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Biabou Fitness Group walk to defy aging and bad health on Heroes’ Day

Biabou Fitness Group  walk to defy aging and bad health on Heroes’ Day


The majority of them are over sixty, and on national heroes’ day, the Biabou Fitness Group set out to challenge themselves with a walk that would last over two hours for some of its members.{{more}}

The group is made up of older persons from Biabou and the surrounding areas. Apart from their advanced age, many of the members are afflicted with the chronic ailments traditionally associated with aging – diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease; some are even recovering from strokes.

But none of these ailments were sufficient to deter not even the most infirm among the membership from taking the walk which was covered by a bus for those who found it too taxing to walk the entire route. The fact that these older persons could overcome such formidable physical challenges to engage in a fitness walk over that distance was indeed a heroic feat in celebration of National Heroes Day.

Some of the participants shared how they felt after completing the walk.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea and can look back on what we have achieved at our age,” said Eleanor Daniel. “By going on such walks, we can inspire others to join us, thus keeping fit and healthy.”

Matilda King is happy that there were no casualties, even though her knees ached. In sharing, she said: “I enjoyed my walk because I took it at my own pace, although both knees were hurting me. I also think that we should go on long walks more often and encourage more people to join the group. I am happy that there were no casualties.”

The two-hour (a little over for some) trek got started at 6:00 a.m. from the Biabou Learning Resource Centre along the Windward highway (Southwards) through Peruvian Vale and Yambou, taking a left turn in the vicinity of Bigger Trucking Block Construction Co. unto the Argyle new road, then back to the Learning Resource Centre.

The walk was part of activities to mark the group’s third anniversary celebrations which are being held under the theme “Aging and Health.” The group was formed on February 26, 2009, at a Town Hall meeting initiated by the Health Promotion Unit within the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment. This initiative was taken in response to the Port of Spain Declaration, which advocates “Wellness” as the leading weapon in the fight against Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases.

Harvey Farrell, Health Educator at the Health Promotion Unit, took part in the walk with other members of the Unit. Reflecting on the celebration of the 3rd Anniversary, Farrell said: “As a Unit, we feel a great sense of accomplishment to have the group around, despite its many challenges, to be able to celebrate this significant (3rd anniversary) milestone.”

Farrell went on to express his main concern. “As a member of staff my greatest concern is the fact that for the three years of the group’s existence we have not been able to attract more males. What is encouraging, though, is that the few males that are there are very dedicated members.”

The group meets weekly at the Biabou Learning Resource Centre for exercise, fellowship, and discussion on health, health-related and social issues. Health Educator Farrell feels that “perhaps, the high levels of inactivity, particularly among the elderly is the lack of appropriate facilities and opportunities for them to continue to lead active lives. The group, therefore, seeks to fill that void.”

The walk was also a fund raiser so that they could raise additional funds to buy and replace equipment, among other things.

Elfreda Regisford regarded the walk as enjoyable and rewarding and if she would have things her way, the group would be walking more. “I enjoyed the walk,” she said.

“It was very rewarding. I walk every morning, and I think the group should go on long walks more often, at least four times per month.”

The group’s other anniversary activities included a church service, a sports day and a dinner.