Avid walkers tout benefits of Hants County’s Walkabout program

Ashley Thompson
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Terry Howatt and Tammy Weeks-Melanson are looking for more people to join their walking groups in Windsor and Garlands Crossing. 

Tammy Weeks-Melanson and Terry Howatt are trying to let people in on a little secret about getting active — it can actually be fun.

Both avid walkers, the duo voluntarily hit the streets five times a week — three times in Windsor and twice in Garlands Crossing — for community walks they’ve organized through the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Walkabout program.

“We’re always looking for new people,” Howatt said.

Anyone is welcome to join the Avon Walkers for their regular strolls, which last between 30 minutes to an hour.

Weeks-Melanson says the walks are not fundraising events. There is no charge to participate. The intent is strictly to help people discover the upsides of exercise.

“It’s to show people that being active doesn’t have to be work. It can actually be very enjoyable,” said Weeks-Melanson.

“We laugh lots,” Howatt added.

Weeks-Melanson says wearing a pedometer that counts the amount of steps a person takes in a day helps her stay motivated. She says she has reached as many as 20,000 steps in one day after setting a rather ambitious personal goal.

The pair encourages new walkers to set their own pace, and strive for attainable goals as they attempt to work more physical activity into their daily routines.

“Find something you love to do and do it,” Weeks-Melanson recommends.

Tracy Burgess, the western region co-ordinator for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, says the long-term goal of the Heart and Stroke Walkabout program is to get more people walking for at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.

“The goal is to help Nova Scotians discover the magic of walking and realize the physical and mental benefits of walking within their communities,” said Burgess, in an e-mail message.

“It’s about changing the way we think about walking — putting feet back on the streets and walking back in the hearts and minds of Nova Scotians.”

The Avon Walkers meet at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre in Windsor on Mondays and Fridays at 10 a.m., and at the Royal LePage office in downtown Windsor on Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. They also walk in The Crossing development on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m.

For more information, call (902) 306-1718 or (902) 792-1664.

 

 

Organizations: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Royal LePage

Geographic location: Windsor, Hants County

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