By BRENNA GRITEMAN
Your usual excuses for putting off exercise — “gym-timidation,” or lack of time, resources or suitable weather conditions — are no longer valid.
For that you have Karin Johnson and the Walk 15 program to thank.
Based on Leslie Sansone’s hugely popular Walk at Home indoor aerobic walking program, Walk 15 is geared toward women and girls who enjoy walking for fitness and weight loss.
Johnson incorporates side steps, kicks, knee lifts and resistance bands to make the 40-minute session a multi-muscle workout. And for those with bad knees or who are new to exercise, a chair is a suitable companion and a great place to start.
“Any age range, any fitness level can come,” Johnson says. “You can’t do it wrong. You just cannot do it wrong.”
Johnson leads Walk 15 classes twice a week: 9:15 a.m. Mondays at Connections Church and 6:15 p.m. Tuesdays at Findlay Evangelical Free Church. While Walk 15 is not faith-based in its design, the Findlay woman and certified WholyFit instructor leads her sessions inside churches, begins each class with a group prayer and plays upbeat, contemporary Christian music during each class.
Faith and exercise go hand in hand for Johnson, who admits she has never been one for sweating it out at the gym. She finds that her faith fuels her and fills her with a joyous energy that allows her to help lead others in their own journey toward greater fitness. She began with yoga and pilates at home, then sought out a more Christian approach after finding that yoga conflicted with her religious beliefs. She found WholyFit, a yoga-like program that involves memorizing Scripture while moving through poses, and became a certified instructor in 2012.
Soon, though, she was surprised to realize she was missing the cardio element, so she returned to her Walk at Home programs and then pursued Walk 15.
“I want other people who hate cardio to love sweating a little bit,” says Johnson, who became a certified master instructor in 2016. “I have reshaped my body through building muscles. And I’m stronger and I have more energy.”
While the “15” refers to the time it takes to walk one mile, those walking with Johnson can expect to complete 2 miles during each class. She calls the workout “doable, fast and fun” but says above all, it’s a safe, judgment-free zone, which is why she chose to restrict the classes to women only.
“I just don’t want any reason for women to stay away,” Johnson says, adding the classes offer the opportunity to fellowship with others in an encouraging, inspiring environment. Best of all, no one cares about the style of your workout clothes or the progress you’ve made in your fitness journey.
“Come and jiggle together. Come and be real together,” she urges.
Walk 15 sessions are free, although donations are accepted. Johnson uses the donations toward tithings for her host churches, along with the costs associated with continuing education, equipment like resistance bands for her students and local charitable causes.
To learn more about Walk 15 or WholyFit, contact Johnson at 419-957-3117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.