Seniors Get Walking
by Melissa Bailey | Sep 12, 2012 1:04 pm
Nonagenarian Beryl Buschay led the way as seniors hit the basketball court to warm up with a local basketball hero before setting off on an eight-week fitness mission.
Buschay was one of 15 seniors from the Dixwell-Newhallville Senior Association who showed up Wednesday morning to Dixwell’s Scantlebury Park to break a sweat in the name of healthy living.
Basketball star Tracy Claxton made a guest appearance, leading the group through stretches—click on the play arrow above to watch.
The event marked the kick-off of a new city program encouraging seniors to walk at least 150 minutes per week. Members of the senior center on Goffe Street worked behind the scenes to make the project happen.
Before Wednesday, Buschay and 27 peers scouted out the streets in test walks. They settled on three regular loops, which they will be walking over the next eight weeks: Mondays at Edgewood Park, Wednesdays on the Farmington Canal and Fridays at Goffe Street Park. Seniors will log their progress. At the end of eight weeks, the top 10 walkers will earn $10 gift cards to Wal-Mart.
Buschay and company were greeted Wednesday morning by city elderly services chief Pat Wallace, who had baked zucchini bread for the occasion. The city offered bottled water, Nutri-Grain bars, yogurt, and peanut butter crackers.
Christen Quijano offered pedometers with easy-to-read screens, as well as some advice. Quijano coordinates a free health and wellness program for seniors at the Hospital of Saint Raphael. Actually, as of Wednesday, it’s called the “Yale-New Haven Hospital, Saint Raphael Campus,” she corrected herself, looking down at her new name tag.
She discussed fitness tips with 99-year-old Ethel Holley.
Holley said she already does leg-lifts and stretches before she gets up in the morning. Lately, she’s been experimenting with exercises during TV commercial breaks.
“I walk around the dining room table,” she explained.
“If I get up in the commercials,” Holley said she’d heard, “I’ll walk a mile.”
Quijano suggested sipping water during those intermissions, too.
In a brief press event, city health director Mario Garcia encouraged seniors to lead the way in healthy habits, setting a good example for generations to come.
Then hometown basketball star Tracy Claxton rallied the group to the b-ball court.
Claxton, who covers Dwight and West River for the city’s anti-blight agency, the Livable City Initiative, is best known for her basketball prowess. She helped Wilbur Cross High School win three state championships. With 20 rebounds in the final game, she catapulted Old Dominion University to win the NCAA championship in 1985. These days, she coaches the girls basketball team at Hyde magnet school.
She pulled Beryl Buschay to the center of the court to help model some gentle stretches.
“I touched my toes!” announced Buschay after a forward bend. Claxton gave her a high-five.
Then the team huddled ...
... before hitting the Farmington Canal Trail for their first walking expedition, their new pedometers ticking away.
Tags: Tracy Claxton
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