It’s January, and that’s the traditional time of the year when many vow to focus on exercise and overall health improvement.
In West Columbia, two focal points for health maintenance include Lexington Medical Center’s Health Directions and Riverwalk, where walkers and runners gather outside to get active.
Tanailyn Pernell is the health promotion consultant at Health Directions in West Columbia. She said the fitness center is hopping in the first of the year.
“It’s always the case that we see an increase in activity and traffic flow in January and February,” said Pernell. She said there are more new members, and more of the existing members start back with their fitness training. The spike in numbers, said Pernell is close to 20 percent.
Health directions offers boot camps in addition to programs like “Exercise is Medicine.” Pernell also said one of the goals of LMC is to teach high-risk participants proper exercise routines so they can implement training at home. An LMC Foundation program funds that effort.
While the comfort of the indoor fitness center is attractive, activity on West Columbia’s popular Riverwalk increased this week as temperatures rose into the 60s or higher.
Genevieve Johnson recently moved to Columbia from Northern Iowa to take a new job. Since discovering the West Columbia Riverwalk she has become a regular.
“I come here every day,” said Johnson. And she brings her dogs, Hunter and Precious. “This is nice,” she said. Johnson also said she found out about Riverwalk via the Internet information site TripAvisor.
Johnson, who lived close to a lake in Iowa, said she also enjoys the warmer weather in West Columbia, compared to the winters where she lived before.
Guy Prince is a pastor who lives in Irmo. He said he comes to Riverwalk to get exercise. Prince said he began to take his fitness a little more seriously in November with the birth of Lucy, his first grandchild.
“I walk and I pray and I work on my sermons,” said Prince, who pastors at the Columbia Church of Christ in West Columbia. “It’s so beautiful here,” he said of Riverwalk.
Prince also said he is thankful for the warmer weather that began in the last week or so. He said he was not as consistent in his exercise routine when the weather was cold.
Anita Barnes lives in Sumter and works at Lexington Medical Center. She normally works weekends, but on Wednesday she picked up an extra shift.
“A girl I work with lives in Cayce. She told me about Riverwalk. This is the first time I’ve been here. “It’s beautiful over here. And I didn’t realize how close it is.”
Barnes said she will be sure to come back to the West Columbia Riverwalk.
Michael Taylor recently moved back to Columbia after living in Western Kentucky.
“It’s nice to see something being done to help people enjoy the river,” said Taylor.
He said before he moved away there was no development, and little access, to the river.
Emma Fairchild and Bailey Williams are from Lexington, but both USC freshmen live on-campus. They are runners and use Riverwalk to exercise. Wednesday was their first day back on Riverwalk in the new school year.
“We come out here in the summer, too,” said Fairchild. She said she is glad the weather is warmer and she expects to come more often in the spring semester that ends in May.
Williams said she enjoys Riverwalk more since the stretch of the trail that included the boardwalk, under the Gervais Street Bridge, was repaired. “I’m so glad they fixed it from the damaged caused by the flood,” said Williams.
Helen Holbrook is a veteran user of West Columbia’s Riverwalk. She said she and her husband, Nathan, used to come walk on the scenic trail before they were married. That was four or five years ago. Now Helen brings the couples’ 19-month old son, Mathias, to Riverwalk, for rides in the stroller.
He loves it,” said Holbrook. Also with the Holbrooks are Amber and Chessie, the family’s dogs.
Holbrook, who lives in the Red Bank area, said her husband is in school at USC, and she comes to Riverwalk while he is in class.
She said she depends on Riverwalk and it’s important to have a place to get outside for her and her son.
“We come several times a week,” Holbrook said. “It’s very impressive.”
Riverwalk has become such a focal point of West Columbia. And that is most apparent to those who want to start 2018 on a track to increase their fitness plans. And if it’s not quite warm enough for an outside fitness activity, West Columbia offers indoor facilities that allow working out in climate controlled comfort.
Full story at: http://westmetronews.net/west-columbia-riverwalk-lmcs-health-directions-start-healthy-new-year/