Brynn Shaffer / SMDP Intern

Walking enthusiasts are invited to meet this Saturday for an anniversary celebrating the Wilmont Walk Loop, a one-mile route established in 2019 to encourage exercise and community. 

This Saturday, June 25 at 9 a.m., Adopt-A-Walk is hosting the third anniversary celebration of the opening of the Wilmont Walk Loop, founded by Malin Svensson in 2019 to encourage walking as a form of exercise by the people of Santa Monica. 

“Everyone knows getting together with Malin means that you have to walk,” joked Svensson.

Svensson grew up in Sweden with fitness in her blood. Her mother was a physical education instructor and her dad was a competitive walker, so, by nature, health and fitness quickly became her passion. In Sweden, Svensson recounts walking and biking everywhere, and she noted that she didn’t even own a car until she moved to L.A. in 1989.

It was then that she quickly picked up on some of the key differences between her homeland and Los Angeles, specifically in how American culture tends to encourage rather sedentary lifestyles.

That’s what sparked Svensson’s mission: to make movement more accessible for the people of Los Angeles. 

According to Svensson, as the obesity epidemic is growing, walking is the best thing to do for your body because “it’s probably the most simple form of exercising, and it has so many benefits…health is not just physical,” said Svensson. “It’s mental, emotional, social and environmental.” 

Her company, Nordic Body, is a walking and fitness club that inspires strength training for the 50-plus crowd. She has garnered a strong base of clientele, including Hollywood actress Jane Fonda. 

Adopt-A-Walk, founded in 2017, is an extension of that company, serving as a health advocacy organization on its way to non-profit status. In June 2019, Adopt-A-Walk and the City of Santa Monica came together to form the Wilmont Walk Loop, a permanently-stationed one-mile route near Reed Park.

The loop is open to the public, in hopes that it gets more people walking, no matter age or fitness level. Every 0.1 mile is marked with signage indicating how far walkers have traveled, as well as inspirational quotes to keep them going. The goal is that, with every 0.1 down, novice walkers can build up their stamina and walk a little farther each time.

Svensson preaches the nature of the one-mile loop because “one mile is a do-able, and not overwhelming, goal to have as a health goal.”

Every Saturday at 9 a.m., Adopt-A-Walk hosts a guided walk along their very own Wilmont Walk Loop, where residents can come together, enjoy the fresh air and get their bodies moving.  Everyone is welcome, from Santa Monica locals to visitors, to dogs and children.

Since its establishment, “the loop” has seen a great number of success stories, with one in particular standing out.

Carmen Parker, Minkie McKevitt and Carol Golliher are three women that became friends by regularly attending the Saturday morning walks. They enjoyed the social nature of the path and eventually picked up walking outside of the scheduled time, agreeing to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well. When COVID-19 hit, shortly after the loop’s formation, the path became a sort of safe haven, where they could get outside when the whole world was living indoors.

“They told me this loop saved their lives,” said Svensson. “And that’s my vision with Adopt-A-Walk. It’s in your neighborhood, you get to know new friends, you get to know your neighbors, you get to know your neighborhood…and you can look out for each other.”

There are simple ways people can adopt walking into their daily lifestyles, whether it be walking to the movie theater, a restaurant or walking a pet.

While Svensson has goals to expand into other cities of Los Angeles County, to make more loops and to encourage other communities to get walking, right now, she’s just focused on celebrating the success of this one.

This Saturday, June 25 at 9 a.m., Svensson will be hosting a guided walk in honor of the 3rd anniversary of Wilmont Walk Loop’s opening. The celebration will commence with a short introduction from Svensson herself, followed by some other speeches, a small warm-up and finish with walking the loop.

Those wishing to participate can meet at 725 California Ave., or search for more information, or donate, at