Uxbridge, the trail capital of Canada, stays active during the winter months with an indoor walking trail

Program at Uxbridge Secondary School is popular and affordable.

UXBRIDGE — On the evening of Monday, Nov. 21, as the snow and wind were blowing outside, a group of Uxbridge residents was warm and dry at the Uxbridge Secondary School as members walked through the halls, talking, listening to music, and staying active.

The indoor walking trail program, which started in 2008, came about when Amanda Ferraro, manager of recreation, culture, and tourism at the Township of Uxbridge, and the trails co-ordinator at the time, visited a walkability seminar.

A rural town near Ottawa was being praised at the seminar for starting an indoor walking trail during the colder months. “They were doing this program and they were raving about it,” Ferraro explained.

She began talking with the Durham District School Board and soon Uxbridge, the trail capital of Canada, had its own indoor trail.

“We started off with once a week at the high school,” she said. “It was very successful and the community loved it.”

After that the program became available two days a week, music started playing in halls for walkers to listen to, staircases were added for a challenge, and the length of the program was extended.

“Even local physicians prescribe people to use the indoor walking trail,” Ferraro said.

Jane Nash and her husband Jack have been coming to the indoor walking trail for two years. They started because Jack had a couple of strokes and needs to keep active.

Jane, who says she walks all the time, says she likes the school trail because it is safe.

“When it’s bad weather you don’t have to worry about the ice,” she said.

She comes twice weekly with her husband and says the program is very affordable.

Jack says the thing he likes best about the trail is he doesn’t have a fear of falling.

“That’s the biggest thing,” he said.

He also likes the music, seeing the same people each week, and being able to go at his own pace.

About a month ago, Jack says, he was only able to do about 900 steps according to his pedometer. Now he gets up to 4,500 steps.

“I’ve seen improvement, which is good,” he said.

Rebecca Harman, recreation co-ordinator at the Township of Uxbridge, has been a part of the indoor trail since the beginning, and even uses it herself sometimes.

Harman says the program allows walkers to track their progression throughout the indoor trail season, which she says they can take to their doctor to show their progress if they were prescribed physical activity.

“I love seeing someone who started the program who could only do one and a half laps based on their barriers, and three months down the road they’re doing twelve laps,” she said. “It’s so amazing to see the improvement with individuals and their health.”

The program is very appealing to seniors but they’re not the only ones taking advantage of this warm, well-lit trail. Harman and Ferraro both stress it is an all-ages program.

“We have teenagers that come out; parents can bring their kids if they’re directly supervised,” Harman said, noting that kids can walk for free.

While it is a great way to stay active during months when there is less opportunity to do so, the program also has a lot of appeal as a social gathering.

“I actually think that’s what the huge draw is, the social aspect,” Harman said. “A lot of people go through the winter blues, knowing that somebody is excited to leave their house in the dark, in the freezing cold, just to catch up for five minutes with someone they met at the indoor walking trail is so inspiring.”

The indoor walking trail is open every Monday and Wednesday at the Uxbridge Secondary School from 6 to 8 p.m. until April 26.

Registration for the whole season costs $30 and the drop-in fee is $3.

“Most people can afford it,” Harman said. “It’s just so simple and enjoyable.”

For more information or to register for the program, call 905-852-7831.

Article Source: Durham Region

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