HONESDALE — Who says you can’t stretch your legs in winter?

From now until May 23rd, area schools are open after hours for walkers.

The buildings are heated, secure and well-lit.

For more than a decade, Wayne Memorial Hospital has partnered with local school districts to offer an indoor exercise option during the coldest months of the year.

More than 200 people have signed up for the program this year.

The following schools are open every day the schools are in session from 6p – 8p Monday through Thursday:

• Damascus Elementary School

•EverGreen Elementary School

•Forest City Regional School

•Lakeside Elementary School

•Preston Elementary School

• R.D. Wilson Elementary Schoo

•Wallenpaupack – Newfoundland

•Wallenpaupack High School

•Western Wayne Middle/High School

For security reasons, walkers must be registered and log in/log out at each school for each visit. Logbooks are kept near entryways or school offices.

To register, call Wayne Memorial Hospital’s Community Health office at (570) 253-8990.

There is a one-time $5 fee for badge processing and mailings.

Each year, returning participants will receive a sticker— such as ‘19’—to place on their badge.

“The health benefits of walking are measurable and well-known,” says Carol Kneier,MS, RD, LDN, CDE, co-organizer and manager of Wayne Memorial’s Community Health Department.

“To name a few, walking has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, improve bone strength and balance, and, especially important during the long dark days of winter, walking can help improve your mood!”

Registration also asks participants to fill out a waiver and questionnaire that asks them about topics they would like to hear more about.

For more information, visit www.wmh.org.