The 5 x 5 is a free, non-competitive community walking event where a 5km route is walked once a week for 5 weeks. The 5 x 5s are a celebration of being physically active in natural outdoor environments.
The aim of the 5 x 5 events is to enable better physical and social health outcomes for people within the community. Primarily, the focus of the event is to encourage healthy physical activity behaviours for people in the Illawarra region in a fun, supportive, friendly and accessible environment. Additionally, the event seeks to bring about long-term health and social benefits for members of the community by increasing self-efficacy to participate in physical activity, providing links to ongoing opportunities for physical activity, and increasing social capital and connectedness.
The benefits of the 5 x 5 events include:
- Enabling individuals at all levels of fitness and ability to participate.
- Providing a safe, friendly and accessible (cost and location) opportunity to be active.
- Building community connections at individual and organisational levels.
- Reducing social isolation.
- Contributing to weight control and reducing the risks for chronic physical health issues.
- Improving mental health and wellbeing.
The anticipated outcomes of the 5 x 5 events include:
- Improved physical health.
- Improved mental health.
- Increased sense of community in the local community.
- Reduced obesity rates and associated diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer).
- Improved strength, mobility and wellbeing generally.
- Improved ongoing social activities in the local community.
- Increased participation from people in wheelchairs (to gain the above benefits).
- Increased participation from mothers with young children in strollers (to gain the above benefits).
Walking is the first thing an infant wants to do and the last thing an old person wants to give up. Walking is the exercise that does not need a gym. It is the prescription without medicine, the weight control without diet, and the cosmetic that can’t be found in a chemist. It is the tranquiliser without a pill, the therapy without a psychoanalyst, and the holiday that does not cost a penny. What’s more, it needs no special equipment, is self-regulating and inherently safe. Walking is as natural as breathing.
- John Butcher, Founder Walk21, 1999