SOMERS — Arnold Parise celebrated his 62nd birthday walking. Yes, walking.
And he was going to do it no matter what, thanks to Kenosha’s Walk with a Doc, which had its kickoff event on Sunday with Dr. Mary Eldridge, a Kenosha lipid specialist who started the local version of the national program that encourages the community to take part in monthly walks and conversations about health with a local doctor.
“It didn’t matter what the weather would be like,” he said of the event that had to be relocated to the indoor track at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside Sports & Activity Center due to heavy snow. “Inside or outside I was prepared for it.”
Parise said walking is something that he enjoys doing for a workout.
“I do a lot of walking and, actually, a lot more bicycling. I don’t have any other athletic talents, I tell people, because I can’t slam dunk a basketball or hit a baseball, but I can ride a bike and I walk a lot,” he said.
He said he just doesn’t want to be known as “the old man” of the walking group. But he also looked to his father’s example for how to stay active well into his 80s.
“My father lived to almost 87. He was walking and biking until the very end, so I think there’s something to that,” he said.
Julie and Jim Livingston got their laps in at the track with their 17-year-old son Nick.
“We decided it would be a nice thing to do as a family,” Julie Livingston, of Kenosha, said.
The Livingstons, who live close to the UW-Parkside campus, said they thought it was great opportunity to exercise. Jim Livingston said he already does a lot of walking for his job as a maintenance worker for a large company, but he said it’s a great way to exercise because anyone can do it.
“Walking is easy to do and doesn’t take special equipment,” he said. “And it’s fun.”
Lynn Hill, a registered nurse at Froedtert South, who came prepared to walk in the snow dressed in snow boots and a calf-length parka, stopped to say hello to Eldridge and thanked her for bringing the program to the Kenosha area.
“This is so awesome that you’re doing this,” she told Eldridge.
While she wasn’t prepared to walk indoors, Hill said she would be coming next month. However, she wasn’t going to be skipping out of the walking altogether on Sunday — she was going to brave the mini-blizzard.
“It’s so exciting to see she is actively engaged in community health,” Hill said.
Eldridge’s father, Dr. John Eldridge, a Kenosha ophthalmologist, said he, too, tries to keep active by walking and doing other activities, and was there to support his daughter in her quest to encourage people to get moving.
“I think it’s great. I’m glad people came. I didn’t know with the weather whether it would be more like ‘Ski with a Doc’ or ‘Sled with a Doc,’” the elder Eldridge said jokingly. “I try to walk or run or try and play basketball or lift weights.”
Dr. Mary Eldridge said, despite the inclement weather, she was pleased with the turnout.
“I told the Walk with a Doc people, if I have even one person come out for this, I will have completed a mission of having this start, having people walk,” she said.