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Arilla Village residents complete their walk around Australia

Arilla Awesome Walkers – a group of up to 50 residents at Stockland’s Arilla Retirement Village in Victoria – collectively walked the equivalent distance of a lap around the country in less than 12 months.

It was an initiative of the village’s Lifestyle and Wellbeing Coordinator and designed to improve social cohesiveness in the village and residents’ general wellness, including weight loss and mental health.

The village supplied each participating resident with a pedometer to help them track their steps, while a staff member logged kilometres walked and provided updates through the community centre and in-home village television channels.

Residents also received information about each town or city they “passed through” to help create the experience of walking around the country.

The village’s visiting health professionals, doctor, physiotherapist, and podiatrist monitored the residents to ensure they were able to undertake the exercise. Since completing the challenge they’ve noted a marked improvement in their physical fitness.

“It is not uncommon to see large groups of residents walking the streets of surrounding suburbs,” said Jo Kitchell, Arilla’s Lifestyle and Wellbeing Coordinator.

“Some intrepid residents even kept us informed of the distances they walked while on holidays interstate or abroad. Others were just as enthusiastic, when it was too cold or raining to walk outdoors, they’d clock up their steps on the gym’s treadmills instead.

“The initiative proved very popular with residents, with new walkers joining the group at each outing. Every resident was able to participate in the initiative, regardless of whether they walked a lot or a little as each step was another towards the group’s goal.

“Stockland is committed to ensuring all residents can not only maintain their independence in retirement but also improve their physical wellbeing with a range of activities available for residents to engage in at their leisure.”

The residents’ next challenge, which they’ll start this month, is to walk 30,000km along the Pan-American Highway.

"The initiative proved very popular with residents, with new walkers joining the group at each outing." - Jo Kitchell, Lifestyle & Wellbeing Coordinator