Walking for Wellness Picks Up Pace
(St. Albans, NY) On Saturday, September 5th, 2015, Democratic Nominee for Assembly District 29 Alicia Hyndman joined State Senator Leroy G. Comrie (D-St. Albans) Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), New York Knicks alumni John Wallace, Senior VP of Government Affairs at MSG Irene Baker and community residents to walk for health and wellness in Southeast Queens. This Saturday’s trek was the sixth installment in a series of ten weekly walks aimed to put the community on track to healthier lifestyles through regular exercise. These walks also engage residents through interactive programming, which has in previous weeks included wellness presentations and yoga, Zumba and stretching warm-ups.
In Southeast Queens, one in four adults get no physical exercise, and one in five are obese. Being overweight increases risks for heart disease and other problems, especially diabetes, which ten percent of adults in Southeast Queens suffer from (above the City average of eight percent and the national goal of less than 2.5 percent). Senator Comrie, who himself has struggled with his weight, committed to tackling this problem both for his own health, and for that of the community he represents:
“What I hope to do is fuel a movement that unites a community engaged by its own progress,” Senator Comrie said. “After losing nearly one hundred pounds, small indulgences to my diet and exercise became habitual, and slowly my weight crept back on. Walking for Wellness is about reversing that process, so that consistent acts of wellness become a committed way of life for both myself and this community. I want to thank John Wallace and all our sponsors for helping make this a reality.”
“Senator Comrie’s Walking for Wellness event is a great jump start to a healthy living routine,” said Alicia Hyndman, Democratic nominee for Assembly District 29 and community resident. “Many people are intimidated when it comes to health and fitness. The Senator’s Walking for Wellness program allows you to face your fears by starting off at your own pace, in addition to providing valuable information about good health and nutrition shared by local professionals.”
Council Member I. Daneek Miller joined in co-sponsoring the event after seeing the positive impact it was having within the community: “Consistent with our mission to make Southeast Queens the healthiest community in our city, the terrific tradition of ‘Walking for Wellness’ continues,” said Council Member Miller. “I applaud Senator Comrie for advancing that mission and having John Wallace join us. True wellness requires commitment and John is a testament to a lifetime of this dedication and health.”
The program operates in partnership with a number of wellness-focused organizations, such as: Shape Up NYC, the Parker Jewish Institute, the Queen Afua Global Nation of Wellness, Queens Hospital Center, Elizabeth Madison Nutrition, Partnership for Parks, Unhealthy No More, Emblem Health, the Healthcare Education Program, NYC Department for the Aging, the YMCA and AgeWell New York. The Brooklyn Nets is also a co-sponsor. Free giveaways are distributed at every event for participants.
The walks feature engaging fitness warm-ups, such as the one licensed Zumba instructor Jackie Carson-Anderson facilitated this Saturday: “Over the past several weeks I’ve enjoyed the weekly Walking for Wellness and the nutrition, health and wellness presentations with Senator Comrie and other participants. This event truly inspires me and helped me to realize that walking is the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.”
AgeWell, who offer free giveaways on a weekly basis, praised the effort as paving the way to prioritize long-term health: “One of our goals at AgeWell New York is to support individuals in making small changes in their lifestyles that can help them to impact their lives for the better. Walking for Wellness is a step in the right direction, that encourages people at any age to make exercise a part of their lives.”
However, it was members of the Southeast Queens community that were most excited about the prospect of having a neighborhood network of support: “Participating in the Senator’s walk motivates me to start back my personal plans to walk in the fall,” Dorothy Harvey, a Queens Village resident, said. “Walking makes the body feel better and is better than a pill.”
“Not only do we walk together as a community, we also have received free nutritional presentations from a licensed nutritionists,” Tricia B. Curry, walk participant said. “These are all life-changing events that I didn’t realize existed within a community! I am so grateful to be a part of something that has truly surpassed what I thought would be just awalk around the park!”