A step in the right direction

Marion walkers hoof it around local school

MARION — It’s too cold. It’s icy. It’s going to snow ...

If these have been your reasons (excuses?) for not taking your daily walks, you can pull those sneakers out of the closet again.

There’s no need to forgo the health benefits and enjoyment of regular walking just because winter is here. You can walk indoors in a comfortable and safe setting while the snow falls and the winds howl.

Marion High School invites members of the community to come inside where it’s warm and dry and use the hallways to begin, or maintain, a walking program.

The halls that form a square around the courtyard make an ideal starting point and you can branch off from there designing your own circuit. You may see students walking or jogging also. Community members walk along the inside walls of the hallways; students, along the outside walls.

The school is open to walkers Monday through Friday during the academic year before and after classes. Morning hours are 6 - 8 a.m. Afternoon and evening hours are 4 - 10 p.m. There is no charge to use the facility and no advance registration or sign-up is required. Just show up and start walking!

School principal Beth Robb advises walkers to park on the north side of the building and asks that they use caution when entering the building with wet, snowy shoes to guard against slipping or falling.

“We welcome people from the community to come in and walk,” Robb said. “It’s a safe and friendly environment to promote a healthy lifestyle.”

Greg Mikulich, superintendent of Marion public schools, also encourages members of the community to use the facility. “While the main function and use of our school buildings is to educate our children,” he said, “it is a bonus that we can open the high school to walkers so they can come in out of the cold and walk in comfort.”

A few savvy Marionites can already be seen striding through the halls on a regular basis.

Donna Hilden says walking is the mainstay of her fitness program. “I love to walk and do it to keep off the 50 pounds I lost 10 years ago. I walk four or five miles a day and have never gained the weight back. It’s great to be able to walk inside in the winter.”

Hilden’s walking partner Sandra Wilson is grateful to have a place to exercise indoors. “I have walked for years and walk in the high school because it’s safe. It’s not icy so I won’t fall and it’s a lot warmer.”

Ed Kirkby is a regular during the morning hours, walking every day from 6 - 7 a.m. “I do it for my health,” he said, “and because it makes me feel full of energy. I feel like I’ve accomplished something, and it drives away the blues.”

If you’re still thinking about New Year’s resolutions, you might consider adding a regular walking regimen to the list. Get a group of friends together, make a commitment, use the ideal venue provided by the high school and take that first step toward a healthier lifestyle.

If you have questions about walking in the high school, call principal Beth Robb at (231) 743-2836.

Marion High School is at 510 W. Main St., Marion.