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Talkin’ walkin’ group moves outside

Created date

May 25th, 2010

You have to move it before you lose it, Pauline Reilly says with the infectious spunk that fills her voice and her step. Walking is the best exercise for you. I love being out in the fresh air with no interruptions. It s exhilarating, she says.

No more walking in a blizzard

[caption id="attachment_11921" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Walking for half an hour a day lowers the risk of heart disease by 30 to 40% in women. (File photo)"][/caption] Reilly has always enjoyed walking for exercise and has reaped the health benefits. Even just a half hour of brisk walking a day is associated with a 30 to 40% lower risk of heart disease in women, based on the Nurses Health Study of 72,000 female nurses. Walking also has been shown to help lower cholesterol, control weight and blood pressure, and lower the risk of hip fracture, according to a study of men and women ages 20 to 93. Reilly loves walking so much, in fact, that she moved from her house in Ramsey, N.J., to a community where she can walk year-round regardless of weather. Now she lives at Cedar Crest, in Pompton Plains, N.J., which has glass-enclosed walkways connecting every building. The community also has beautifully manicured grounds and gardens that make walking outside a pleasure. Walking is why I came here; I can walk indoors and outdoors. I walked in the blizzard! she says.

Follow the walking leader

Reilly s enthusiasm for walking is contagious. Every Monday at 2 p.m., she meets between three and eight of her neighbors and leads them on a walk around the community. While some may not be up to her speed, she encourages them to walk further, and each time, they extend themselves, she says. It s become a social thing. We re a talkin walkin group, she says. And more importantly, she adds, they ve become friends. We touch each other s lives. They walk through the community garden area on nice days, where fellow neighbors are out digging and planting. It s so beautiful. It gives you a lot of energy. Not that she needs it. Aside from walking, she does tai chi, plays cards, volunteers, and takes music classes. I m on the move all the time! she says.