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Walking program begins at mall

By Alex Ross

Staff Intern

HOLYOKE Most city employees wouldn't think of the Holyoke Mall Customer Service area at 7 a.m., as the place to start a workweek. But this week, they did just that in kicking off a program to promote exercise.

"Walk 20 Miles in 20 Days" is co-sponsored by Massachusetts Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and is a variation on their program "Walk 25 Miles in 30 Days."

"It's a program to get people to exercise before people come to work," said Mitch Moskal, Director of Management Assistance Programs in the city who is overseeing and participating in the program.

Each walker will receive a free pedometer, provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, measuring the distance each participant walks. Those who walk the required distance over 20 days will be eligible in a drawing, to win a free gym bag. The time of walking and miles traveled each day are up to each individual.

"It's another initiative we've had in Holyoke to promote a healthy lifestyle," said Mayor Michael.J Sullivan, who will be a participant.

Some see the program as not just bringing attention to exercise or to just Blue Cross and Blue Shield, but may in the long run even help the city save some money.

"[The program] helps both the city and Blue Cross Blue Shield. They [Blue Cross Blue Shield] have a program to keep people healthy, and by keeping people healthy the city can hopefully reduce some self-cost," said Moskal.