Sixty seniors in San Angelo are working to reach their goal of completing 1430 miles worth of activities in an attempt to figuratively “walk” from the top of Texas, Texline, to the very bottom, Brownsville, in participation with the statewide “Walk Across Texas!” initiative. Marilyn Allums, life enrichment coordinator for independent living at Baptist Retirement Community, initiated the competition for residents, hoping to enhance fitness routines, push active residents to try new things and encourage group participation in wellness activities. The residents are competing in teams, and there will be a prize for the first team to reach the 1430-mile goal. The program began in late February and will run until May, or until the first team reaches 1430 miles. Frances Evans and Barbara Epperson, two friends and residents of the senior living community, are working together to support each other and reach this goal with their teams.
“I’m allergic to activity, but I decided to give this a try in hopes of picking up a more active lifestyle,” jokes Epperson. “I actually lived a really active lifestyle nine months ago, but my knees started giving me problems and I’ve been holding back. It feels really good to get back in the swing of working out again. My workout buddy, Frances, just had knee surgery toward the end of last year and she’s more active than I am! If she can keep up a fitness routine, then so can I. She inspires me to try harder. In light of all these goals, I decided to join the wellness committee, and I also started tai chi classes, riding my bicycle and going for walks. I am feeling much better and more like myself.”
Epperson said that since she and her husband moved from a home to a townhouse at Baptist Retirement Community, their dog needs to go on more walks to still get the time outdoors that she loves. Epperson is making a point to walk the dog more to both achieve more miles for her team and give her dog the exercise. Epperson walks about a mile and a half to two miles each day. She believes that if people keep moving as they age they will stay mobile and vibrant a lot longer.
“Like Barbara said, if we exercise regularly it will keep us moving, whereas if we just sit still it’s going to get more and more difficult to get back up,” said Evans. “I also like having a regular fitness routine because it keeps my weight down and I feel more energetic. Currently, I am walking three to three and a half miles a day. Prior to my knee surgery, I walked five miles a day. I am working toward building up my strength to be able to walk five miles again. I’ve also been going dedicated to using the treadmill, participating in the cycling classes and using the elliptical machine four days a week. While I usually tend to work out on my own time, the Walk Across Texas! program has encouraged me to work out in groups more often. It is nice meeting new people and interacting with them while we work toward similar fitness goals. The more activitie

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