When Steve and Susan Daniel saw that Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well was offering a program to turn walkers into joggers in February 2016, it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
Joining Move It Mondays not only provided the Daniels with an opportunity to improve their health, but to also spend even more time with each other. The couple, who have been married for 33 years and live in Ephesus, go walking together at least once or twice a week.
“We were walking, but we wanted to increase our level of activity and our commitment to exercise consistently,” said Susan Daniel. “We love outdoor activities and this seemed like a great way to add variety to our exercise routines.”
Designed to help participants add distance and increase their pace over the course of eight weeks, Move It Mondays was a perfect fit. The program, which was developed in partnership with the West Georgia Track Club in Carrollton, has certified coaches and experienced runners available to encourage and motivate participants.
According to the American Heart Association, 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week, can reduce the risk of cancer, depression, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes.
“Whether you have never set foot on a walking trail or have several 5K races under your belt, Move It Mondays is designed to help you reach your health goals,” said Patricia Mitchell, wellness and prevention coordinator at Get Healthy, Live Well.
The next session of Move It Mondays will begin on Feb. 20, with a drop-in meet and greet from 5 to 6 p.m. at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton in Classroom 2. Regular meetings for the program will begin Feb. 27 at 5:45 p.m. on the walking trail on the Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton campus, with parking available in the Clinic Avenue Parking Deck.
Before joining Move It Mondays, the Daniels regularly walked, but neither of them had tried running. That didn’t stop the couple from setting a big goal in December 2015 before starting the program.
“We kept hearing about this fundraising 5K on the radio — JOY FM’s Freedom Run,” said Susan Daniel. “The more we heard about it, the more firmly we were convinced we needed to help with the fundraiser and we needed to run the race!”
Once the decision was made, they knew there would be a lot of hard work ahead of them before heading to Tampa, Fla., near the end of February 2016 to complete the race.
“It sounds crazy to sign up for something like this with such big aspirations and no talent, but that is what we did,” said Susan Daniel.
Because the Daniels weren’t experienced runners, they were happy to join a program that is welcoming to all fitness levels.
“We had a plan, but we definitely needed help,” said Susan Daniel. “Thank goodness Move It Mondays and the West Georgia Track Club showed up to help us make it possible to achieve what we set out to do.”
Steve Daniel posted their progress on fundraising and their efforts to run on social media.
Another perk of joining Move It Mondays is the camaraderie. The couple loved that in addition to the instructors and educators, the people within the group began to be encouragers to each other.
“It was not about how fast you were, or how far you could go in comparison to others,” said Susan Daniel. “It was about learning to improve when measuring against your own previous success. We met people from all areas of the community and it was not just for hospital employees.”
The couple, who are both Tanner employees, spend a lot of time together. That is what has helped keep their relationship strong. And they will continue walking together when the next session of Move It Mondays begins.
“This will be our third time to participate,” said Susan Daniel. “We enjoy meeting new people, seeing the progress of those that have attended before and continuing to make individual progress as well.”
For anyone who may be a little apprehensive about joining a walking program like Move It Mondays, the Daniels stress the importance of not comparing yourself to others.
“There is no reason to have reservations or be apprehensive about attending,” said Susan Daniel. “You will make progress at your own pace. There are people there to show you how to make the best of your current ability and then to help you transition to a higher level during the program.”
Participating in Move It Mondays has definitely changed the Daniels lives for the better.
“We have both lost weight and are healthier as the result,” said Susan Daniel. “Steve is by far the one who has learned to ‘love the run.’”
Steve Daniel will be running his first 10K during the West Georgia Track Club Road Race on March 11 in Carrollton. Get Healthy, Live Well is sponsoring the road race, which includes a 5K and 10K, and showcases the Carrollton GreenBelt. Both races begin at 8 a.m.
The 5K and 10K courses are USATF certified, which means they are Peachtree Road Race qualifiers.
“Susan still says she has ‘endurance,’ not ‘speed,’” Steve Daniel chimed in. “Both of us really loved this community activity. Since our first Move It Mondays, we make certain we are walking or running two to three times per week and we have signed up to accomplish several races throughout this year.”
To register for Move It Mondays, visit GetHealthyLiveWell.org. To sign up for the West Georgia Track Club Road Race, visit www.westgeorgiatrackclub.org.