The answer is: The Town House Hiking Club!
Town House Hikers rival the fall colors!
A trip to High Bridge Trail State Parkin the fall is guaranteed to satisfy your fall foliage cravings. But you may be inspired by more than the breathtaking scenery.
Members of the Town House Hiking Club have been hitting the trail,High Bridge Trail,for a few years now. Town House is a Farmville psychosocial rehabilitation program with Crossroads Community Services Board that serves individuals with serious mental illnesses.
Director Martha Fowlkes notes, “In all my years as a therapeutic recreation specialist with people with serious mental illnesses in a variety of settings, the most popular and therapeutic activity has always been outdoor walking.”
Ready to hit the trail!
Stop and smell the flowers
Studies suggest that even meager levels of physical activity can improve the mood of people with serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia. Research shows that fast improvement in mood and self-esteem occur after a short ‘green’ exercise (outside in nature as opposed to inside). Town House does not have a gym, so the members and staff are enjoying High Bridge Trail State Parkas their ‘green’ exercise.
Here’s what Town House members have to say about High Bridge Trail
“I like the trees. I also like to walk and see the nature, its good exercise”. -Charlotte W.
“I like the scenery and watching the animals. I like to see how the animals move and I like to listen to the leaves when they brush on the limbs.” -Sharon W.
‘You get fresh air.” -Christian J.
“I like the view, it can be relaxing.” -Glynn L.
Take a hike! And reap the rewards…
Go Get Some Fresh Air….
When High Bridge Trail opened, everyone at Town House automatically became a hiking club member and could participate based on ability and interest. You can see them most Fridays on High Bridge Trail. High Bridge is the half-way point and a resting spot on their weekly 2.2 mile hike.
The goals of the hiking club are to get outside, get fresh air, enjoy one another’s company and have fun. But the benefits have become so much more:
Members start feeling better, increasing their mileage and achieving their goals, reducing stress, building self-esteem, and gaining the physical benefits inherent in walking and hiking. Members are awarded certificates and acknowledgement for their cumulative mileage and every step is rewarded.
“It’s relaxing and makes me calm. I can’t wait for the next 3 mile walk”.-Chris W.
Town House Hikers at High Bridge
Most members who participate in the hiking club say they feel better and never thought they could walk that distance.
“I enjoy the High Bridge walks because it gives you exercise and the weather is real good out there. I like it because it’s a nice looking bridge and it’s a good thinking place. I enjoyed the Recovery Walk, it was very enjoyable and I’m hoping we do the Recovery Walk again next year. I enjoy walking with all the members.” -Charlie H.
The Recovery Walk on High Bridge Trail started in 2012, in conjunction with the grand opening of High Bridge. Sponsors donated money to help pay for tee shirts and lunch. Walkers from other mental health day programs across the state joined in. The Recovery Walk was held again in June of this year. “We hope to make it an annual event,” says Director Martha Fowlkes.
Meditate on this
Walking gives you time to think, so as you are walking out the door, think about this:
Ways walking can relieve your stress:
|Put distance between you and your stress-causing environment.|
|Un-knot tense muscles caused by stress.|
|Observe & enjoy the environment around you: trees, flowers, birds,& more.|
|Feel your body in motion and reconnect with yourself.|
|Meditate and work through problems and possible solutions.|
|Talk and laugh with your walking partner to reduce stress.|
|Realize there is more to life than your problems.|
|Lower blood pressure and heart health risk.|
- Rice's Depot Road, 1/4-mile off U.S. 460 at Rice
- River Road, three miles off N. Main St. in Farmville
- Osborne Road, 1/4-mile off N. Main St. in Farmville
- Municipal lots in Farmville where the trail intersects with Main St.
- Tuggle Road, off U.S. 460 and near U.S. 15 North
- Prospect Road, off U.S. 460 at Prospect
- Elam, off U.S. 460 at Sulpher Spring Rd
- Heights School Rd., of U.S. Business 460 near Pamplin