Coming together for a healthier community

‘Exercise is always easier with a friend’

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 10, 2017

 Zumba instructor Michelle Sand, of St. Clair Shores, leads a group Zumba lesson to warm up before the walk.

Zumba instructor Michelle Sand, of St. Clair Shores, leads a group Zumba lesson to warm up before the walk.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


ST. CLAIR SHORES — With more than 200 people committing to take their first steps, the Walk St. Clair Shores 28-Day Challenge began on a windy, gray day.

Rick Mathias, of St. Clair Shores, committed to the challenge with his wife “just to get some exercise.”

He said they would be putting in their steps together. 

Twenty-three group walk locations have been scheduled for each week of the challenge, which runs May 1-28, with walkers having the option to join four or five groups most days of the week. 

The group walks are led by leaders in the community who have committed to leading a walk around a certain neighborhood or park at a certain time each week in an effort to help St. Clair Shores residents get healthy.

The physical fitness and the community involvement are what inspired group leader Beth DeBouvre, of St. Clair Shores, to commit.

“I think people will be more motivated to walk in a group atmosphere,” said DeBouvre, who will lead a 2-mile walk through the neighborhood surrounding St. Joan of Arc Church at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays through May. “Exercise is always easier with a friend.”

The walking challenge is put on by the Healthy St. Clair Shores Alliance, a partnership between the St. Clair Shores Senior Activity Center, the Beaumont Health and Fitness Center, The Lake House, South Lake Schools, the Woods Church and other volunteers. During the May 1 kickoff at Veterans Memorial Park, walkers pledged to walk most days of the week during the month, whether in a group or by themselves, keeping track of their mileage so it can be posted throughout the city as the challenge proceeds.

Pam Mazurkiewicz, of St. Clair Shores, said she joined the challenge because “it’s time to get in shape.” She said she heard about it at the Beaumont Health and Fitness Center, where she recently became a member. 

Having others to walk with at a certain day and time, she said, “keeps you honest” about your efforts.

Participants heard from Dr. Asha Shajahan, of Beaumont Family Medical Center, then participated in some Zumba to warm up before taking their first laps around Veterans Memorial Park.

“You’ve committed by just being here to being healthier,” Shajahan told participants. “As you walk, try to practice mindful walking, (noticing) the green grass, cool water and all the beauty of nature around (you).”

About 140 participants had registered ahead of time for the challenge, said Jessie Pariseau, of Beaumont Health and Fitness, and more than 100 signed up May 1 at the park.

It’s not too late to join, said Carly Podzikowski, director of the St. Clair Shores Senior Activity Center. Register by calling Beaumont Health and Fitness at (800) 633-7377 and pressing 2.