By Maureen Schwab
If you are looking for a fast, convenient and free way to stay healthy in Green Island, come join the Pernet Walking Club. Every Thursday, at 9AM, members are led by volunteer fitness coach Mary Mac Adam in an hour long walk and exercise session that takes place at Crompton Park. The group meets by the pool, and is open to everyone on a drop-in basis.
According to Pernet staff member and walking club member, Sr. Connie Charette, the program started in May, and has continued weekly for the past several months. Mac Adam came to Pernet to volunteer her time in any way necessary, and with her available expertise, it was decided to try a fitness project.
Helping the people of Green Island stay healthy is part of the Pernet mission and vision for the community. “Two objectives are met with fitness projects; good health and building community”, said Sr. Connie who is also involved with the construction of the ice rink which will be open to skaters of all ages this winter.
There are a number of ways to stay fit in Green Island. We have a wonderful park, which hosts many baseball, football, soccer and rugby matches throughout the year, and flat level streets for walking and cycling. Bike lanes were added to Millbury Street last year, and federal and state money is being used to construct the Quinsigamond River Bikeway, and the Blackstone River Bikeway.
The new playground at the corner of Canton and Harding has become a popular spot for parents to bring their children. It has a wonderful assortment of equipment which neighborhood children of various ages can enjoy, and lots of open space for games of tag, kite flying or turning cartwheels. At legendary Cousy Court, located at the corner of Endicott and Harding, you will find basketball games going on between organized teams, or neighborhood kids just about every day.
If you can’t join the walking club, feel free to take a walk around the park on your own. Two laps around the park is a little more than one mile. More people are walking with dogs, which is a double benefit; walking and companionship. During the summer months, we have our wonderful swimming pool and tennis lessons for children at the courts on Canton Street.
It is wonderful to see neighborhood residents and children play in and around Crompton Park (Yes, adults are allowed to play too!).We still have problems with broken bottles and trash in the park, but The Park and Rec Dept, has been doing a good job of keeping the park clean, and the Worcester Police patrol regularly and are quick to respond to any complaint.
I encourage everyone to read “Health of Worcester 2012”, available online at www.worcesterma.gov. , and located on the Public Health page. This report, prepared by Dale Magee, M.D. and Derek Brindisi, MPH, provides a “snapshot” of Worcester’s health.
Magee and Brindisi state that the top Public Health priority for the years 2011-2015 is to decrease obesity and overweight by 5% in 5 years. How do we do this? Simple; eat better and move more! Eating better is easier when your diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Farmers Market has been to Crompton Park several times over the past summer, and hopefully will be there more often next summer. You can learn about healthy cooking and eating from any number of books available for free at the Worcester Public Library.
Good health is not a given, and most people must make an effort to eat healthy foods and exercise even a little. Magee and Brindisi state that social determinates; lack of education, single parenthood, poverty, an unsafe environment and substance abuse all take years off of our lives. If you live in Green Island, you can start a healthier life for yourself and your children by simply opening your door and taking a walk. If we all do a little more walking, skating, basketball or cycling, our neighborhood benefits and becomes healthier too.