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Seniors hit trail for seasonal stroll

By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff

Bundled up with coats and hats, Sherborn seniors were ready to attend their weekly walk of the Holliston Rail Trail, hosted by the Council on Aging. 

In the spirit of the season, however, seniors donned ugly holiday sweaters for the walk, a tradition that has been in place since the walking group began three years ago. 

Exercise Instructor Laila Vehvilainen and Assistant COA Director Kristina Gallant joined seniors for a the stroll outside on Thursday afternoon. With the brisk winter air just starting to feel chilly, the midday walk was an excellent way to stay active and social. 

Vehvilainen has been involved in themed walks previously and enjoys the exercise and good company. Gallant agreed “It’s great to get out. Before the weather gets too cold, we look forward to the walks every week.” 

Walkers came prepared with heating packs and dressed in layers for the windy New England weather. 

The Sherborn COA’s focus on wellness in the community is apparent from not only walks like these, but also in the way the walkers interact. “We ended up getting a core group,” Gallant said. Many walkers attend weekly and have built strong friendships with those in the group. The exercise builds healthy habits in and outside of the walking group.

The COA’s exercise opportunities are not solely confined to outdoor activity, however. Zoom classes have gained popularity from the pandemic, to the extent that, as Vehvilainen noted, “some people don’t want to come back in-person!” The accessibility of Zoom classes also give out-of-towners the chance to keep a routine with others that share similar goals.

On the day, however, walkers were enjoying the in-person experience.

After the walk, seniors took a moment at the gazebo before heading off for the day, where Gallant and Vehvilainen had a couple surprises. In the spirit of giving, prizes consisting of candy and gift cards were awarded to a few lucky seniors. Amongst some of the superlatives were of course, “Ugliest Sweater”, as well as “Most Festive.” 

The third annual Ugly Sweater Walk was an even greater success than in past years; a new tradition is alive and well.

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