Jan Miyamoto lives near Rice Street and just started walking a loop through the area, stopping often to enjoy the sugarcane display in the Hardy Street roundabout.
Wednesday, she pointed it out while on an outing with senior Nordic walkers, a group sponsored by Kauai County and led by Esti Grinpas.
“It’s nice to stop and read the information about sugar and take it all in,” Miyamoto said. “I’ve walked this (route) two Saturdays in a row now and it’s great.”
Miyamoto was one of seven who took the hour-long Rice Street walkabout, which started at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall parking lot and followed Hardy Street, with a break at Ha Coffee.
“I like to show people how pleasant, easy and safe it is to get around Lihue without a car,” Grinpas said. “And I hope this will bring some appreciation for the beautification of Hardy street, and support for the beautification of Rice Street.”
Grinpas pointed out most people have their list of errands in Lihue, and most drive to all of the locations on that list instead of walking. In many cases, she said, walking is faster, easier and better for the body.
“You drive into town and get out of your car and go into the library and then get back into your car and drive over to wherever,” she said. “It’s nice to walk through Lihue, though.”
Nordic walking classes are free for seniors and at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center on Tuesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and at the Lihue Neighborhood Center on Fridays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Poles are provided.
Complimenting the regular Nordic walking classes, Grinpas has added weekly excursions to the Lihue-Kapaa area, as well as other places great for walking around the island.
“We welcome the opportunity to go to some of the more out-of-the-way places also, as long as it is safe and beautiful to walk,” Grinpas said.
Classes focus on the Nordic Walking techniques — body placement, muscle memory, and breathing — and the elements are all put together for the excursions.
Benita Sievers, a newcomer to the island in August, said getting involved with Nordic walking after arriving was a great way to meet people and find her way around Kauai.
“Still, like this morning, I know where Lihue is but I didn’t have any idea where the convention hall was,” Sievers said.
Representing the Kauai Parkinson’s support group, Jim White and Susan Rose said Nordic walking is great for those with musculoskeletal diseases because it is a workout that involves the entire body.
White brought up the end of the group, talking story with George Morishita who was all smiles during the excursion.
Grinpas said that’s the goal of the walking classes and the excursions — to get some exercise, explore the island and have a few laughs with good people.
Going into the holiday season, Grinpas said now is the perfect time to get involved with Nordic walking as a way to stay in shape and prevent the extra weight that are often a byproduct of parties and family gatherings.
“This is a fantastic way to exercise, have fun with friends, and see places most people have not been to,” Grinpas said. “And, for seniors, it’s free.”
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Jessica Else, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or email@example.com.