Ann Dewar loves to walk, and she has company among members of college club

By Carson Deveau

Oct. 6, 2016

Ann Dewar is an avid walker.

She began working in facilities in Montgomery Hall at Holland College at the start of the school year.

Before her shifts, which usually are from 1-9p.m., she comes to work two hours early and goes for a power-walk, something she has been doing five times a week for the past 35 years.

She’s not alone

Wanda MacInnis works in the dental assisting program at the college and Dewar approached her early in the new school year, asking her for help.

Dewar’s approach was straightforward.

“I want to get a walking club started here at Holland College, and I want you to help to help me get it started.”

MacInnis agreed to help. The two began sending emails and telling people about the new formed club.

The club has expanded to eight in its second week. MacInnis is happy with that, but she knows it can increase.

“It’s really hard to get people onboard. If people only realized that 30 minutes of walking really can help you physically, mentally, and helps you get through the rest of your day.”

Thirty minutes of walking a day has fantastic benefits for both a person’s physical and mental health, said MacInnis.

It can reduce the risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, heart diseases, as well as controlling weight.

Dewar is aware of the numerous health benefits. Starting the club is important because staff and students at the college want to be active, but just need a push to do so, she said.

“I think there’s people that’d like to get out and be active, but everyone is just so busy with school, work, and their families that they don’t think they have the time. But they just needed someone to jump start a low commitment club such a this, to get them to join and be active.”

Donna Sutton was one of those people.

Sutton works in student service at the college and has been a member of the walking club since the first day.

“It’s great for exercising, and clearing my head so I’ll go into the afternoon with a clear mind. It’s a great way to break up the day.”

Sutton was never a walker before, but after being approached by Dewar to join, she agreed to come out and try.

Once she went out, Sutton felt inspired by Dewar’s enthusiasm and passion for walking.

“She’s great inspiration whenever we are out there walking. Her pace is quick, so it’s a real challenge to try and keep up to her. It motivates me.”

Though the club is only going until Nov. 4, Sutton plans to continue to walk well beyond that. Ms MacInnis is happy to hear that.

“We want to teach our members that you don’t have to do a whole lot to be active, but you have to at least to something to get out, meet people, and get moving.”

The walking club meets at noon every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday outside of the Charlottetown Centre and new members are welcome.