Beating winter with indoor trailsThree seasons out of the year, sidewalks and walking trails are bustling with people getting their daily dose of exercise. Then winter hits.
By: Monica Isley, Lake County News Chronicle
Three seasons out of the year, sidewalks and walking trails are bustling with people getting their daily dose of exercise. Then winter hits.
If the snow's not deep, it's plowed and slick. Or there might be ice. Or it's cold and the wind chill is colder. Where are the walkers then?
In the Lake Superior School District, they're apt to go back to school. During designated hours, walkers are welcome in the halls of the three schools—Minnehaha Elementary in Two Harbors, William Kelley in Silver Bay and, new this year, Two Harbors High School.
"This is just an excellent idea," said Tom Burns of Two Harbors, who joined the green-lanyard ranks of walkers at the Minnehaha just two weeks ago. "This is a great thing to do for yourself."
Burns said he's had a couple of heart attacks and surgeries, and his doctor told him there was nothing more medically they could do for him.
"I have to do it for myself," he said. "I've lost weight, and I walk."
Like most exercise programs, it takes making it a habit, to make it work. That's why, Burns said, it's so important not to lose the momentum when winter sets in. The availability of the indoor halls as walking tracks keeps that exercise regimen alive and well.
"We can walk at whatever pace we want, we can visit—or, like the serious burners, you can really move it," he said.
Sandi Olson at the Community Education office in Two Harbors said they've received several comments from people who love this indoor walking option that gives them a warm and safe place to exercise.
"One mom carried her baby with her in a sling, so she doesn't have to worry about slipping," Olson said. "One lady drives past every day on her way to and from work, and told us she's thrilled she can use the high school to walk."
The requirement at all the schools is clean shoes, and a green lanyard with an identification clip, for security reasons. Walkers pay $3 a year, which just about covers the cost of the lanyards, according to Chris Olafson, director of Community Education in the district, through which the program is scheduled.
In the Two Harbors schools, walkers are welcome from 6:30-7:30 a.m., and from 4-7 p.m. There's one floor at the Minnehaha. At Two Harbors High School, two floors worth of halls are available. During major school events, some portions of the lower halls might be locked. About 28 people take advantage of this cold-weather option.
The hours are the same at Kelley, but only two people are showing up regularly at this time.
"There's definitely room for more," Karen Brostrom encouraged.
While some walkers pay attention to the time walked, others want to know the distance. The Minnehaha has been clocked: eight times around the loop equals one mile. At the THHS, although it hasn't been officially measured, the estimate is 10 laps per mile. Stairs can be included there to give a little extra challenge.
Kelley doesn't have the option of continuous laps on the main floor, but walkers can make a rounds in the basement, eight rounds to a mile, Brostrom said.
It all just goes to prove that winter doesn't have to get anyone down.