PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With snow and ice still on the ground, early-morning walkers can now go for a stroll without fear of falling thanks to a new partnership between Healthy Aroostook and Wal-Mart.
According to Jo-Ellen Kelley, community education specialist for ACAP/Healthy Aroostook, community members are invited to walk at Wal-Mart each morning from 6-8 a.m.
“It’s not that people can’t walk whenever they want at Wal-Mart,” said Kelley, “but with the winter weather still around and spring not cooperating, this is a hard time for people to walk outside. We wanted to provide a clean, safe environment for people, so we contacted Wal-Mart and store officials were more than willing to participate.
“Not everyone wants to walk when there’s ice on the ground,” she said, “so this will provide an ice-free, safe environment. Our goal is to get people to be more active, and they’re more apt to do that if they’re not concerned with falling.”
The walking program is intended to be year-round.
“Spring is what prompted the program, but it is not seasonal walking,” said Kelley, noting that five laps around the wide, main aisles at Wal-Mart equals one mile. “We want people to walk all the time. In the summertime, people may want to be out of the sun and possibly walk in an air-conditioned place.”
Walkers are invited to a formal kickoff at 7 a.m. Thursday, April 10 at Wal-Mart.
“We’ll do a lap around to promote the new program,” said Kelley, “and I encourage everyone to join us.
“Walking is the easiest form of exercise. It doesn’t require anything but something sturdy on your feet,” she said. “Here’s an opportunity to start getting yourself ready for summer, plus it’s safe, not slippery, clean, welcoming and you can meet friends there.”
Healthy Aroostook is a local coalition that collaborates with community organizations, schools, hospitals and businesses to help make central and southern Aroostook a healthier place to live and work.