Winter Walk Day taking back our outdoors

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by Stephen Dafoe

Recreation Coordinator Melonie Dziwenka is hoping residents will join her for a winter’s walk during the lunch hour this Wednesday, which is Winter Walk Day, part of the province’s ChooseWell initiative. She is asking those available to join her at the cultural centre at 12:15 for a 30-minute stroll along the trails to the Morinville Fish and Game Association pond.

“We know there’re lots of ways to be active outdoors, but walking is one of the safest,” Dziwenka said. “Whether it’s walking poles or gripping shoes, it’s a little safer for everyone to participate in.”

Dziwenka took up winter walking two weeks ago and has enjoyed the experience thus far, particularly since she launched her efforts during the warmer weather the community has enjoyed recently.

“I walk four kilometres each night,” she said. “When I first started it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes each night. “Now I’m down to 50 minutes.”

Dziwenka said she had experienced some benefits already, namely better focus during the day and better sleep at night. “Physically, being able to pick up the speed a little bit, I have more energy and I face my evenings with more renewed energy.”

She encourages people to get out in the sun, even in winter. Dziwenka said 15 minutes of sun three times each week provides natural “Winter sun exposure triggers Vitamin D production, reduces stress, and burns more calories.

“It’s become very addictive doing it every night,” she said of her newfound joy of walking. “It’s been a positive experience starting that.”

Those interested in participating in the Wednesday Winter Walk are asked to dress for the weather and bring a water bottle. Dziwenka will We be logging participants’ walking time in the ChooseWell database to record Morinville’s total kilometres. Those unable to attend can still enter their total kilometres and time walked at winterwalkday.com. For more information call Melonie Dziwenka at 780-939-7833.

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