April 10 2009 by Sam Lowe
During an overnight stay at our home, a well-traveled senior citizen couple from North Carolina mentioned that they go volkswalking in some of the towns and cities they select as destinations. They said it's helping keep them in shape while they're on an extended tour of the United States.
Volkswalking is not specifically designed for seniors, but many in our age group find it challenging and rewarding because it's a good way to exercise while making new friends. The American Volkssport Association (AVA) was founded in 1976 to promote non-competitive physical fitness, friendship and fun. There are now more than 320 active clubs in the U.S., and they present thousands of volkssporting events every year.
Volkswalking (also called just plain old "walking") is the most popular form of volkssporting. The walks are found all over the nation and are usually six miles (10 kilometers) long. Walkers can either go it alone, using a well-marked map, or accompany a leader in one of the organized events. Local clubs also offer three-mile walks for those who can't or choose not to go on the longer hikes. Those who prefer something a bit more strenuous can bike, boat, skate or swim at one of the structured weekend gatherings.
Some of the volkssport events occur on pre-determined dates; most are self-guided walks that are open every day of the year. The association publishes an annual directory that lists starting points where do-it-yourself walkers can pick up maps that detail the exact routes, plus points of interest along the way. These include such items as Indian ruins, parks, bodies of water and scenic vistas. The same information is available on the web site: www.ava.org.