HOBART | Judy Buncich wants to improve her health and lose weight this year.
Those are just two of the many reasons Buncich, 72, of Hobart, has taken up walking at the Maria Reiner Center, 705 E. Fourth St., or on her home treadmill.
"At home on my treadmill I just keep going until I can't go anymore," Buncich said.
Buncich, wearing a T-shirt with her team name Shuddup and Drive, was one of several seniors walking Monday morning in the gymnasium outside the center.
The new walking club meets at 10:30 a.m. Mondays, said Pamela Broadaway, the center's executive director.
The seniors, who have been divided into teams, log their steps and compete for a traveling trophy courtesy of Walgreens.
"Celebrity" walkers, such as Mayor Brian Snedecor who joined the group Monday, are invited to walk along with the group one time each month, Broadaway said.
There is also an area set aside, marked with orange traffic cones, for those seniors who may have limitations and need the assistance of a walker or cane.
"We want to get everyone up and moving," Broadaway said.
A companion class to the walking club is a wight loss class held at noon Wednesdays.
"I lost 4.6 pounds last week," Buncich said.
Ron Wackett, a Valparaiso resident and member, said he helped organize the walking club, which currently entails walking 164 miles — the distance from Augusta, Maine, to Concord, N. H.
"We start all over when one of the teams gets to the goal," Wackett said.
Center member Carol Steffus, who has logged 17 miles, said she had knee replacement surgery and is trying to keep fit.
"My husband, Peter, also comes to walk, which is something I've encouraged because he only has one lung," Steffus said.
In addition to weight loss and better health, seniors also receive other incentives to join the walking club, Walgreens manager Trey Guilliana said.
Guilliana said he has provided free pedometers and coupons that can be used at his store off Wisconsin Street.