10 Ways to Make New Walking Friends

How to Find a Walking Partner

Walking with a partner can help you be true to your workouts. But many people fall away from walking when they lose a partner. How do you make new walking friends?

1
Join a Walking Club or Walking Group

Walking Friends
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There are as many different kinds of walking clubs and groups as there are walkers. They often are run on a shoestring, so don't expect splashy ads to find them. Places to look for walking clubs:

  • AVA/IVV walking clubs
  • Outdoor and hiking clubs
  • Running clubs that also welcome walkers
  • Medical centers, HMO and health insurers
  • Athletic shoe stores, sports stores, outdoor stores
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • Senior centers
  • Employers
  • Churches
  • Schools, colleges, universities
  • Local or regional government-sponsored through parks, health departments.
  • Weight loss programs

Some clubs and groups have membership fees, while others may have free membership.

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    2
    Walk Where Other Walkers Walk

    Woman brisk walking Central Park Reservoir NYC
    SelectStock/Vetta/Getty

    Start walking at a local track, park, greenway or mall early in the day when other walkers are out. Strike up a conversation on the treadmill at the gym. Smile, be friendly and accessible for a chat. You may soon find other walkers who are also looking for a new walking buddy. Don't know where to look? Browse MapMyWalk.com and see what other walkers and runners have posted as their favorite routes.

    3
    Walk a Walking Event

    Jacqui Joseph Finishes Adidas Women's 5K Challenge
    Jacqui Joseph Finishes Adidas Women's 5K Challenge. Felix Kunze / Getty Images Entertainment

    If you're not a joiner, then go hang out where the other walkers are, at walking events and walk/runs. Strike up conversations at the start/finish and make new friends while walking. There are many different types of these events. Often you'll find them advertised as runs but including walker-friendly time limits.

    • Charity walks/runs
    • 5K - 10K - Half Marathon - Marathon runs that are also walker-friendly
    • IVV walking events
    • Hikes and nature walks
    • Competitive racewalks

    As with clubs, many of these events have entry fees. But some are offered for free or at a very low price.

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      4
      Join a Training Group or Walking Class

      Training Group Walking
      Training Group. Joshua Hodge Photography/E+/Getty

      If there is a big annual walk/run in your area, check their web site for training groups. It is common for them to offer inexpensive training programs or group walks and runs in the months before the event. These may include half marathons, marathons, or multi-day charity walks. This is a great place to come mingle with other walkers and runners and make new friends. Some of these groups charge fees, while others offer at least some free training walks. Check for classes and workshops in fitness walking, Nordic walking and racewalking.

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      5
      Form a Walking Group

      Three young women walking - Getty
      Sam Edwards/OJO Images/Getty

      If you can't find a walking group already established, then it's time to do it yourself. What larger organization are you part of? Think workplace, church, school, neighborhood association, athletic club. Use their communication tools to get the word out that you are looking for walking partners and want to form a walking group. You can post something on their cork bulletin board, but also use their newsletters, web site, blog, Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. Announce a walking group time and/or an organizational meeting. Be consistent and eventually you may draw a core bunch of walkers to keep it going.

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      6
      Join a Walking Team

      Charity Walking Team
      Charity Walking Team. Steve Debenport/E+/Getty

      Many charity walks recruit teams to walk, such as the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. There are also team relay walks such as the Portland to Coast Relay. Visit the web sites of upcoming charity walks, relays and team events. See whether they have a means to contact or join an existing team. You will be able to meet other walkers and perhaps find a true walking friend. As these teams are event-focused, you have an exit strategy if they turn out not to be well-suited to you. Once you've done the event, the team may disband or you may stay together to train for the next event. I have made my most lasting walking friendships by becoming part of a walking team.

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      7
      Reach Out to Your Facebook and Twitter Friends

      Your friends and relatives may know somebody who is also looking for a walking companion. Post to Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and other social media that you are looking, and ask them to spread the word. Just like finding a date, you hope that your friends and loved ones won't refer any weirdos to you. But if you've been indiscriminate in added people as Facebook friends and Twitter followers, use caution in who might get suggested to you.

      8
      Look Online Locally

      You can look for local Meet-Up groups for walking and exercising, or post an walking partner request on Craigslist or online local community forums. Check to see if your local newspapers or broadcast media have online personal ads. As with online dating, you need to use caution when meeting strangers this way. Use our tips on how to safely meet new walking partners.

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      9
      Use a Walking Partner Matching Service

      Looking locally will usually produce the best results, but there are also general walking and exercise partner matching services online. Use caution in the amount of information you give to any web site beyond the facts needed to help match you to others. Then use our tips on how to safely meet new partners if you find someone.

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      10
      Hire a Personal Trainer or Walking Coach

      Yes, you can pay somebody to be your walking partner -- and get expert advice from them at the same time. Hiring a personal trainer or a walking coach can be a great investment in building your fitness level. You may want to try them out by attending a walking clinic held by a walking coach before committing. While you may not be able to pay a trainer or coach on an ongoing basis, you can ask them about their other clients who might also be looking for a walking partner. They may have insight in where to look for exercise friends.

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