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  • These garages are made for walkin’

    On any given day, a band of employees may be found roaming the dark underground of Pima County parking garages. Some are chatting with colleagues. Others have earbuds inserted, striding in time with songs or podcasts while checking progress on fitness trackers strapped to their wrists.

    Think of them as the Pima County Ninja Walkers.
    Chuo Holliday, an accounting supervisor in the Treasurer’s Office, would actually prefer to walk outside, but said the garage is a good option in the heat of the summer. She joins several colleagues from her days in the County’s Finance Department, in the A level garage for 30-minute walks, a practice she’s kept up for more than 15 years. 

    For Holliday, the walking provides an opportunity to catch up with friends and get wellness points through Human Resources’ BeWell program.

    “I like that we get wellness points,” Holliday said. “I reach 100 points in two quarters, but we walk year-round.”

    JaNine Stawiski, a finance analyst supervisor in the Finance Department, usually walks alone in the B level garage, her headphones as her only company. She’d prefer to walk outside, but the garage gets her out of the heat. The down side, she said, is moving out of the way of passing vehicles.

    “I don’t always hear the electric cars,” she said.

    Another County employee walks on B level to feed her fitness charger and collect wellness points, but she also takes the opportunity to listen to audiobooks. Though less than beautiful, the location meets her needs since it’s “close, convenient and works for all weather.”

    One walker has already abandoned the garage in favor of BeWell fitness classes. In fact, the County offers a plethora of free fitness options, from activity classes on cardio strength and yoga to workshops on subjects such as healthy eating and strengthening work relationships. By attending, employees earn wellness points that ultimately can reduce their monthly insurance premiums.

    Wellness points and fitness trackers are great, but something far more important has been motivating Katrina Martinez, an administrative specialist in the Clerk of the Board’s office. Martinez strapped on her sneakers 20 months ago when her diabetes was out of control. She’s sensitive to the sun, so the parking garage suited her well.

    Today, her doctor tells her the diabetes is well in check and, “I’ve lost 50 pounds since I started walking.”

    How do you stay healthy? Do you take advantage of a low-cost gym membership, take the stairs, attend fitness classes? Email us with your fitness tips and we’ll include them in a future eScoop story.  
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