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Healthy Armstrong sponsors lunchtime walks

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
ACMH Hospital employees and radiology students take part in the Healthy Armstrong organized walk around the hospital during lunch break. Tuesday July 30, 2013

Finding time for exercise during the workday has just gotten a little easier for some area employees thanks to the coordinating efforts of Healthy Armstrong.

On Tuesday in East Franklin, ACMH Hospital staff and students participated in one of four 15-minute walks around the hospital during their lunch breaks.

The event was one of several workplace walks organized by Healthy Armstrong.

Last week, staff of the ACMH Patient Access in Ford City and employees of F& M Bank in Kittanning participated in similar events.

As Tuesday's temperatures hovered in the mid- to upper 70s, more than 50 hospital participants —many dressed in scrubs and sneakers — set out for a brisk walk.

Healthy Armstrong Director Kay Owen and intern Julie Lizik were there to hand out pedometers, bottles of water and energy bars and pairs of Exerstrider walking sticks for participants to try.

Owen said the walking sticks help burn more calories while reducing stress on knees and legs.

Glenna Kanish, instructor and education coordinator for the hospital's school of radiology, tried the walking sticks and passed them to colleague Jenny Sturgeon during the walk.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Kanish, noting that 17 radiology students had participated.

Sara Shaner, a hospital LPN, said she usually tries to make time for a couple of laps around the hospital during her lunch breaks. Her walking regimen has helped her lose 20 pounds, she said.

Lizik said she received a lot of positive feedback from ACMH.

“Today was a good turnout,” she said. “A lot of people use work as an excuse not to work out.”

She noted that along with the physical benefits associated with exercising, a workplace walk also helps people destress.

Lizik, who graduated from Slippery Rock University in May with a public health degree, helped organize the Workplace Walk series as part of her internship with Healthy Armstrong. She said the goal is to encourage participants to continue with an exercise regimen on their own.

Owen said she hopes other area businesses and organizations will follow suit.

On Aug. 7, Armstrong County Courthouse employees will have an opportunity to take to the Armstrong Trail during one of three 30-minute walks.

And if the weather is less than ideal, it shouldn't prevent people from hitting the trails, said Owen.

“You just have to wear the right clothes,” she said.

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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