The town of Windsor is making great strides in health and wellness with the Windsor Walks walking loop system. The project encourages community members and Windsor-based employees to walk more, provide opportunities to learn more about the town they live and work in, and aims to bring visitors to the town. The loops vary in level of difficulty and range from ½ mile to 4 miles. Included are loops that are wheelchair negotiable and stroller-friendly and senior-friendly (low-to-no incline, smooth surface) and way-finding signs are displayed around town to help navigate the loops. There are currently four marked loops, with plans for additional loops in the coming months.
The project is a partnership between the Town of Windsor, RiseVT, and Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership (MAPP) and is supported by a 3-4-50 grant from the Vermont Department of Health. 3-4-50 focuses on the 3 behaviors that lead to 4 diseases that result in over 50 percent of deaths in Vermont. The three behaviors are: no physical activity, poor diet, and tobacco use. The four diseases are: cancer, heart disease/stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and lung disease.
Windsor Town Manager, Tom Marsh, describes the collaboration as, “Sometimes it is the cumulative effect of many small things that can have big impacts. Working with MAPP and RiseVT is an example of that. Windsor Walks is a concept that the entire community can participate in. It makes people think about exercise; giving attainable goals to a range of abilities. As the community becomes familiar with the wide variety of walks, I expect that some residents will find themselves wandering in neighborhoods that they have never visited and making new acquaintances. Windsor Walks is one more asset that contributes to making us such a great community.”
Jill Lord, Director of Community Health at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, further explains, “Windsor Walks is a practical way to explore our beautiful community. Walking is a great exercise that most people can do at any pace that fits their condition. A lot of work went into planning the routes. This is something that helps us get outside, breathe the fresh air and still be safe during the pandemic. The project was a great collaboration between the town and the hospital.”
Vermont Department of Health District Director, Becky Thomas, states, “On behalf of the Vermont Department of Health, I am pleased we could contribute financially to the Windsor Walks project. I hope people will get out and enjoy the new signage, take advantage of the area’s natural beauty and move for their health.”