By Nancy Kershaw, Oregon State University Extension Service
Are you a current dedicated walker or do you want to get started on a walking program? April is a great time for walking in Tillamook County and National Walking Day, April 7 would be a good time to start a walking program. I’m an avid walker and enjoy daily walks with my dogs at Happy Camp, but also enjoy the social interaction of walking with an organized group.
Walking is one of the easiest, least expensive, and COVID-safe ways to increase your physical activity and reap the health benefits associated with regular physical activity. Other benefits to walking include improved memory and attention, better sleep, thinking and learning, as well as boosting creativity.
If you need inspiration to begin or continue walking regularly, check out the article “Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Walk” by Deborah Grayson Riegel – here’s the online link – https://hbr.org/2021/02/dont-underestimate-the-power-of-a-walk?utm_campaign=hbr&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.
And if you need help getting started, try the “Walk with Ease” program. Through this self-directed program you will develop your own simple walking program and set your own pace! Walk with Ease is a simple fitness program free to all Oregonians developed by the National Arthritis Foundation (but open to anyone who wants to start a walking program). “Walk with Ease” is proven to: reduce pain; build confidence in being physically active; and improve overall health. Participants receive a free “Walk with Ease” guidebook and a series of six weekly emails to guide them through the program. Participants will learn how to be more physically active and to set and work towards goals. Register for this free program online at: https://info.pace.oregonstate.edu/walk.
The self-directed “Walk with Ease” program is a great companion to the “Walk Well Tillamook County” groups coordinated by Tillamook County Wellness. These groups originally started through a grant as “Step It Up” walking groups and will relaunch for 2021 the week of May 10. Currently there are eight different volunteer led “Walk Well” groups meeting in Tillamook County, some walk one day per week and others walk on multiple days each week. Some groups walk the same route each time and others vary the walking location with groups walking in Pacific City, Tillamook, and Rockaway Beach. If there is not a group in your area, we would be happy to work with you to establish a new group – contact Nancy Kershaw for more information about starting a “Walk Well” group, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-842-3433. The 2021 launch of “Walk Well” groups will begin with a county-wide walk in the Pacific City area on Mother’s Day. Watch for more information.
If you’re looking for places to walk or hike check out the Tillamook County Wellness Move Well webpage at: https://tillamookcountywellness.org/move-well/ and click on the link on the left side “Great Places to Get Moving.” And coming soon there will be a new link on the “Visit Tillamook Coast” webpage developed through a partnership with Visit Tillamook Coast, US Forest Service and Tillamook County Wellness Access to Physical Activity. This new webpage will offer a searchable map of all the trails and recreational sites across Tillamook County with details such as the available amenities and facilities at each location, the difficulty and type of trail, and helpful photos for someone who maybe hasn’t visited a certain location before. For more information, check out this story map about the project, and keep an eye out for the launch of the webpage later this spring – just in time to enjoy a beautiful summer in Tillamook County!
For more local health and wellness information, visit www.tillamookcountywellness.org or follow Tillamook County Wellness on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.