Personal Best: Walking: it’s easy and it works

Seniors need not fear the coming snow, at least where their driveway is concerned: Snow Buddies can help.

Thanksgiving is done and gone and whether we like it or not we are on our way into winter. The snow bunnies are packing and getting ready for that winter migration south and the snow lovers and skiers are getting into shape in anticipation of that first real snow fall and the joys of winter. Some of us, not so much, as we anticipate the slipping and sliding to come on unsteady limbs and the worry of snow shoveling. But don’t despair, as a great resource is the Snow Buddies program at Nexus Seniors Service. Volunteers are available to shovel snow if you need help. Their number is 250-545-8572. Post it on your fridge for that first snow fall.

Some of you may not know that Dayle Drury, longtime manager of the Seniors Information Bureau, has left Vernon and moved on to Oliver to become the coordinator of Integrated Care Service at Interior Health. Dayle has been a valued support for many seniors in Vernon through the years and she will be sorely missed. Always empathetic, always caring and willing to go the extra mile for anyone in need, she has been a great resource for so many seniors. We wish Dayle the best of good fortune and thank her sincerely for her many years of service to seniors and their families. Bon voyage, Dayle.

Schubert Centre’s Meals on Wheels is looking for volunteers to deliver meals to seniors in the Vernon area from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There are five routes at this time and the length of time to deliver varies between 30 and 45 minutes. This requires 10 people, with one volunteer to stay with the vehicle and one to take the meals in. The volunteer would not have to commit for an entire period, it could be several volunteers, as long as all the shifts are covered. Your help would be much appreciated as the need is great. There is no one to help in November, which consists of 12 delivery days, and next year is wide open. Call Deanna Toparchak at 250-542-9229 or Nancy Hadley at 250-260-7777 to volunteer. Remember, volunteering is a two-way street. The giver gives to others but also gets back so much in satisfaction and self respect.

The July 2013 University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter described a recent study in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation that involved participants with low back pain who exercised twice a week either by walking briskly on a treadmill or doing strength-training exercises in a clinic. Each group worked up to 40 minutes per exercise sessions. After six weeks, both groups had similar reductions in pain and disability. The good news is that walking is an accessible, low-cost and easy-to-do exercise for most people. Fortunately for us we have the Kal Tire Centre to walk in when the weather is bad. Also, walking has also been shown to lower your diabetes risk according to the Duke Medicine Health News.

A study out of the University of Washington followed 1,800 walkers over five years and found that those who walked the most were 29 per cent less likely to develop diabetes than those who walked the least. Participants were followed for five years. As the lead author suggested, increased physical activity may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss, a major determinant of diabetes risk.

If you have any comments or questions e-mail: blackmail1@telus.net or call 250-542-7928.

Pat Black writes about seniors’ issues in the North Okanagan. Her column appears every other Sunday,