FAIRMONT - Walking and running are simple forms of exercise and can be exciting when you use the opportunity to get to know your town, said Roni Dauer, director of Fairmont Community Education and Recreation, which promotes Run or Walk The Streets of Fairmont, an adaptable program for everyone.
"We want to make people more aware of the health aspects of walking; plus it's a great way to get to know your community," Dauer said.
You start with a Chamber of Commerce map of Fairmont, provided by the CER office, located at the Fairmont Elementary School. Then you mark off each street as you walk or run the distance.
STARTING POINT — Martin County Library of Fairmont has erected story boards along the walking trail at Heritage Acres (right), starting near the prairie dog exhibit off of Lake Avenue in Fairmont. Fairmont Community Education and Recreation has Run or Walk The Streets of Fairmont signs to encourage people to exercise and get to know the town. (Photo by Jodelle Greiner)
"Use the map as a guideline," Dauer said, adding people should go where they feel safe and take their abilities into consideration.
There is no cost and participants might get a little prize at the end.
"Last year, we gave them shirts," Dauer said. "If they complete it and bring in the map, we'll have some incentive for them. It's just our way to help people get in the habit of walking for good health."
They got the idea from Bob Bonk, the head cross country and track & field coach for Fairmont High School. Bonk recommends it as a way his tracksters can stay in shape during the summer months.
"We thought adults might like to do it, a goal-oriented fitness habit," Dauer said.
"It's a good healthy habit," she said. "We have beautiful trails. Enjoy the outside, scenic walks, great trails and check out other parts of our community."
There are lots of great places to walk or run through, Dauer said, even suggesting cemeteries.
"Walk in neighborhoods and see different types of gardens," Dauer said. "You can appreciate the work gardeners put in, laborers in parks, as well."
Most people stick to an exercise program better if they have someone else helping them stay on track.
"It's a great activity for a family; quality time with your teenager," Dauer said of the program. "Lots of reasons people do this. Get a friend; it's more fun to walk and talk at the same time.
"It's not an endurance thing, not a speed thing," she said. "It's about your personal health and goals."