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'Explore Armstrong' to take a hike

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Leader Times
Kay Detrick Owen, (right) project director with HEALTHY Armstrong, talks with Lisa Stolitza, fitness coordinator with the Richard G. Snyder YMCA campus, about the 'Explore Armstrong' free walking series and the use and benefits of the Nordic Walking Sticks. Bill Shirley | For The Leader Times

Families and individuals are invited to take a hike – or at least enjoy a walk and explore the county in a free, fun and healthy way.

Sunday kicks off the first walk in a series called “Explore Armstrong.”

The series is sponsored by HEALTHY Armstrong in collaboration with the Armstrong Rails to Trails Association.

There are four hour-long walks planned, said Kay Owen, project director of HEALTHY Armstrong.

The first walk will begin along the Armstrong Trail in Kittanning at the Richard G. Snyder YMCA campus.

Each walk will be from 1 to 2 p.m. and the remaining three in the “Explore Armstrong” series will take place in Manor Township, Bethel and Boggs.

And if the promise of fresh air, camaraderie and outdoor exercise isn't enough to entice people, there is another possible incentive.

The first 30 people to register will get to try out, for the duration of the walk, a pair of Nordic Walking Sticks, Owen said.

HEALTHY Armstrong used grant money to purchase the sticks, giving walkers and hikers an opportunity to improve their workout, she said.

The walking sticks/poles are adjustable and help increase a workout to allow a person to burn up to 40 percent more calories, Owen said.

According to the product information, the equipment also claims to reduce stress on hips, ankles, knees and feet and improves balance and posture.

One of the proponents of the Nordic walking sticks/poles is Rob Sweetgall, a national advocate of walking for wellness who has walked across the U.S. seven times.

He suggested Americans could become healthier by walking 10 minutes every day using the walking sticks, said Owen.

“It's a neat, simple concept almost anyone can do,” she said.

For more information or to register, call 724-543-8580 or e-mail owenk@acmh.org.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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