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Community challenged to make lifestyle changes

May. 29, 2010 @ 10:55 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Ninety days of baby steps could result in a giant leap forward in your health this summer.

Huntington's Health Revolution is challenging Tri-State residents to subtract a sugary drink from their diet, play a game of kickball for 30 minutes and other activities designed to create small changes that will lead to better physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being.

The Health Revolution was born out of a grassroots effort of concerned citizens, professionals and community leaders in the wake of the Jamie Oliver "Food Revolution" television series and other news coverage about the area's poor health habits.

"The idea behind these suggestions is small steps," said Yvonne Jones, director of Ebenezer Medical Outreach, which is the sponsoring organization behind the Health Revolution. "If you think about changing and you have a lot to do, it can be overwhelming. We just want people to start doing something."

The 90-day challenge begins this week. To participate, you are asked to fill out a pledge card, which is printed in The Herald-Dispatch, and drop it off at The Herald-Dispatch, 945 5th Ave.; Ebenezer Medical Outreach, 1448 10th Ave.; the Marshall University Rec Center; Schlotzsky's on Fourth Avenue; University Physicians and Surgeons, 1600 Medical Center Drive; or, First Baptist Church, 1120 Poplar St., Kenova.

You can also visit http://www.herald-dispatch.com/specialsections/healthrevolution to sign up electronically. Once a pledge card is dropped off, participants will receive a wristband imprinted with "90-day Challenge." The challenge's action steps officially begin the week of June 7 and conclude on Aug. 28.

"The first week is just about getting the word out, recruiting people, passing it on," said Pastor Steve Willis. "It's not just about you. Reach out and help your neighbor as well."

The next 13 weeks are all about making small changes and building on them; for example, the first week's diet tip is to subtract one sugary drink and add a glass of water each day. In exercise, participants are challenged to walk 30 minutes each day; and, for spiritual well-being, the Health Revolution team is encouraging you to take five minutes each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply and pray if you choose. Every week, new tips are introduced. Jones said the goal isn't to stop the changes you make in week one to perform the changes in week two and beyond, but to add the new tips as you progress.

"Do what you can do. You can join the 90-day challenge at any point," she said. "We just want people to do it. It's not too late. It's about making some kind of change, not necessarily following the tips to the letter of the law."

Willis said even if the first thing a participant is able to do is participate in the seven-mile walk that is planned at the program's conclusion in August, that's a start.

"This is about improving the overall health -- the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health -- of the Tri-State," he said. "Start with us at the beginning or anywhere along the process. If you have to, do the first week of tips for the entire 12 weeks. It's all about making a gradual change in your lifestyle."

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