Cold winter weather is no obstacle for those who prefer to walk or run instead of visiting an indoor gym to stay fit all year.
Although rain and snow may deter some, many Harrison County residents are able to stay motivated to maintain good fitness levels, thanks to a popular indoor location where they can gather to walk laps. Many walkers circle the interior of the Meadowbrook Mall in the quiet of the mornings before the hustle and bustle that comes with the opening of stores and arrival of shoppers.
"When the weather is bad, this is the best," said Glenn Burr. "We have to keep going."
Burr said he walks to support his friend, Robert Small. Small said he walks the mall every day to keep his weight and sugar levels down.
He and many others dedicate their mornings to staying fit.
"I do this for my health," Sue Welch said. "It makes me feel better, too. I want to dance at my grandson's wedding."
Welch said she wanted to stay fit and live to see her grandson get married. For Welch, it's more than just being at the wedding to watch.
Jim Wanstreet said he walks every morning for the exercise. He also agreed that the mall was a good place to walk because you don't have to worry about the weather.
Shops don't open until 10 a.m. on weekdays, but mall doors are opened to pedestrian traffic as early as 8:30 a.m.
Many of the walkers at the mall recognize the importance of staying fit and healthy. Participants of all ages share their mornings there. Some walk alone, and others in groups. Some listen to music on their private digital devices as they walk. Others window shop as they pass the stores.
There are many locations where people can walk without much distraction from passing vehicles. In Barbour County, Audra State Park offers a slightly more challenging walk with slopes, hills and paths along the river. Upshur County citizens might be interested in walking the trail adjacent to West Virginia Wesleyan College. Also in Upshur County, the paths of the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in French Creek are usually open all year. Tucker County offers Canaan Valley, along with the many stair-filled path down to Blackwater Falls.
Many localities have walking or biking trails that provide a place for citizens to stay fit without the expense of gym memberships. For more information about where to find those locations, contact the local Convention and Visitors Bureau for the area in question.