Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seniors to Enjoy Fair Day

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seniors to Enjoy Fair Day

Article excerpt

Laura Hafner is one of a growing number of fitness buffs who exercise by pumping shoe leather in the mall rather than iron in the gym.

Hafner, 69, is a member of the Energizers Walkers Program at Belz Factory Outlet Mall in Wentzville. Hafner initiated the program in 1986 under the co-sponsorship of St. Luke's Hospital and the Visiting Nurses Association.

The group has grown from 15 to 50 members. About 50 multigenerational walkers a day use the mall, says Hafner. Most show up between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.

"We have the mall to ourselves then and everyone gets to know everyone else," Hafner said. "It's not only fun and exercise but a way to catch up on all the gossip in town."

A log is kept for each member to record mileage. Once an Energizer has walked 100 miles, he or she becomes a T-shirted member of the club. Hafner says that three times around the interior of the mall constitutes one mile.

"I've walked 7,000 miles at Belz so far," she said. "I was walking eight to 10 miles a day but had to cut down because of a foot problem. I'm back up to three or four a day."

The Energizers' activities include a monthly lecture on nutrition, health and exercise by the staff of St. Luke's Hospital in West County. Hafner distributes magazine and newspaper articles on walking and diet every week and organizes two annual breakfasts at the mall.

Hafner and Barb Duncan, an employee of the mall, have coordinated a Senior Citizen Health Fair scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the mall. Participating health organizations are St. Luke's Hospital, Doctors Hospital of Wentzville and St. Joseph Hospital West.

Duncan said the primary purpose of the fair was to support mall walkers past 50 who spend time and money in the mall.

"We're covering every topic we can think of that is important to them from what's new in nutritional labeling to support groups sponsored by a local funeral home," Duncan said. …

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