Walk for Health at the Island Free Library

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 2:00pm

The Island Free Library is in the second year of our Walk for Health program. You may have even heard of the Walking Program at the library, or know one of our participants. The program, while not exactly static, takes place daily in the lower level program rooms. Walk for Health is akin to low to medium impact aerobics and brings together islanders of all ages, men and women alike.

Why Walk for Health? Many begin our walking program at the encouragement of their medical professional or other participants. Research has shown that walking for 2.5 hours a week — or at least 21 minutes a day  — can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 percent. This free program and activity can meet you where you are at, whether that is a daily walk workout of 1-2 miles or several miles! Walking as exercise reduces the risk of diabetes and cancer, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, aids memory, improves balance and coordination and boosts your mood! According to Harvard Health online, ‘Even a quick one-minute jaunt pays off.  A University of Utah study in 2014 found that for every minute of brisk walking that women did throughout the day, they lowered their risk of obesity by 5%.’

Our Walk for Health began as weekly program after library director Kristin Baumann had an opportunity to attend a walking class at the Senior Center in South Kingstown. Around the same time our Circulation Clerk Judy Mitchell was gifted the DVD, Walking Down Your Blood Sugar, for the library through her Diabetes Workshop Training–the workshops of which have been going strong for the last four years. Both knew this DVD program would work in the space we have at the library and we are refreshingly surprised at the continued growing popularity. From one class per week, the program has grown to multiple classes every day we are open! You may wonder, what is Walk for Health? The program itself can run anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more and is a low-medium impact cardio-vascular workout.

The class works out to instructed DVD programs in our downstairs meeting rooms A and B. If you come for a morning class, feel free to park in our lot and enter through our side gray door and head downstairs. Room A is designated as our two-mile low impact room and Room B is for 4-plus miles and generally higher intensity longer workouts.

We walk inside and somewhat in place as we work out in concert with the video’s instructor and each other. The accountability of a daily workout class keeps many happy and motivated. Baumann adds, “It’s totally empowering for me to offer patrons a free possibility which assists them in their desire to take care of their health and well-being.” Our library has dozens of different workouts with various instructors adding variety and challenge as well as a Zumba dance workout at 8:30 a.m. every Friday.

Walk for Health takes place at the Island Free Library Tuesday to Saturday at 8:30 a.m. We also offer an afternoon walking session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. A new addition to this program is our KidZone run by our Youth Services Librarian, Morgan Walsh every Wednesday afternoon, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Kidzone offers a place for kids to engage with various physical activities as well as brain games while their parent or guardian walks for health in the adjoining room.

The Walking Program gets new walkers daily so please feel free to come, step in and join us at any time.