I am a senior writer for Weekend Notes, a copywriter, editor, published poet and former editor of poetry magazine Fruit Salad. I have also authored children's fiction and inspirational pieces.
Published March 12th 2019
Kick-start your heart
The quick to medium-paced group, Toowoomba Central Walkers, spread out quickly on the outside of Laurel Bank Park.
Toowoomba Regional Council provides a listing of walking groups in and around Toowoomba, as part of the Change Project, Healthy Living Program.
The walking groups are coordinated by the Heart Foundation and National Parks and Leisure. If you're in need of some company and a healthier heart, now is always a good time to challenge yourself to a healthier and more active lifestyle. It's fun and free.
If you're just getting started, the walking groups have different paces so you can ease into it. This encourages you to keep going.
Walking reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. More positives are maintaining bone density, balance, and coordination and of course, for weight loss. Additionally, it helps manage your cholesterol and blood pressure.
There's also a Heart Foundation Walking app for solo walkers. Here's the run-down on the walking groups you can trot along to.
East Creek Walkers
At present, there are about nine members of mostly older people in this friendly group, with a couple of younger people. It's easy to mingle during the one hour stroll (slow to medium-pace). The route changes and is suggested by coordinator Sally-Ann at the beginning of the walk. It's a dog-friendly group, though none were accompanying the day I walked.
About 3 kilometres or more if they're feeling up for it, the route may take you to beautiful Lake Annand, popular Picnic Point or anywhere within cooee of the East Creek Community Centre, where walkers meet at approx 8:45am every Tuesday. They may wait until 9 to set off, with coffee on returning in the airconditioned centre, a welcome relief.
They are at the new venue, 43 Kitchener St, opposite the weeping willows. If you're interested call Sally-Ann on 7 4639 2755 to register, it's sign-in-and-out on the day. Not pram-friendly. Parking on site. East Creek Community Centre also have Eat with Friends on some Wednesday nights, eating out together at a restaurant.
Cheeky cocky spotted during the walk at Lake Annand, not the usual sight for this park.
Grand Central Shopping Centre
At 7:30am promptly every Wednesday, around eight older people meet for a medium-paced 30-45 minute walk around the mall at Grand Central Shopping Centre, Margaret St, Toowoomba City. Meeting and signing in at the Information Desk, outside Mecca Maxima, level 1. About half the walkers split from the group going at a slow pace and browsing the shops. Some went solo. Prams okay, no dogs. Contact Meghan Wilson on 0409 849 785.
Toowoomba Central Walkers
Meet 17-22 slow to quick-paced walkers in the Laurel Bank Park Hall carpark, 50 Hill St, Toowoomba City. Walkers split into two groups, one quite slow that walk through the park itself and the quicker one sets off around the outside of the park, finishing within it. Two and a half laps around the park then through the middle. If you want a proper chat, the slow group is the one for you, but if you're more out for a brisk pace, take the outside.
Leaving promptly at 6:30am from the carpark every Tuesday and Thursday. No prams or dogs. More folks with walking frames might be welcome. No walking if it's raining. You must register either online or by filling out a form on the day. For more details contact Barry 0410 217 855.
A friendly group from the Toowoomba Central Walkers in Laurel Bank Park.
Three to twenty older people take a medium pace around the peaceful neighbourhood of Centenary Heights from Monday to Friday at 6am. Meeting at cnr of Crotty and Hume Sts, they take the same route each time. It's half an hour at a medium pace, beginning in Hume St, through the local park, around the streets and back to the meeting place. You must register beforehand on the Heart Foundation's or the Council's webpage. For more details contact the warm and friendly Judy on 7 4635 9059.
Meet the walkers at the Harlaxton Neighbourhood Centre, Harlaxton. It's a 30 minute walk every Tuesday. The departure time changes, but at present, it's approximately 10am. The group is currently five aged from 40 upwards. The walk is circular in the near vicinity of the Centre, not branching out further away. Contact Matt at the centre on 7 4639 2868 after 10am.
The age range for this group is 48 to 70, who take a different route each time for a 5 kilometre walk. Meeting at the Heights Community Centre, 16 Wine Dve, Wilsonton Heights, this group of three walk for approx one hour at a medium pace. Please note the days and times aren't as listed with the Council. They meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 6:30am. On Saturdays, they meet at 7am at Queens Park (or you can get a lift) for 'Parkrun' which is also 5 kilometres, on a timer.
You need to be aware that there are roaming dogs in the Wilsonton area, so the group carry personal alarms which deter these. Registration is on your first day and you will also be asked for contact details in case of emergency. Contact the helpful Dorothy Krause on 0499 773 454 if you have any questions.
For a reflective start to your day, pause the walk and smell the roses during your stroll through Laurel Bank Park.
Note: though listed on the Heart Foundation website, Friends of Clifford Park are for post-students with disabilities who have finished at the Clifford Park Special School, Newtown, so not applicable to members of the public. Note also that the Heart Care walking group that were meeting at the hospital, no longer operates.