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Golf Mill programs challenge seniors to be fittest of the mall

Noel TrovelMortGrove walks Golf Mill Shopping Center during morning May 5. Trovelwalks three four times week. | Michael Jarecki~For Sun-Times

Noel Trovela, of Morton Grove, walks in Golf Mill Shopping Center during the morning of May 5. Trovela walks three to four times a week. | Michael Jarecki~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 29, 2012 9:15AM

In the morning, before the mall is even open for business, people can be seen strolling briskly past the stores like they’re on a mission.

These seniors doing laps around Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles are just looking to get some exercise, and to that end, “mall walking” is an activity several of them have been dedicated to for years.

“We’ve been walking for almost 30 years,” said Margaret Eichinger, of Glenview, who was walking the mall with her friend at 8:30 a.m. on a recent Saturday morning. “It’s a nice environment.”

Many of the walkers commented that they do it for the exercise and the quiet atmosphere of the mall before the stores open and it bustles with activity.

“It’s peaceful in the morning,” said Noel Trovela, of Morton Grove.

Trovela comes to walk at Golf Mill about three to four times a week. He likes the fact he can come walk at the mall anytime of the day, but especially early in the morning.

Ismael Gimenez, of Des Plaines, said he had open-heart surgery and walks the mall in order to stay healthy.

Ann Roberts and her husband, Mike, have been walking at Golf Mill for five years. Roberts said they enjoy strolling outside when the weather is nice, but that Golf Mill is a great alternative when the weather isn’t great.

Roberts said they have also attended the Feats of Fitness Program, another offering of Golf Mill, which goes hand-in-hand with the mall-walking program.

Feats of Fitness is a partnership between Bethany Terrace, Mainestreamers, Partners in Healthcare, Golf Mill Cafe and the shopping center.

Each month there is a special event, such as blood-pressure screenings and health seminars, and fitness activities, such as aerobics.

Monika Kalicki, director of marketing for Golf Mill, said the last Feats of Fitness event boasted high attendance and featured a doctor’s presentation on foot and ankle health, arthritis and other topics. Kalicki said the seniors actively participated in the discussion and asked several questions.

“I think it’s a great program,” Roberts said of Feats of Fitness.

In addition to the monthly Feats of Fitness programs that take place every second Wednesday of the month at Center Court, Kalicki said organizers are also starting a special giveaway program. Seniors will continue to receive breakfast and coffee as they learn new ways to stay healthy or participate in fitness activities.

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