Walk this Way!
Shelley Sarson, left, and her sister Margaret Dalton are regular walkers at the Hector Arena in Pictou. The arena is open Monday to Friday for walking around the perimeter of the building. Donations are accepted at the door.
PICTOU, NS - Don’t hibernate because it is winter.
Pictou County has plenty of places and opportunities available for people wanting to walk and socialize.
In addition to established fitness centres in the County, there are many indoor community-based fitness classes that take place throughout the week. One of the most assessible forms of exercise for all ages is walking and there are more places than ever before to be active in Pictou County.
“Walking hits all the checks in the box when it comes to people wanting to exercise,” said Sally O’Neill with Active Pictou County. “It is easy to start on your own or with a group.”
A recent survey by Active Pictou County showed that walking ranked as one of the most popular forms of activity for people, however, one of the most common barriers that keeps people from walking is not having someone to walk with on a regular basis.
“If you join a walking group, you will get to know people who look out for you and your safety,” said O’Neill.
WM Sobeys Sports Complex in Stellarton
Indoor spaces such as the WM Sobeys Sports Complex in Stellarton draws a crowd during its weekly walking times twice a day and a steady flow of people take advantage of the walking track at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
The doors of the Hector Arena and the Pictou Fisheries Training Pool are also open for walkers throughout the week while a Walk and Roll session takes place at the Royal Canadian Legion in Pictou on Tuesdays from 1 to 2 p.m.
Most of these walking venues are free of charge or accept donations at the door.
Pictou County Wellness Centre Walking Track
Michelle Young, recreation coordinator for the Town of Pictou, said Walk and Roll started in October and is a drop-in session designed for people who walk with devices such as walkers and canes. It generally serves an older crowd, but it is beneficial for anyone looking to improve movement following an injury or illness. The Walk and Roll session is co-hosted by the Town of Pictou and the Pictou County Health Authority and a health professional is at every session.
“I can see a difference in the people who have been coming,” said Young, adding the Royal Canadian Legion in Pictou is a fully accessible building with an elevator. “It is also social for them. They can come with their partners if they like or they can be dropped off and picked up afterwards.”
Active Pictou County is also in the planning stages of starting a walking group with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, called Healthy Strides, that will encourage group walking at set times. O’Neill said Healthy Strides will take place twice a month on Wednesdays and will be led by health professionals. Each walk will start with a short presentation on a health-related topic. Walks will take place at the Pictou County Wellness Centre’s walking track and once the weather improves, other areas will be added. Follow Active Pictou County on Facebook and Twitter for more details.
For people feeling a bit more adventurous, Pictou County is home to many outdoor trails that are groomed during the winter months including the Jitney Trail in Pictou, Samson Trail in New Glasgow, Albion Trail in Stellarton as well as walking areas in Trenton Park.
Hike Nova Scotia also hosts many events on the weekends across Nova Scotia including some in Pictou County. Information can be found on its website at www.hikenovascotia.ca
The Cape to Cape Trail in Nova Scotia includes the Durham Hill Trail, Fitzpatrick Mountain, Dalhousie Mountain, Green Hill and Six Mile Brook. Information on these local trails can be found at http://capetocapetrail.ca or www.highlandconnect.ca
The Town of New Glasgow also hosts an outdoor walking group on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. The group meets at the Goodman Rotary Park on Blair Street. It is for all ages and registration is not required nor is there a fee.
The Rainbow Community Walking Meetup Group also plans outdoor events and information posted in a private Facebook page for walks in a safe, LGBTQ+ friendly environment.
O’Neill said people who want to venture outside need to make sure they are properly dressed so they are repared for the elements. Dressing in layers is important, as well as having hats and gloves available. Ice grips for the bottom of boots are also relatively inexpensive and can help with traction.
Many municipal recreation offices have equipment such as snowshoes and Nordic walking poles on loan and free of charge. Branches of the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, in partnership with Active Pictou County, also have snowshoes available for loan and all that is required is for a person to have library card which is free of charge. A quick call to either a municipal recreation department or library branch will confirm the borrowing process for the equipment.
For more information on winter walking, contact Sally O’Neill at Active Pictou County at 902-485-4372 or look for updates on Active Pictou County’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.