Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative and the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area teamed up on Sunday to host a 5K Wellness Walk at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center. The walk offered an opportunity for local residents to connect with nature — and each — other while improving their physical and mental health.
Brian Archie, integrator and change agent for the Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative, started the event by telling those gathered at the train station, “We are here today to reconnect with ourselves, our community, and others. Coming together in person outside in nature will restore and reengage us all with what we were doing before COVID-19 happened. We need each other. We are only as well as our neighbors, and we have to take care of each other.”
Archie was delighted with the turnout of the event. “It was great seeing so many people coming out,” he said. “You could see their smiles behind their mask.
“This felt important; we will have similar events very soon.”
Designed to counteract the isolation and sedentary lifestyle many of us have experienced due to the pandemic, the walk allowed participants to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines while enjoying a healthy activity together. Just the act of walking and talking with each other helped boost people’s spirits and build community support and reconnection after what has been a tough year for many.
The simple loop route started at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center and followed the Niagara Gorge Trail to Niagara Falls State Park, returning to the Heritage Center for completion.