Seniors Walking Program

Marge Bardarson and Dell Ireson take a break from walking laps to check their pedometers.

Marge Bardarson and Dell Ireson take a break from walking laps to check their pedometers.

It just became much easier for seniors to get out and stretch their legs during these chilly winter months thanks to a new Town of Golden program. The Seniors Walking Program takes place every Wednesday from 1 pm to 2:30 pm and is geared towards anyone who has difficulty walking in the winter.

According to the Canadian Safety Council, over one-third of all people hospitalized after falling on ice are 60 to 79 years old. On average they are hospitalized for almost eight days. Those over 80 stay in the hospital the longest after a fall on ice, an average of 14 days.

So why walk on the slippery sidewalk when there’s a warm place with dry floors to get the heart pumping? Last Wednesday was the Seniors Walking Program’s second session and over 20 people showed up to walk laps around the Mount 7 Rec Plex. Participants wear pedometers to count their steps and have the option to stop and rest in the many chairs set up around the room.

“The idea came from a concerned member of our community. Denys Bardarson approached Mayor Christina Benty with an idea that would get seniors out in order to get some exercise. With the sidewalks slippery and the snow banks mountainous, these winter months make getting out of the house extremely difficult for seniors when the risk of falling could lead to serious injury,” said Lisa Reinders, Manager of Leisure Services for the Town of Golden.

Dell Ireson, Denys Bardarson’s mom, says she is happy she can walk somewhere that isn’t just inside her house.

Marge Bardarson, another relative of Dell and Denys, was walking laps at last week’s session after going through a back operation and hip replacement in the past year.

“I’m just happy I can get out, socialize and walk,” she said. “I wish they had it twice a week!”

Marge explained that there’s a map of Canada on the wall of the Rec Plex to inspire the seniors and let them track how far they’ve walked. Golden Steps Out Around Europe is another way for participants to track their distance. Walkers log onto a website, insert how many steps they’ve completed and then can see how far they’ve travelled across Europe. The online database has 40 participants and a total of 21,285,460 steps have been completed.

“The Seniors Walking Program is off to a great start,” said Sarah Wegelin, Special Events Co-ordinator for the Town of Golden, at last Wednesday’s session. Wegelin explained that the free program will run through the rest of the winter and probably continue in some form through the spring and summer.