As part of the Lacombe Primary Care Network’s (PCN) initiative to increase the town’s physical activity levels a new weekly walking group has emerged.
Exercise specialist for the PCN Heather Mielke came together with PCN dietician Abby Sanregret to lead a walking group that will meet once a week at the Medcombe Walk – In Centre and walk from noon until 12:30 p.m.
“Anyone can join. You can come once, you can come twice, or every week. People don’t have to worry about having a real high fitness level to join us – we’re pretty casual and I can modify it for the group that tends to show up,” Mielke said. “We just want people to have a chance in their day to get up and get some exercise.
“We were hoping to catch some daytime working people who are looking for something to do on their lunch break.”
The group had their first meeting in September and will continue to walk outside until the weather goes south.
In that case Mielke is looking into an agreement with the Lacombe Mall so that the walking group could continue in the winter months.
“We’re going to go for as long as we can stand it.”
“The one group we had said they would be willing to put on their coats and keep walking through the winter, but I’ve spoken to the manager of the Lacombe Mall and they’re open to us doing our program indoors when the weather changes,” she said.
“Lots of malls have walking programs. We could set up the same sort of thing – we would still meet Wednesdays and do a few laps around the mall. When I lived in Lloydminster we set up something similar and it was quite popular.
“It’s especially good for people who need to get out of their house, but don’t necessarily want to brave the weather or get a gym membership.”
While the sun is out, Mielke said they will continue their mile long walks outdoors.
She said that the group meets at the walk-in clinic and then spends about 30 minutes walking a loop through nearby residential neighbourhoods and back to the meeting place.
She says that anyone is welcome, as the activity is free and there is no minimum level of exercise experience needed.
As Mielke and Sanregret both accompany the group, they can lead two separate groups depending on the length of time people would like to be out or even physical conditions.
“It’s an easy opportunity to get a little bit more activity. Even the small group that came with us enjoyed visiting with each other and they enjoyed their time outside. It was great for Abby and I – we thought it was a great way to spend your lunch time.”
For people wishing to join, there is no official registration or formal process. Just show up at the Medcombe Walk-In Centre close to noon and wait in the lobby. “We thought a very simple, casual way to increase the level of physical activity around Lacombe was to start a walking group. We want to take advantage of the nice weather that’s remaining and give people a chance to get some exercise.”