Take a hike Program promotes wellness

Take a hike Program promotes wellness by David Lias When District 17 Rep. Judy Clark attended a recent conference sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she thought she would primarily learn ways that the state could promote cancer prevention.

Clark said she knew that lifestyle changes, such as quitting a smoking habit, can greatly reduce cancer rates.

She was surprised, however, to learn of another, very simple technique to cut the incidence of the disease.

"I discovered at that meeting that walking and other kinds of exercise are very important for all kinds of disease prevention," Clark said.

Beginning a regular walking regimen in South Dakota, especially this time of the year when temperatures are dropping and sidewalks may be covered with snow and ice, can be a challenge.

"It's not always pleasant out there," she said. "So I just decided one day to start walking up and down the aisles of Pamida.

"And even though I wasn't doing anything really strenuous, I could tell it was making a difference," Clark said.

She didn't hesitate to contact the Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center and other local businesses that could serve as prime walking areas.

The result is a new fitness program in the community: Walk for Wellness.

Hy-Vee, Jones' Food Market, Pamida and the Sioux Valley Medical Center have all agreed to host the program, which kicks off Saturday, Nov. 2, during their regular business hours.

Hy-Vee, located at 525 W. Cherry, is open 24 hours a day. Jones' Food Market, 812 Cottage Street, is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

Pamida, located at corner of Cherry and Princeton streets, is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center, at 20 S. Plum Street, welcomes all walkers during its open main entrance hours, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, and 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Public restroom facilities are available at the hospital, and walkers are welcome to stop by the cafeteria for free ice water or coffee.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, walking can play a key role in controlling weight. It helps regulate appetite and preserve a higher metabolic rate.

Walking also can improve one's mood by decreasing anxiety and stress. It helps control diabetes, blood pressure, blood lipids and is good for the heart.

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