By Tyler Eva
Every Saturday morning, members of the La Mesa community wake up and exercise with their fellow walkers at the Grossmont Center mall. Sponsored by Sharp Hospital, the Grossmont Mall Walkers program was created to encourage the local community to engage in daily exercise and socialize with other walkers.
The program was started 32 years ago by a cardiologist who wanted to create a program that would promote local activism and exercise. For the members, walking provides physical benefits such as reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, and increased strength.
Fellow walker Donna Smith appreciates the program as it inspired her to maintain a healthy lifestyle after retirement.
“I was retiring and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get into that routine of sitting and watching television all the time and I’ve always been rather active but I wanted to make sure and make some connections because it’s like a new chapter in your life,” Smith said.
For many, the social component of the program is what has created a tight-knit community that has been together for years. Community members over the years have started exercising daily after joining the weekly program and even started socializing outside of the program.
State Senator Joel Anderson acknowledges the work of the Grossmont Mall Walkers program. In honor of their community engagement, Anderson provided Senate certificates of recognition to Sharp Hospital, the Grossmont Center, instructor Daphne Miller, and the board members of the Grossmont Mall Walkers program.
“February is American Heart Month, and it’s an honor to celebrate a long-lasting program that’s been dedicated to promoting fitness and living healthy lives. The people at the Grossmont Mall Walkers program are great examples of local leaders and I am grateful for their 32 years of supporting the community,” Anderson said.
Members of the La Mesa and San Diego communities are welcome to join the program at the Grossmont Center food court every Saturday at 8 or 9 a.m. — no pre-registration or fees required.
— Tyler Eva is a legislative intern for the office of Sen. Joel Anderson.