Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Walk with Ease
The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program at the Coatesville Veteran Affairs (VA) Medical Center recently launched a six-week Walk with Ease program in collaboration with an outside organization, Going Fit. The program consisted of three weekly groups, led by a certified instructor, and included both health-related discussion topics, as well as self-paced group walks.
The goals of the Walk with Ease program are to motivate Veterans to exercise; provide structured opportunities for Veterans to walk safely and comfortably; improve flexibility, strength and stamina and reduce pain.
The Walk with Ease Program was highly successful with seven Veterans that completed the program. They all demonstrated a significant increase in both distance and time spent walking per week, as well as speed.
Program completers improved their weekly walking mileage from an average of 1.6 miles per week to an average of 10.2 miles per week. Additionally, they demonstrated significant improvement in duration of exercising from an average of 25.7 minutes per week to an average of 164.3 minutes per week. These Veterans successfully met the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
All Veterans who participated had positive evaluations of the Walk with Ease program, which they described as “informative” and “very enjoyable.” Veterans also identified the “comradery” of the group experience as one of the primary motivators for continuing to attend the weekly classes.
US Navy Veteran Dean Francazio said, “Walking has made me stronger and excited to work out again.”
At the end of the program, Veterans were pleased with the results.They achieved several goals such as walking five to six days a week, losing weight and increasing walking distance and speed.
One of the programs all-stars Ronald McCorkicle, a US Air Force Veteran, successfully lost 14 pounds over the course of the program while increasing his walking from almost zero miles a week to 11 miles a week. By the end of the group, this 69-year old Veteran was one of the fastest walkers in the group, keeping pace with another Veteran who is 23 years younger.
All Veterans who completed the program stated that they would highly recommend the Walk with Ease program to other Veterans.
The HPDP program at the Coatesville VA Medical Center continues to offer guided walking groups for our Veterans. Walks are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. The group meets in Building 2, Room 107 A, and walks either the tunnels or outside, depending on the weather. If interested in joining the program, please contact Dr. Bernadette Hayburn, Health Behavior Coordinator 610-384-7711, ext. 6210 or 3359.