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Sun Herald:

A typical Saturday for Sue Parks includes joining a group of friends for a five-mile walk, an activity that keeps her healthy and in control of her stress levels.

These days it also keeps her busy as chief executive of a company that sells walking as a lifestyle.

In early March, Parks reached the culmination of all the days when she logged 10,000 steps (5 miles); all the days she dreamed of building her own company with the Sue Parks culture; all the days she toiled and traveled to bring WalkStyles, her infant company, to exactly this point. About two years after WalkStyles debuted its first products, Parks launched the part of the company that inspired her from the beginning – the walking community.

WalkStyles invited America’s fitness community to use its free, online service to form walking clubs. Participants can register, connect with like-minded walkers where they live or where they travel, and use the site to manage their group activities.

If all goes as planned, it could become the MySpace for walkers.

The target audience is huge and growing: Nearly 72 million Americans say walking is their favorite form of exercise, and older Americans favor it most.

The free online service complements the subscription-based service already in place on walkstyles.com. Walkers are encouraged to use a DashTrak to tally their daily steps and monitor their progress or to check it against others in the group. It’s a product that people all over the country – mostly women – have encouraged Parks to build, so they can find like-minded walkers wherever they go.

Photo by WalkStyles.

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Originally posted by Rich Whittle on July 6, 2007 in Ideas.

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