Mary's Center Participants Walk Towards A Healthy Future

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 70% of the US population is overweight or obese.* Mary’s Center helps people avoid becoming part of that statistic.

Selene Tituana (Life Cycle Educator) and other Mary’s Center staff have created the Mary’s Center Walking Group to encourage participants to understand the value of good nutrition and exercise. The group meets every Friday at 9:30 AM at the Flower Avenue site in Silver Spring. Selene meets many walkers each week, ranging from sweet little one year olds to beautiful grandmothers, all working on their fitness.

I joined some of them for a walk one morning. Many women attended the Walking Group, bringing along their children, too. One of the best things about this generational spread is that it will instill the culture and habit of health and fitness in the next generation.

Although some of the kids felt very tired by the end, they were proud of themselves for completing the long walk through the beautiful Sligo Creek Park. Toward the end of our walk, we stopped at the playground where the kids worked up even more of a sweat, challenging themselves on the monkey bars and kicking their legs to swing harder and harder.

What I liked about the group is that women from many different backgrounds come together to share the same health goals. Some come every Friday, while others come periodically. However frequent their attendance, the participants appreciate the fact that the group gives them a social outlet and an opportunity to share their inspiring stories while exercising, making it a fun, enjoyable experience.

Family walking

Here are just three of those inspiring stories:

Sandra leads the walkers through the path with Selene. She comes every single Friday and is proud of her health since a tough medical experience a few years ago. Sandra was diagnosed with breast cancer and felt her heart sink. Without insurance and proper medical care, the cancer would take over her body. With a referral from Mary’s Center, however, she was able to get the treatment she needed. Since her recovery, she has continued to work with Mary’s Center to maintain healthy habits. Not only does she enjoy her time with the Walking Group, but she has added one hour’s daily training at the gym to her fitness regime. Mary’s Center turned her health around, and now she has decided to give back to her body.

Ms. Valdez is another avid walker, who enjoys sharing this time with her six-year-old granddaughter. Ms. Valdez’s high cholesterol has been an issue for her, so she feels strongly about exercise. Selene helps her learn about healthy choices that can lower her cholesterol and has encouraged her to come to Walking Club. With Selene’s health advice and the two hour walks, Ms. Valdez is feeling great and healthy, teaching her granddaughter the value of habits along the way.

Berta walks briskly with her three children walking behind her. David runs and runs, transforming his experience into Running Club. Jamie is the leader of their small pack, and Haiti stays close to her mom. They all like school and are fluent in both English and Spanish. Berta came from to the United States from El Salvador by walking for fifteen days. She now cooks for a restaurant, and her kids said she is quite the chef. She discovered Mary’s Center five years ago and feels blessed to have found good doctors for her family and herself at the Center. Mary’s Center gives their family peace of mind about their health - both through doctor’s visits and lessons about fitness and wellness.

The energy was high and we had a lot of fun on the trails of Sligo Creek Park that morning. If you’d like to join in and take charge of your health, meet Selene Tituana and her group in the waiting room of the Mary's Center site at 8709 Flower Avenue, Silver Spring, MD every Friday at 9:30 AM! If you have any questions, call Selene on (301) 422-5926

To discuss your health goals with our Nutritionists, please call Maiyu Fernandez on (202) 483-4921 or Darleen Castillo on (202) 420-7125.

* Obesity and Overweight (Centers for Disease Control - National Center for Health Statistics)

Blog by Audrey Griffith, Mary's C enter intern from Elon University in North Carolina

Photos by Diana Espinoza, Mary's Center Teen Program graduate and intern.


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