The Big Walk to health

The annual government efforts to encourage South Africans to become more healthy takes a step forward on Sunday when The Big Walk events take place around the country, including in Pietermaritzburg.

Hundreds of people are expected to congregate at the Msunduzi Athletics Stadium on Sunday to take part in KwaZulu-Natal leg of The Big Walk. Walkers have the option of a 10km or a 5km walk around the Alexandra Park / Harry Gwala Stadium precinct.

The walk, which is one of nine being held in all the provincial capitals around the country, is the culmination of the various National Recreation Week activities which were held on Friday morning (October 4th).

Since 2015 the National Recreation Day has been a government-legislated day of activity with all citizens encouraged to take part in some form of exercise on the first Friday in each October. The various provincial Departments of Sport and Recreation are mandated to organise events with the aim of getting people to participate on the day.

The long-term goal is to encourage a more active lifestyle for South Africans with the obvious benefits that come with regular exercise. The KwaZulu-Natal National Recreation Day activities were held at the Esikhawini Campus of the uMfolozi TVET College in Richards Bay.

The various National Recreation Day activities includes a wide variety of activities from wall climbing and archery at the national event in Tshwane, to more mainstream football, cricket and rugby at the Gauteng event in Westrand.

In contrast, Sunday’s Big Walk is focused primarily on getting the population taking part in anaerobic activities with walking and running events.

Worldwide, more than 15 million people participate in organised walks in the first week of October each year. South African events have attracted a total of more than 30 000 participants annually in recent years with over 6 000 people expected to participate in the Tshwane event at the Fountains Valley Resort.

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