Longtime Wayne resident, 80, counts miles walked, not just steps

Friday, September 29, 2017

Lynn Higgs Wayne Walking Club

If the idea of the Healthy Wayne Walking Club is to get residents out and active, Lynn Higgs, 80, is ahead of the game.

Higgs joined the club in July. A Healthy Wayne initiative, the program calls for participants to sign up with a walking buddy and then log the amount of time they walk. After 31 days of walking, they can turn in their tracking log at the HYPE Recreation Center in Wayne for a chance to win prizes. They can take as much time as they want or need to fill up the 31-day schedule.

Higgs turned in her log to Beaumont’s Healthy Wayne Project Manager, Lynette Ish-Green, who thought it was filled out incorrectly. In the column for the number of steps, Higgs had entered anything from 1.5 to eight - and she had entries for every single day. It turns out, Higgs wasn’t logging steps - she was logging miles.

“I like to get up in the morning and just go,” Higgs said. “It just keeps me busy and makes me feel better. My husband and I were always active, and because our kids grew up with that, the kids are all active. I think that’s good.”

She and her husband, Gerald, had five kids, who all participated in sports. Lynn started running with them while they trained in junior high school and only stopped jogging when she was 68 as the rigorous activity bothered her surgically-repaired knee.

Now, she walks between two and five miles every day, and occasionally up to eight.

“It just keeps you healthy, especially when you get older. Even getting out and walking for 15 minutes a day is beneficial for everyone,” she said. “I have a lot of friends younger than I am who are almost sedentary. It really bothers me.”

The Wayne Walking Club mirrors programs in Taylor and Trenton, which have also partnered in Beaumont’s Healthy Communities initiative. To participate, all anyone has to do is sign up with a walking partner. They’re given a Beaumont bag that includes a free pedometer and a lanyard with the walking log so they can track their progress.

“You have to have a partner,” said Ish-Green. “If you’re doing it alone, you’re not necessarily committing to it. With a partner, you can encourage each other. “Each of the Healthy Communities is doing some kind of walking activity. The whole idea is to try to get people to add it into their routine.”

For completing a schedule, Higgs, a longtime Wayne resident, was entered into a drawing for a new Fitbit. She won, but said she’s since passed it on to one of her daughters, who is training for a marathon. She didn’t need it, anyway.

“I tried it out for a couple of weeks, and it told me I was an overachiever,” she said with a chuckle.

Healthy Wayne was formed through Beaumont Health, the city of Wayne and Wayne-Westland Community Schools to promote health initiatives through awareness campaigns, lifestyle activities, events and programming.

Photo Caption: Lynn Higgs prepares for another walk in front of the HYPE Recreation Center in Wayne.