Walk Across Tennessee is making steps
Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your health, yet nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting the activity they need. Consider taking up walking with friends, family or co-workers by participating in Walk Across Tennessee, which is a six-week program that will spark some friendly competitions in Sevier County.
Teams of six competed to see who could log the most miles walking or jogging in the community. The entire event was free. The kickoff for Sevier County was March 20 at the Sevierville Community Center.
“Teams will keep track of their miles, which will be posted on New Center School’s website: www.nc.sevier.org,” said Robert Brasington.
Brasington is one of the events organizers and officials said that public response to Walk Across Tennessee has grown and there will be a significant increase in participants from last year.
“This year we have 61 teams that will participate,” Brasington stated. “That adds up to over 500 people. Last year we only had 50 teams
Dr. Nancy Sims with the New Center School is helping to coordinate the effort to encourage school-age children to participate by forming teams within each school and incorporations fun learning activities as the children progress from Memphis to Bristol. Points of interest will be used to incorporate social studies, geography and mathematics, to name a few.
“We want to make this event fun for the students and allow them to be more active during the school day,” stated Dr. Sims. “It’s important that children have an opportunity to benefit from some sort of physical activity everyday.”
Students from Seymour Middle School, North View Middle and Sevierville Intermediate are scheduled to participate in the walk.
“Sometimes they get competitive,” Brasington joked. “Seymour got a group together and they want to beat Northview and Sevierville Intermediate wants to beat both of them, but it’s all in fun and for a good cause.”
With the rising rate of childhood obesity in the United States, It’s important to incorporate physical activity and a healthy diet to prevent children from the early onset of adult diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Many people are unaware of the positive benefits of physical activity. According to the American Heart Association. heart disease is the No. 1 health problem in the United States. The risk of heart disease could be significantly reduced by regular activity.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the positive effects of physical activity are not just limited to lowering the risk of heart disease.
Not only does regular exercise help relieve stress and anxiety, “physically active people outlive inactive people. Participating in Walk Across Tennessee is not only a great way to get involved with our community, it’s a healthy habit,” Linda Hyder stated.
To participate in Walk Across Tennessee, participants first got a team of six together (walkers or joggers), chose a team captain and named their teams. They then registered at the Sevier County Agricultural Extension Office, local Nike Factory Stores, Pigeon Forge community Center, Gatlinburg Community Center or the Sevierville Community Center.
“The event kicked off at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 20 at the Sevierville Community Center,” Hyder said. “Everyone came out and had lots of fun.”
At the opening ceremonies, Beth Penland, of the Sevierville Community Center, provided health care professionals to measure physical fitness in several categories.
Areas measured included resting heart rate, blood pressure, body fat and others. Participants were able to keep measurements made that day and compare them to measurements taken during the walks. There was charge for the health checks.
While many teams get competitive and try to out-walk each other, the overall goal is an improvement in physical fitness.
“Competition is good, improved physical fitness is better,” stated Robert Brasington.
For more information, call Brasington at 428-8752 or Hyder at 774-3764.
Walk Across Tennessee results for the entire six-week long event will be posted on the website www.nc.sevier.org.
The event was sponsored by Baptist Home Care, Ft. Sanders Sevier Medical Center, Housecall Home Healthcare, Nike Factory Stores, NAPA of Sevierville and the Sevier County Health Improvement Council.