As the new year rolls around, many people resolve to exercise more. The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department hopes to make that easier for one group of Jefferson City residents with some new programs.
JC Parks will offer two walking programs f0r senior citizens at The Linc starting in February.
The first program, Walk With Ease, held its first two sessions in the fall and early winter of 2019 and will continue in February, said JC Parks program manager Angie Toebben.
Walk With Ease is a program sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, which encourages senior citizens or others with arthritis to get active and learn more about how to stay healthy.
Sessions at The Linc will last six weeks; and groups will meet at 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week to walk the track.
At each meeting, members will spend about half an hour hearing from a speaker about a health-related topic. During the first two sessions, Toebben used the Arthritis Foundation's manual for that portion of the class, but she hopes to have other guest speakers starting in the new year.
"I'm trying to look for different people in the community that have experience with seniors — trying to go over nutrition with them, how much water intake should they have, what are good stretches for them to do every day — just taking care of themselves as they get older," Toebben said.
Following the talk, the group is encouraged to spend another half-hour walking the track if they can. When the weather gets nice, Toebben hopes they might walk around a park instead.
Studies by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging of the University of North Carolina have found that Walk With Ease helps reduce the pain of arthritis, increases balance and walking pace, and improves overall health.
Toebben said while most walkers are senior citizens, there are others with different health issues who can benefit from the program.
"I have one girl, she's in her 30s and she has lupus, and the progress she has made in the two classes has just been awesome to see," Toebben said. "That's been a great benefit to see as the instructor of the program, to see those individuals and how they've improved."
After teaching the first two sessions, Toebben realized some walkers were a little more active and wanted the chance to walk more and socialize, so the second program, "TWalkers" was born.
The name is a combination of talk and walk, which is exactly what the TWalkers do. The official TWalkers program will also begin in February and take place at 8:45 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for six weeks.
Toebben hopes to schedule the guest speakers between the two groups, so both could be there for the talks.
The TWalkers group has a Facebook page if members want to meet up to walk outside scheduled times. They also use a smartphone application called World Walking, which tracks steps by a group along a virtual route somewhere in the world.
The TWalkers are currently walking the Hairmyres Winter Wonderland Walk, set in Scotland, and according to their group profile on the World Walking website, the members have collected more than 1 million steps together.
The first session for both programs runs from Feb. 17 to March 27, and the second runs April 6 to May 15. Toebben hopes to add more.
"We want to keep going year-round with it. We just have to see what kind of need there is and how much interest there is," she said.
Interested residents can register for either of the programs up until they begin by visiting or calling The Linc at 573-634-6482 or by contacting Toebben via email at [email protected]
Both programs are free for members of The Linc or $36 per six-week session.
The Linc also offers the SilverSneaker program to encourage older adults to stay active. The SilverSneakers Circuit, a low-impact workout, takes places at 10 a.m. Mondays, and the SilverSneakers Yoga classes are at 10 a.m. Wednesdays.
SilverSneakers is offered for members of The Linc. Those interested can check their eligibility or sign up at The Linc, 1299 Lafayette St. in Jefferson City.
"We're just trying to really get senior programs going, or anyone that needs help to get out and walk," Toebben said.