advocacy group Walk On, Victoria invites residents to join a month-long initiative that promotes walking as a healthy and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation.

Coun. Michelle Kirby is accepting the challenge in Oak Bay. “We have a walkable city. I think the whole goal is to use walking as a means of staying healthy and connected to your community,” Kirby says, noting that beyond the wellness benefits, walking is also a great transportation climate solution.

“It’s excellent for physical and mental health…and it’s just another way to connect with your neighbours.”

Walktober participants sign up for the free challenge using an online walking app at walktober.stridekick.com or by sharing photos and comments on the event’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. All participants have the chance to win Walktober prizes.

“Walking is one of the easiest ways to get around the region and it’s a healthy form of transportation. With Walktober, we want to highlight that walking is an all-year-round activity that is good for individuals, municipalities and society in general. Plus, we have some cool prizes that participants can win,” says Arielle Guetta, chair of Walk On, Victoria’s volunteer steering committee.

“We want people to enjoy walking in and around our region this October. We’ll also use the month to put pedestrian needs front and centre and highlight the need to increase spending on pedestrian infrastructure and safety measures, such as new crosswalks, sidewalk upgrades and additional lighting.”

Walktober follows last year’s Walk On Week and is modelled after other active transportation initiatives, such as Bike To Work Week.

Joining Kirby are “Walktober champions” from communities across the region, including Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Esquimalt mayor and CRD board chair Barbara Desjardins and architect Franc D’Ambrosio.

Kirby aims to walk 10,000 steps a day. Tracking her progress through the day can give her the nudge she needs to get moving when her numbers are down, she says.

It’s also a great excuse to bring her family together for an evening walk.

“We try to do that after-dinner walk. You don’t have to race, it can just be a nice easy stroll,” she says, adding with a laugh, “probably nobody is more excited for Walktober than George the dog.”

Learn more at walkonvictoria.org and crd.bc.ca/people-power. Sign-up at www.walktober.stridekick.com to create a profile and register your device or download the Stridekick app to your smartphone and search challenge 102016.

Share your Walktober stories, photos and ideas on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtags: #walktoberyyj and #peoplepowercrd