February 20, 2013
A new walking challenge sponsored by the Piedmont Community Health Coalition will help local residents get on the path to fitness. The Piedmont Out Walking program (POW!), which runs from March 1 through June 1, is a free team-walking challenge designed to inspire and support community-wide fitness.
“There’s plenty of evidence showing that exercising with others has longer-term benefits than exercising by oneself,” said Piedmont Health District Director Alexander Samuel, MD, MPH. “The POW! program offers a friendly team-based competition that helps participants improve physical fitness and develop healthy lifestyles while socializing and having fun.”
All participants receive pedometers and walking logs at the beginning of the program. Teams that walk the most are eligible to win several prizes, including an eight-week membership to the Southside YMCA in Farmville. Winning POW! teams will be recognized at the High Bridge Trail Challenge, a community-wide health and wellness fair scheduled for June 8.
Team size can range from four to eight people. Church groups, businesses, community groups, schools, families or even a group of friends can form a team.. Individuals can also join an existing team in their area
POW! program participants will be offered classes each month from March through May covering topics such as improving physical fitness, the basics of a healthy diet and how to stay motivated to complete a physical fitness plan. Classes will be offered in several locations in Buckingham, Prince Edward, and Nottoway counties. Included in the classes are a pre-and post-program body profile assessment.
“Walking is a great weight management tool and way to stay strong and fit,” said Dr. Samuel. “Researchers have linked walking to a reduction in the risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.”
Walking has also been shown to lower blood pressure and lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, known as the “bad” cholesterol, while raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol. Mental benefits can be seen almost immediately through an improvement in mood and mental capacity, stress relief and an increase in energy.
The POW! program starts on March 1, so sign up soon. To enroll, simply gather a team, fill out an application, and mail it to the address on the application form. Applications are available online at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/LHD/Piedmont/index.htm. Applications and more information are also available by contacting Justine Young at (434) 414-3036.