Seniors Walk Free at the Y

Thanks to a partnership between the Community Center/Boothbay Wellness Foundation and the Boothbay Region YMCA, people age 62+ are invited to walk on the track at the Y on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 am and noon. This program has been active since the Spring of 2014. These seniors call themselves “The Awesome Senior Y-Walkers.”

How Did This Program Evolve?

We recognized that many people were essentially trapped in their homes, especially in the long winter months. They weren’t getting out to exercise or to socialize. So we asked our local YMCA to let us host a twice/weekly walking program on their indoor track with no Y membership required– in order to make it as accessible as possible. What started as a 3-month pilot is now in its fourth year. Over 273 people have participated in this program, ranging in age from 62 to 99. We walk on the track between 10 and noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some people walk with oxygen. Some use walkers or canes. Everyone gets encouragement and moral support. We all log our laps in a 3-ring binder. Each year we hold an award ceremony. The prizes–gift certificates to local restaurants–go to the people who walked the most days each year.

 Award Winners in 2016: Awards given to the people who walked the most times; not the most miles

There’s a lot of camaraderie involved. People who went to high school together have reconnected. Local people who never belonged to the Y because they thought it was used primarily by “People from Away,” now come to walk for free and some are signing up for classes and memberships.

Walkers who fall ill or are hospitalized count the days until they’re back walking again. Local physicians who are seeing the positive results in many of their patients have begun recommending the program to their more sedentary senior patients.