The warm weather isn’t just enticing kids to start playing outside – it’s also helping out the women involved with Evanston’s 12 week walking program, Women out Walking (W.O.W.).
W.O.W., now in its eighth year, encourages women to track their steps each week and make improvements over the 12 weeks. Public health educator Kristin Preihs, who works for the City of Evanston Department of Health and Human Services, said the program has seen a lot of growth this year, with twice as much turnout.
“The kick-off participation was surprising, with how many people had heard about it and attended the event,” Preihs said.
The Kick-Off event and orientation, held in late March, was attended by more than 300 people and featured performances several groups, including Urban Beat Dance Studio. Every woman who registered gets a t-shirt, pedometer and the chance to win several prizes including private Pilates sessions and entry to a wine tasting party.
With a couple of weeks already done for the program, Preihs said women already seem very engaged.
“We have had a lot of W.O.W. participants organizing group walks, and then also participating in sponsored activities and group walks as well,” she said. “I think the social networks are really great.”
Outside of the physical act of walking, this program presents an opportunity to learn more about women’s health holistically, focusing on other aspects such as social health and mental health. The program supports women as they explore other fitness activities that they normally wouldn’t try with a group of women in the same situation, Preihs said.
The program will conclude with a closing event on June 21 at Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate at Long Field.