This is the third year the Pathways walking program has been offered to the Tribal communities. During the previous two years, the programs included walks that earned participants points over the season, but this year the Health Department has added some new elements to help raise the interest level.
“The program was expanded to include a nutrition/wellness lesson,” said Barbara Boling of the Brighton Health Department. “The health lesson helps to reinforce that nutrition and exercise are both necessary for overall wellness.”
Every Wednesday participants meet in the Brighton field office where they begin with the nutrition lesson. Lessons touch on subjects such as saturated fat and cholesterol.
After a short lesson on the nutritional topic for the week, participants take to the community for their Pathways walk where they compete against others in their age category. Each member wears a pedometer to calculate his or her steps. After the designated time limit, steps are recorded and winners receive a small trophy that they keep for the week. Each week the trophies go back up for grabs.
“I think they like the challenge of getting the most steps on their pedometer each week,” Boling said. “We have a really competitive group.”
Following the walking portion, the department puts on a short trivia contest pertaining to the lesson topic.
“The contest is thought provoking,” Boling said. “But at the same time it is fun.”
Each session concludes with a healthy bagged lunch provided by the Health Department.
Boling said that they also ask each participant to make a goal at the start of the program and that the Health Department through the Pathways program helps the group reach their health goals one at a time.
“Everyone in this group is at a different fitness level,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you can run the mile in eight minutes or your walking that mile takes 20 minutes. Your goal is to move more, so anything we can do to help you reach that goal is a success.”