April 16, 2004 | By: Aimee D. Heald
LEXINGTON, Ky.

Beginning with a 1.5-mile walk in downtown Lexington April 17 led by University of Kentucky Basketball Coach Tubby Smith, Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac and WKYT-27 News Anchor Barbara Bailey, central Kentuckians have an opportunity to start an eight-week program that could improve their health and change the way they look at physical activity.

Get Moving Fayette County is part of a statewide effort called “Get Moving Kentucky,” a project sponsored by UK Cooperative Extension’s Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) program. Every county in the Commonwealth will be launching local programs and events to support the goals of the project.

“According to a recent study released by the Centers for Disease control, about half of the deaths in the United States can be attributed to preventable behaviors,” said Diana Doggett, UK Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Fayette County. “Preventable deaths due to poor diet and physical inactivity have greatly increased in the last decade, reaching a high of 400,000, or 17 percent of all deaths, last year. One of the things Kentucky is actually in last place in the United States is physical activity and what Kentuckians need to understand is that obesity and inactivity are literally killing us.”

Doggett said that in the past many health educators dealt with the problem of inactivity by “nagging” Kentuckians to exercise.

“Today we send a new message for Kentuckians to simply get active in their lives,” she continued. “Exercise is good for so many things from reducing the risk of heart disease, controlling diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure levels to boosting energy levels and managing stress. Study after study has shown that exercise can not only save our lives in the long run, but it can improve the quality as well.”

On Saturday, April 17 free registration begins in downtown Lexington’s Phoenix Park at 9 a.m. The first 500 participants will receive a free t-shirt. Health, nutrition and wellness exhibits will be set up for participants to get information for a wide range of topics. The 1.5-mile walk will begin at 10 a.m. Participants will also learn where to go in Fayette County to participate in other activities during the 8-week program. Registration will continue through April 24 on Fayette County Cooperative Extension Office’s Web site.

Participants will be asked to record their physical activity miles (PAM) either online or on a printed version of a Health Activity Tracker. For every 15 minutes of continuous activity, participants earn one PAM. The goal for the 8-week program is 128 PAMs. Special recognition will be given to participants in each district with the most recorded activity.

“Participants can do it anyway they want – washing the car, mowing the lawn, vacuuming the home, swimming, hiking, whatever,” Doggett said. “We’re interested in the results. We’re hoping that at the end of the 8-weeks people will have actually developed an activity habit.”

Barbara Bailey, who will be one of the 1.5-mile walk leaders, said it really is very important to encourage people and families to get more exercise.

“Finding time to fit in any kind of exercise can be a real challenge,” she said. “Both of my children love sports and are very active. A lot of times they pull me off the couch. We like to do things we can enjoy as a family and we have a good time. The whole point is to make it fun and make it fit in your lifestyle and also share it with your family. No one can argue with the benefits, both physical and mental, as you get up and get moving.“ 

Bailey added that, with this program, she believes people will discover some new forms of exercise they really enjoy and that take the work out of exercise and make it fun. 

“With our busy schedules, unless we make a concerted effort to add exercise to the day, unless we make health awareness a real priority in our lives, it won’t get done,” she said.

Get Moving Fayette County is a collaborative effort of the Cooperative Extension Service, Lexington Fayette County Urban Government Mayor’s office, YMCA, Lexington Health Department and Central Baptist Hospital. For more information about Get Moving Fayette County, call the Fayette County Cooperative Extension office at (859) 257-5582. For programs in other areas of Kentucky, contact your local county Extension office.

Contact: 

Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext.267
Source: Diana Doggett 859-257-5582