Group challenging  region’s seniors  to walk 90 miles

Run, jump, walk, bike. Just get moving. That’s the message one group of residents focusing on senior health is working to promote.

Maureen Petro of Temple, Mary Lou Cunningham of New Ipswich and Lois Donelson of Lebanon are members of the N.H. Senior Leadership. The group is holding a series to discuss the issues facing the state’s growing senior population. This year, they were asked to think of a project that would benefit the seniors in the area. While some focused on state funding and senior abuse, Petro, Cunningham and Donelson decided to get seniors moving and improving their own health.

“It’s so critical later on in life, to be physical. You feel better when you move,” said Petro in an interview Wednesday.

The three decided they would encourage seniors to become involved with a program endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health. The 90 Mile Challenge encourages seniors to walk a mile every day for 90 days.

“We thought, why not do something with walking? It’s something almost everyone can do,” said Petro in an interview Tuesday. “Get people moving 20 minutes a day. Walking is natural. There’s no cost, you can do it year-round, it can be social or you can do it alone. Every way we looked at it, it was positive.”

It doesn’t have to be walking, Petro said. It can be any kind of exercise, so long as you are keeping active every day for 20 minutes.

And while the three’s focus is on getting seniors involved, the challenge is open to everyone of any age who would like to participate. The challenge starts on June 1, and runs through Aug. 31, although anyone can join in at any time.

Those interested in taking the 90-day challenge may register online at Participants in the challenge will get free day access to N.H. state parks during the month of June when they present a valid ID and their “passport,” a calender to track your progress issued when you register online for the challenge. There is no cost to register.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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