Local primary health nurses have developed a new walking program for the community utilizing the newly completed walking track at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
RN Nigel Kitto says that once Civic Centre renovations were complete, they saw the opportunity to take advantage of the 205-metre walking track with a walking program.
“Kimberley is an active community with ample recreational space connected by an extensive trail network both within and around the city,” said Kitto. “This new and expanded space is a huge opportunity for residents to enjoy a ‘walkable community’ which enhances a form of transport with many health, social and environmental benefits. Walking is one of the first things we strive for as infants, and often the last thing we fight not to lose in our final years. It is an imperative factor in maintaining independence.”
Kitto facilitates the program on Friday mornings with fellow RN, Tracy Carroll.
“Unfortunately many of us take walking for granted in our busy lives as modern society is becoming increasingly sedentary in nature,” said Kitto. “The walking program is a promotional opportunity to our community, presenting the benefits of regular activity, while providing a safe and inclusive place for anyone to get moving.”
Participants undergo heath screenings to ensure they can excersize safely. They also warm up with stretching, advice, and lots of encouragement says Kitto.
“Blood pressure monitors and a pulse oximeter are available as both screening and coaching tools. Walkers can check their blood pressure before, during and after cool down,” Kitto explained. “The reduction and improved control of BP demonstrated can reinforce regular walking. If a participant’s blood pressure is a concern, loan monitors are available to be taken home for a two-week period. Follow up can also be arranged for review of home blood pressures, health education and developing a plan for each participant.”
The primary focus of the program, says Kitto, is to support residents who have chronic medical conditions that may be limiting physical activity.
“These clients are at significant risk of losing mobility and condition, but may require additional supervision due to their complex health needs,” Kitto said. “Our mental health clients are also encouraged to attend to extol the mood and social benefits of regular participation in physical activity.”
The program, however, is not just for those with chronic or mental health issues, Kitto says anyone is welcome to attend.
“It can be an excellent vehicle of change to begin a more active and outgoing lifestyle,” he said. “Kimberley, being a mountain town, can create some barriers with steep grades and icy sidewalks. The indoor track, combined with some coaching and support, is a perfect place to get moving, improve fitness and condition, and just perhaps graduate to the more challenging paths and trails around our beautiful town.”