Janesville63.7°

Walking their way toward wellness

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
December 15, 2007
— Not only are staff at Forward Janesville in the holiday spirit, they are in the spirit of wellness and getting fit.

That’s why the private economic development organization began sponsoring Friday walks downtown in October and continues doing so.


It all began with Laurie Huml Eckert’s work with the small business council. She is vice president of membership development and small business at Forward Janesville.


“They have such unique needs and one thing that keeps coming up is the health care issue and the cost of getting decent health care,’’ Huml Eckert said.


“With all the research on different plans and policies, there’s always some health and wellness bonuses, benefits or discounts for maintaining some type of wellness. So looking at preventative measures, we thought we (at Forward Janesville) could be role models and set out to try to be healthier,” she said.


Response to the walks has been building slowly, Huml Eckert said.


“Obviously, in this weather we don’t have a whole lot of people showing up. But we’re definitely getting the word out there and hoping in the spring it will really take off,’’ she said.


The half-hour walk, that starts at the Forward Janesville office, 51 S. Jackson St., continues down Milwaukee Street, up to Parker Drive, over to Court Street, back to Main Street on to Racine and returns to Jackson, Huml Eckert said.


Employees of businesses along the path of the walk are invited to join in, she said.


Rick Huhn, a personal trainer who has a fitness studio downtown, has joined in the weekly walk.


“I believe in fitness for everybody, and it promotes camaraderie among business people downtown,’’ said Huhn, who will encourage anyone who will listen to participate.


Local yoga instructor Ruth Armstrong also has participated in the walks.


“I think it’s a great idea, a good way to bring health to the forefront and a good way to energize yourself for the afternoon.’’


Forward Janesville fitness industry members are excited about the walks, Huml Eckert said.


“They’re also excited we want to publish a health and wellness newsletter, Forward Fitness, that will launch in January,” she said.


“Well have articles from our Forward Janesville fitness industry members, fitness tips of the month and we’re going to try to get some restaurants involved to highlight a healthy choice on their menu,’’ Huml Eckert said.


The newsletter also will ask various businesses what they are doing for a health and wellness piece, she said.


“If they’re not doing anything, we’d like to challenge them to follow us,” Huml Eckert said.


Walks the first Friday of the month are devoted to walking with children from the Boys & Girls Club.


“We do a lot with the club and thought it would be fun to include the kids and get them going at a young age, showing them this is a good way to get out and get some exercise,” Huml Ekcert said.



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