Contact: Thomas Hottman
A lunchtime walk allows people to take a break from the work day, enjoy the sunshine, increase their daily activity, and can lead to overall wellness.
That's the goal for Lisa Dykstra, who started the new program, "Get Fit at Lunch," through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and in partnership with the Sky Lakes Wellness Center.
The program, which started at the beginning of the month, takes a small group, varying between five and 10 people so far, on a walk on the OC&E Woods Line State Trail two days a week.
Dykstra, the office coordinator for the Collier Management Unit, which oversees the OC&E Trail, said she wanted to start the walking program for several reasons.
The program not only brings more users to the trail, but also promotes fitness and offers people a free and safe way to add exercise into their regular routine, she said.
Starting a workout program can be the most difficult part, so by adding a social aspect to it, Dykstra is hoping more people will decide to make those healthy lifestyle changes.
"I thought if we had a group it would encourage other people," she said.
Nancy Pratt has been walking with Dykstra and others since the program started Feb. 3, and enjoys the chance to get to know new people and increase her activity level.
Pratt said that before having children, she was a regular runner, but fell out of the routine. Even though her children are now fully grown, she hasn't had a consistent exercise routine in about five years.
"I just thought it was a good way to push myself," Pratt said of the lunchtime walking program.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pratt, Dykstra and her friend Mala Quatman enjoyed a 3-mile walk on the OC&E Trail, chatting about the beautiful weather, their families and the community. Dykstra cheerfully greeted other people on the trail, inviting them to walk with the group.
The size of the group has varied since the program started, Dykstra said, but she hopes it will continue to grow. As long as people are interested in the program, she will continue to host it, especially as the weather continues to improve.
"I'll do it as long as I can," she said.
She's also hoping to start a similar program in Chiloquin at the Collier Memorial State Park.
Walk with Ease
The Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center, or KBREC, is starting its Walk With Ease program for the second year.
Walk with Ease is an evidence-based program through the Arthritis Foundation, and has been shown to reduce pain, increase balance and walking pace, and improve overall health, said KBREC's Patty Case.
People with arthritis better manage their pain, but is also ideal for people without arthritis who want to make walking a regular habit.
"Walking is something that most everyone can do," Case said. Participants should have a basic fitness level and able to stand for 10 minutes, she added. "It does create the change we want to see."
Marsha Enriquez, who started as a leader for the program last year, will continue with two classes this year, at the Klamath Basin Senior Center and at Klamath Community College.
Anybody can participate, as long as they have a doctor's approval, Enriquez said. The key is starting slow.
The classes will start with just 10 minutes of walking, three days a week, and work up to 30 to 40 minutes by the end of the program session, she explained.
"People start to think 'I can do this,' " Enriquez said. "It's a good place to get started and meet people who want to go at the same pace."
The pace of the program, which also includes fitness education, helps people feel a "large sense of accomplishment," Enriquez said.
It helps also that participants walk as a group — it helps to have a group or partner to motivate you and to share goals with, Enriquez said.
"Everybody likes a walking buddy," she said.
Enriquez is a retired administrator for senior programs in a Southern California city. When she retired last year, she told herself she would take the opportunity to participate in the type of programs she had long helped plan.
Leading the Walk With Ease program was the perfect opportunity to help her transition into retirement. She has one class under her belt and is looking forward to leading more classes.
"Everyone who started stayed with it," she said of her first class. "The progress was just amazing."
The program, which has limited space available, also provides a free book from the Arthritis Foundation, which participants can take home for ideas and to record their progress, Enriquez said.
If you go
"Get Fit at Lunch" takes place every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. starting from the OC&E Trail office, behind Papa Murphy's and Century 21 at 3136 S. Sixth St. All ages and fitness levels are welcome. For more information, call Lisa Dykstra at 541-883-5558
Walk With Ease
Walk With Ease will host weekly walking sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday for six weeks starting Monday, Feb. 23, according to a news release.
Trained leader, Marsha Enriquez, will provide instruction on fitness, stretching and will lead the walking group.
The morning sessions will be in the Klamath Basin Senior Center and afternoon sessions in Klamath Community College.
For those unable to attend the meetings, guide books are available at the Oregon State University Extension Office at 6923 Washburn Way and at extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/walk-with-ease.
For those who would like to lead a group at their work sites or neighborhoods, free leader training will be provided by the Klamath Basin Research & Extension Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at 6923 Washburn Way. Registration for this is also required. For more information about becoming a Walk With Ease leader, call Patty Case at KBREC at 541-883-7131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.