By Angela Gentile, Planning Unit Program Monitor
Beaver County Office on Aging
I visited my primary care physician for an annual physical a few months ago, and after checking my chart, he congratulated me for not gaining weight during the pandemic. Now that the pandemic is going into its second year, many people realized that they have gained weight. Studies show that some people gained between 1.5 and 2 pounds a month, and it happened for all types of reasons: exercising less, working from home, snacking more, cooking from home, drinking more, among other things.
Why not consider walking 30 minutes a day to burn some calories and lead a healthier lifestyle? Walking can help keep various medical conditions under control. I walked a lot during the pandemic. I often walk around the Sisters of St. Joseph grounds and can enjoy seeing the trees, flower beds, labyrinth, cemetery and grotto. There’s lots of other places to walk.
If you like walking indoors, there are several options. The Center at the Mall Fitness Center has been conducting walking programs during the pandemic to keep people active. The Mall Walking Club is led by the fitness instructors each Tuesday and Thursday outside of the center’s front gate. The 10 a.m. group is faster paced, and the 11 a.m. group is slower paced. You will need to wear a mask and keep six feet of distance from each person. If you walk at the mall on your own time, you can be part of the center’s Mall Walkers. Just sign the sign in sheet at the center’s front gate.
There’s an indoor walking track around the tennis court at the Brady’s Run Park Recreation Facility. The surface is nice to walk on, and there are curtains to prevent tennis balls from coming on the track. There is no charge to use the walking track, and it is open during regular operating hours. Eight times around the track equals a mile.
If outside is your preferred way to walk, the county has lots of options at its county parks. The one-mile paved Walkers Loop at Brady’s Run Park sits along Route 51 by the park entrance. Plus, the park has many other trails to explore. Old Economy Park in Economy Borough has paved areas to walk or consider walking the Legionville Trail. There are three and a half miles of walking trails at Brush Creek Park, Route 588 in North Sewickley Township. A bonus is seeing the picturesque covered bridge at the site.
Check out Sahli Nature Park on 200 McKinley Drive in Chippewa Township, open daily from dawn to dusk. Open since 2010, the 90-acre property, designed as a nature preserve, has 14 walking trails, ponds, a stream and sitting areas. In addition to getting exercise, you can observe plants including lacy ferns, wildflowers and evergreens, along with wildlife including squirrels and birds.
Ok, it’s time. Get out and walk.