New Walking Trail in Richmond County; Opportunity for Better Health Choices

— Written By and last updated by Leeann Crump
group of walkers

Flanked by FCS agents, Janice Roberts (l) and Alyssa Anderson (r), a group enjoys the new walking trail at Rockingham Senior Center, designed as a safe fitness area to support healthy lifestyles.

The NC State University funded project, “Promoting Healthy Behaviors: Connecting Community Members to a Shared-Use Walking Trail at East Rockingham Senior Center” combines a health education program with opportunities to practice behaviors learned in class through the creation of a walking trail for community members of Richmond County’s East Rockingham Senior Center. Currently, NC State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) program, Steps to Health, offers an older adult nutrition and physical activity curriculum, Better Choices, that encourages limited-resource participants to eat smart and move more. Better Choices has been shown to improve nutrition knowledge and behavior among older adults. While the program encourages physical activity, some participants lack access to safe places to be active.

At East Rockingham Senior Center, there was a walking trail that leads to a local park, but it was in need of major renovation: tree roots have cracked the pavement making it unsafe for seniors to use, there were no benches, and there were no signs indicating the trail distance.

The project team renovated the trail so that it is safe for seniors to use and encourages use by all community members. Promoting this shared use space can create more opportunities for community members to be physically activity.

NC State Steps to Health faculty and staff will work with FCS Agents Alyssa Anderson (Lee Co.) and Janice Roberts (Richmond and Moore) and East Rockingham Senior Center to create a renovation plan for the county-owned walking trail; promoting its usage through appropriate signage.