Most everyone wants to live healthy. Yet, most of us are having trouble getting there.
Most of us are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, opting instead for sugar laced concoctions and processed foods. Most are not getting enough activity in our days. The CDC reports fewer than one in five adults gets the recommended physical activity of 2 ½ hours per week. Many people still smoke, though numbers have declined in recent years. Most of us aren’t even getting regular exams at the doctors’ office. Overall in fact, a new study reveals fewer than three percent of us lead an overall healthy life.
Physical activity… simply getting up and getting moving… is among our biggest challenges as individuals and as a society.
If this story sounds old to you, it’s because the social forces that created the problem have been decades in the making. We lead busy lives. And our world today makes it incredibly easy to remain inactive. But, that’s no reason to throw up our hands and give up. There are many reasons for hope. And plenty of room for positive change.
So, instead of giving up, let’s double down. Let’s find out more about why and find out more about how. And let’s work together to change that tired old story. The really good news is most people want to make positive changes and live healthier!
This year at Southwest Health, our own employees are focusing on getting more active. We challenged each of our 500+ employees to go further—to be more active—than they were last year. The results aren’t in yet, but the positive signs are everywhere, and the positive reports coming in are really encouraging.
There are great things happening all around our communities, too!
- The Platteville Community Arboretum raised nearly $1.5 million for their trail enhancement project, and they’re now making profound improvements to local trails that will enable many more to get outside and get moving.
- Platteville Human Powered Trails is another local group who is building and maintaining trails and doing great work encouraging people to use them. They’re also the group of volunteers bringing the bike obstacle course to our Berry Fest each year.
- Our local school system has partnered with the Main Street Program and others to create Safe Routes to Schools, helping kids hardwire safe activity into their daily routines.
- UNITE for Health is a local community partnership that includes the City of Platteville, the Platteville Regional Chamber, Southwest Health, the Grant County Health Department, SW Regional Planning, and community volunteers. They just kicked off their second annual 100 Miles in 100 Days Community Walking Challenge. They also represent a great way for anyone to get involved in helping create a healthier community. Their next meeting is Friday, May 20, at 11 am at Southwest Health. Contact Jaime Collins at Southwest Health for information.
- Lots of area groups are offering healthy walking or running events to help us get moving, too. Find a list of many of them here.
Additionally, the National Physical Activity Alliance (American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention among others) has a national plan to get us moving. There may be parts of that plan we can bring to southwest Wisconsin.
None of these things are easy. But, the stakes are high. And the consequences of generations of us not moving are also very high, indeed.
So, in addition to getting moving, consider getting signed up or getting involved in one of the events or movements above. In doing so, you’re joining forces with like-minded people and perhaps making important friendships along the way. Friendships that will inspire you to live healthier, so you may, in turn, inspire others.