As I get older, the thought of exercise makes me cringe and I’m ashamed to admit I don’t make it a daily routine. Okay, okay … sometimes not even weekly. I know the importance of staying active to help me live longer and better – and if I forget, there are dozens of magazines, infomercials and ads to remind me.  Sadly, a lifetime of carrying everything from mail sacks to hay bales and years of poor ergonomics have taken their toll on my body.  Let’s face it – for most of us, middle age brings a laundry list of aches, pains and stiff joints.

Even for couch potatoes, there is one form of exercise that most of us can handle without too much stress. Walking only takes a pair of comfortable shoes and the ability to put one foot in front of the other, and you can begin with no training or experience.  In Marietta we are very fortunate to have the River Trail providing us a paved, scenic and safe place to walk, whether it’s a short stroll or a brisk pace for several miles.

A recent addition to the River Trail now offers even more incentive to get up and get moving; the Settlers Bank Adult Park is installed and ready for public use. Made possible by the generosity of Settlers Bank and other corporate and private donors, this little park is designed for people of different abilities, including the elderly and wheelchair bound.

Nine pieces of exercise equipment offer multiple stations, and up to 19 people can use the pieces at the same time. The durable steel machines have signage and instructions so you can use the equipment properly and know which of your muscles are getting the workout.  The stations have varying degrees of resistance and four are wheelchair accessible, ensuring that nobody is excluded from using the park.

I love the location of the park, in the green space of the 500 block of Front Street. It is safe, shady, with nearby parking and right off the River Trail.  Benches, picnic tables and new landscaping have produced an attractive addition that hopefully will draw even more visitors to this downtown gem.  You can incorporate it into your walk, or simply stop by just to use the equipment.

With Labor Day marking the official end of summer, the days are getting cooler and the evenings are comfortable for walking. Why not treat yourself to a little exercise, a great view and the opportunity to meet more friends and neighbors among the beauty of our parks and trails?  Oh, and work a  few muscles while you’re at it!