A group of Lincoln County residents are on a “Journey to Alaska” as part of a City Parks and Recreation Department walking program, delayed last summer because of severe flooding.
Nathan Eurey, program director for the Recreation Department and leader of the group “Let’s Get Moving, Lincolnton,” started the exercise initiative in 2007, he said, after city and county recreation departments split ways.
“It evolved from the Walk at Lunch Klub (WALK) walking program that the (combined) city and county Parks and Recreation Department had before both entities split…to form separate parks and recreation departments,” he said.
While the Lincoln County Recreation Department kept the WALK program, Eurey started one similar for the city department.
The program offers a different key theme each year, and depending on the extensive nature of the mileage involved with the theme, walkers reach their destination in a year.
For 2011 and 2012, the city recreation department actually kept the same theme, “Trek Across America,” because the program encouraged participants to collectively walk more than 5,000 miles — the distance from the Lentz Recreation Center at Betty Ross Park in Lincolnton to Los Angeles, Calif., and back.
For each theme’s chosen destination, walkers chart and track their time and distance as if they were literally traveling to the particular location on foot.
For “Trek Across America,” some residents tallied a total walk time of nearly 300 hours.
Last year, the city department established the theme “Journey to Alaska,” but due to weeks of heavy rain in July, the city park flooded, destroying the gym floor and forcing the program to be put on hold.
Following months of repair work, the Lentz Center reopened to the public the end of March, and walkers are back at it.
With 73 participants this time around, the group has already walked 3,228 miles and 294 hours, Eurey said, including time spent walking last year when the new program theme commenced.
Eurey claimed the benefits of the exercise program are priceless and urged residents to commit to exercising daily.
“By exercising, which is one component of a healthy lifestyle,” he said, “you can reduce your body fat, reduce your high blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, reduce stress and help prevent or lower the risk of many health problems.
“Whether you’re walking in our program, the county recreation’s walking program, or you’re walking on your own somewhere, everyone should devote 20 to 30 minutes of their day doing some sort of exercise.”
The Lentz Center is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.
For more information on “Let’s Get Moving, Lincolnton” or any other program with City of Lincolnton Parks and Recreation, call (704) 735-2671.