Over the winter, Lisa Oliver-King, executive director of Our Kitchen Table, joined the women of the Inner City Community Advocates (ICCA) for their Lose Big Challenge, a motivational physical activity and nutrition education program offered to inner-city Grand Rapids, Michigan residents with diabetes or hypertension. Oliver-King found the program to be extremely helpful. Because it does not operate over the summer, she had the idea of starting a free walking club affiliated with the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market, which OKT manages.
While the Market has intermittently offered music and dance-exercise during open hours, the walking club will increase opportunity for patrons to add exercise as well as healthy foods to their lifestyle. “Being healthy isn’t just about good eating, it’s about motion,” Oliver-King says. “The walking club will get us going and feeling good without the burden of cost.”
Beginning June 1, Walkers will meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays at Gerald R Ford school and/or 6:30 p.m. Fridays at Garfield Park. Neighborhood residents of all fitness levels are welcome to join. Oliver-King’s goal is to be fit enough to handle a 5-K walking event by next fall.
“It’s not only about exercise,” she says. “We will be in the park, connecting with the land and with nature, learning about the trees. And, we will be in the neighborhoods, connecting with our neighbors.”