This winter, Norte! encourages people to get up, grab a friend and head outside. Their program, Winter Walk Wednesdays (WWW), is a weekly, community-wide celebration of people walking to work, school or just for fun in Traverse City. WWW starts January 11th and goes through March.
Norte!—a youth-focused nonprofit dedicated to promoting an active and healthy lifestyle—was founded by Ty and Johanna Schmidt. Now, the bike-loving Traverse City residents have added walking to their daily lifestyle.
According to the American Heart Association, a regular walking program can reduce the risk of serious diseases such as heart disease, lower blood pressure, boost bone strength, increase your energy and prevent weight gain.
“As humans we’re really meant to walk,” Ty says. “Winter Walk Wednesdays is more than just exercise though. The idea is about embracing winter and connecting. Walking gives us a chance to really talk and catch up with a neighbor or family member during our busy lifestyles.”
For those living in Northern Michigan, it’s important to embrace the winter season, Ty says. Part of that is finding ways to stay active during the colder months.
“I just got this great email from an older set of friends who live on Boardman Lake, and they just started walking together on Wednesdays since we launched this project,” Ty says. “They’re in their 70s and 80s and they’re out there staying fit and active.”
WWW isn’t limited to Traverse City. The simple program can be easily replicated in other areas, too. Though walking does take a little cold-weather gear, it doesn’t require much more than a cleared sidewalk, Ty says.
Here’s How WWW Works:
1. Commit to walking to work, school, as an errand or just for fun every Wednesday this winter.
2. Invite a classmate, co-worker or neighbor to walk with you.
3. Share your winter-y selfie with #WalkTVC and help Norte! build the most walk-tastic community photo collage in Traverse City history.
4. Tell Norte! why you like to winter walk in TC as part of “Who Winter Walks In Traverse City” campaign.
“It’s really a celebration for people of all ages, and I think people walking creates more people walking,” he says. “It’s about creating awareness, and we’re always happy to collaborate with other communities.”
WWW is partnered with several Traverse City organizations including Cuppa Joe, Workshop Brewing Company, State Theatre, TBA Credit Union, Oryana Natural Foods Market, Pangea’s Pizza Pub, Traverse Area District Library, Bay Area Recycling for Charities and Amical. The local hotspots are offering events and deals on Wednesdays to encourage people to walk over.
“We’re trying to partner with other organizations to say, ‘Hey, there’s some cool stuff going on, why don’t you walk there?”
So, let’s embrace winter more, walk more and connect more.
5 Beautiful Places to Walk in Traverse City:
1. Through downtown Traverse City at night while the trees are lit
2. At Grand Traverse Commons in the parkland behind Building 50
3. The Boardman Lake Trail behind the Traverse Area District Library
4. The TART Trail in downtown Traverse City
5. The Wooded area in City Lot, located next to the fire station on Front Street