Get W.I.T.H. It! Program Wraps Up Successful First Year At Civic Complex

April 05, 2012

Get WITH It

For Elaine Heath, the Get W.I.T.H. It! walking program is about much more than just walking.

Heath was one of the 140 registered participants in the first year of the Get W.I.T.H It! program, which is geared towards people who are concerned about their heart health. From October to the end of March, participants were free to come in from the cold and walk at the Cornwall Civic Complex arena concourse on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Walkers were encouraged to track their progress, and they had a chance to win prizes for their efforts. Program officials and volunteers were always on hand to monitor the participants. Local nursing and paramedic students were also present on selected occasions to do blood pressure checks.

In Mrs. Heath’s case, she set a goal of completing 30 laps by the end of March, and she achieved  it.

“It offered me a great incentive to get up, dust off my shoes and get to the Civic Complex,” said Mrs. Heath (pictured), who suffers from COPD. “It wouldn’t have happened without it.”

The Get W.I.T.H. It!  program (the W.I.T.H. is short for ‘Walking in the Halls’) surpassed organizers’ expectations in its first year of operation, and plans are already in the works to bring it back for a second season later this year.

“We were thrilled with the turnout for our first season of the program,” said Corrie D’Alessio, Community Health Worker with the Seaway Valley Community Health Centre, the lead organization for the program. “We are already starting to plan to bring it back next fall.”

Mr. D’Alessio said there are a number of factors that makes the program appealing to participants. Among other things, participants receive a health screening to ensure they are safe to walk, and officials with CPR certification are always on hand. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is also located on the premises. The program is certified by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as a Heart Wise Exercise Program.

“Being physically active can be challenging at the best of times, but even more so during the colder, darker days of winter,” said Mr. D’Alessio (pictured). “With this program, we’re encouraging people to think about their health.”

The Cornwall Civic Complex is a popular venue for walkers throughout the year, so it made sense to have the program located there.

“We are thrilled to be associated with this program,” said Christine Lefebvre, Division Manager of Parks & Recreation with the City of Cornwall. “It fits in well with the other recreation and fitness programs that we offer to the community.”

The Get W.I.T.H. It! program is lead by the Seaway Valley Community Health Centre in partnership with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the local Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and the City of Cornwall. For more info on the Get W.I.T.H. It! program, please visit www.seawayvalleychc.ca.

 

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