The Town of Mattawa and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit have teamed up to host a walking program to encourage residents 55 and older to put on their walking shoes and step out this spring.
On Wednesday, May 11, members of the Health Unit will be upstairs at the Mike Rodden Arena from 10:30 until noon to officially launch the Spring in Your Step program—a six-week walking contest. Don’t worry, it’s not one long stroll, the six weeks refers to the total length of time participants have to log their steps.
Residents taking part can saunter at their leisure, record the distances walked, and at the end of six weeks, tabulate the grand total. Once complete, participants are entered into a draw to win gift cards from a local grocery store.
Renee Paquette is the town’s recreation manager, and she mentioned this new program is a pilot project, and if it goes well in Mattawa, the Health Unit might introduce it to other communities. To help get people in an ambling mood, the Health Unit has put together kits for participants that include a shoehorn, a reflective strip to attach to yourself to increase visibility, a pedometer (to measure those steps), a water bottle, “and there are some resources in there as well” outlining the health benefits of walking, Paquette outlined.
The kits will be distributed at the upstairs hall in the arena free of charge. “The goal is to get people 55 and older active” within the community, Paquette said. “It’s a good social activity, and it’s a good way to get outdoors during the nice weather.”
Paquette explained that during registration on May 11, participants will also be taught how to use the pedometer, how to re-set it before each walk, and other tricks of the pedometer trade because “we want to make sure everyone is comfortable with it,” Paquette said. “We don’t want this to a be a pain to people, we want this to be fun.”
There are about 50 kits available, so for those 55 and over, you may want to run to the Mike Rodden arena to ensure you get a walking kit of your own.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca