Stretching legs: Barry Nixon and the Friday morning walk group. Photo: RUBY STALEY

Walking for happy heart health

January 22, 2021 BY

WITH the aim maintaining physical and social health, the Heartbeat Ballarat Walking Group offers three opportunities to get residents, particularly those with a heart condition, up and moving.

The first of the group’s offerings is Friday morning at 10am with a short walk around Lake Wendouree where participants chat and stroll for three kilometres.

Meeting at the Boatshed Restaurant, the session is great for anyone who is hoping to improve their heart health or is either new to walking, recovering from surgery or just out of rehabilitation.

The other two sessions offered by the group are two separate five-kilometre walks around Victoria Park from 2pm on Wednesdays, and again at 9.30am on Saturdays.

Walking group coordinator Barry Nixon said the activities are open to everyone hoping to improve their fitness, not just for heart patients.

“Several of our walkers are here for the exercise and the social connection,” he said. “Our motto is we walk, we talk, we do coffee, and we repeat.

“One of the great things about our group is that not everyone has the same experience but it’s great to share time with people who have similar lived experience.”

Particularly for those diagnosed with a heart condition or recovering from a heart event or surgery, guided walking and peer support is an important and often overlooked part of the rehabilitation process.

“Some of us have had complicated cardiac issues and some of us have had really simple ones,” Mr Nixon said.

“If people ring up and say they can’t today, that it’s a step too far, then I understand because I’ve had those days.

“After COVID, so many said what they missed most wasn’t even the activity, it was the social interactions with the other walkers, that’s what I missed most.”

Started about three years ago, fellow walker Julie Jules said over the years the Heartbeat Walking Group has not only offered her physical fitness, but also new friends along the way.

“I have been walking the Lake for three years and experience has been wonderful, not just for the physical aspects but the social as well,” she said.

“I have learnt that there a lot of people in Ballarat that need the peer support that is provided by Heartbeat Walking Group, this group is an easy and nice way of getting people together and enabling us to walk in a great environment.”

To get involved with the Heartbeat Ballarat Walking Group, message Barry Nixon on 0447 377 159.