YMCA pushes healthier lifestyles

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 21, 2007

FRANKLIN—Beginning Saturday, the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA will take part in a nationwide event to promote healthy activities.

YMCAs across the country are partnering with the America On The Move Foundation for a weeklong event.

&uot;The James L. Camp Jr. YMCA will join about 1,400 YMCAs nationwide in encouraging members of our communities to take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle,&uot; said local YMCA Associate Executive Director Kathy Roberts.

&uot;The YMCA invites all members of our community to participate in America On The Move Week Sept. 22-29.&uot;

According to the AOM Foundation, the message is &uot;to move more and eat healthfully by making two small daily changes — take 2,000 more steps, the equivalent of one mile, and eat 100 fewer calories.&uot; The overall goal is to inspire 10 million people to take 10 billion steps total the week of the event.

This is the second year promoting the initiative, and the second year the local Y has participated.

&uot;During last year’s America On The Move Week with the YMCA, more than 1,100 YMCAs collectively inspired 850,000 people to embrace the small steps movement and take the equivalent of 9.3 billion steps,&uot; said Roberts. &uot;That’s like circling the earth 187 times, walking between New York City and Los Angeles 1,860 times or completing 177,481 marathons.

According to Roberts, the AOM Foundation is national non-profit initiative with the aim of improving the quality of life for individuals, families, communities and society.

&uot;The Web site has fun, interactive tools for adults and kids to set goals, and track physical activity and healthful eating progress,&uot; she said.

&uot;More specifically, AOM research shows that achieving energy balance is an effective approach to healthy weight management. Adding just 2,000 extra steps and eating 100 fewer calories each day are enough to help most Americans prevent the current average annual weight gain of 1 to 2 pounds.&uot;

She said, &uot;Small, consistent changes to daily physical activity and eating patterns can add up to big rewards over time, including an improved level of health and quality of life.&uot;

Roberts said that many people she knows tend to fall in the middle of a scale between sick and well.

&uot;They’re not really sick, but they’re not well, either,&uot; she said. &uot;Until something happens— usually something negative—to drive them, they think they’re fine just where they are.

&uot;Instead of being proactive and preventing (negative health issues), they react to whatever has occurred.&uot;

In a time where obesity rates have risen and more hypertension in children has been found, Roberts said it is more important than ever to establish good exercising and eating habits.

Participants can track their progress manually with a Quick Start Guide that includes a conversion chart to total the steps taken. The guides may be picked up at the local YMCA free of charge.

If 13 or older, steps can be reported by going online to www.ymca.net. Click on America On The Move Week icon and register with the YMCA group. The group code is 6709. Steps will be automatically tracked and totals for the Y will be compiled. Both manual and automatic tracking information should be in by Oct. 1.

While all people are encouraged to participate, the YMCA is offering a free T-shirt to Y members as a special incentive. For more information, contact Roberts, 562-3491.