While walking is the preferred form of exercise for many women in Australia, it’s a form of exercise that faces a fierce opponent — the weather.

Whether it is hot and humid or just downright chilly, the weather does give us a convenient get-out clause.

Factor in a busy work/life schedule and a reluctance to sacrifice precious weekend hours to pounding the pavements and it is easy to see why so many Australians aren’t walking as much as they should be.

A Griffith University pilot project, starting June 15, aims to take the weather out of the walking equation and replace it with a novel social element.

Social Marketing @ Griffith has teamed up with Westfield to develop the Give Me 5 program, a five week pilot program offering 5 x 50 minute sessions, Monday to Friday.

And the weather will have no part to play with the walking circuit inside the temperature-controlled environs of Westfield Garden City on Brisbane’s south side.

Each group is assigned a personal trainer who is there to advise and support. Walks are pencilled in from 7.30am to 8.20am meaning participants can still get to work afterwards.

The pilot project was developed based on three years of PhD research by Mohammad Kadir.

“Many people see walking as more beneficial and less costly than exercising at the gym,” project manager, Paola Becerra (below), says. “We know that people want to be in a safe place, to meet new people and to stay cool all year round.”
Paola Becerra1

“Give Me 5 aims to help people to make a start by taking away the many reasons not to get more active such as Queensland weather, cost, health, safety or even the idea of being left drenched in sweat in a social or work environment.

“Our partnership with Drive Fitness means that a trainer is always on hand to help participants to find a way to safely overcome any health challenge they face.”

Paola, who has a Master of Marketing degree from Griffith Business School, is hopeful that a series of “little communities” can be generated as the project gets off the ground and strong relationships are forged among the participants and also with their personal trainers.

She is seeking participants who want to join Give Me 5 from June 15. People are welcome to come as little as one day and as many as five days a week for the initial five-week pilot program.

Along with the input of a personal trainer, courtesy of Drive Fitness, participants will also get some extras from Boost Juice, Lorna Jane, Sumo Salad and Jamaica Blue. Griffith University will provide a towel, drink bottle and waist belt. Each participant will pay $5 per week, with one-fifth of this to be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

SRTsml“Social marketing involves the use of commercial marketing techniques to influence and facilitate behaviours that benefit individuals and communities,” Director of Social Marketing @ Griffith, Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele (left), said.

“Through the Give Me 5 project we are encouraging more women to change their perceptions about physical activity, a perfect example of social marketing at work.”

Anyone interested in taking part can email Paola at [email protected]or log on towww.givemefive.com.au.