'Walking Partnership' targets health

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
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— A handful of Capital Region organizations came together last week to announce a health initiative designed to get people walking this spring.

Local health insurer BlueShield of Northeastern New York and five of the area’s major non-profit organizations are hosting the “Healthy Walking Challenge Partnership” — a series of large-scale organized walking events to take place on a monthly basis from April through October.

Participating nonprofits include the American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation, Capital District YMCA, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and the American Heart Association.

“Living a healthier life can seem overwhelming, but all it takes is a step in the right direction to get started,” BlueShield Vice President Brian O’Grady said in a news release. “We invite the community to take that step with us at any or all of the Healthy Walking Challenge events. Through our support of these 10 walks, we reinforce our commitment to wellness and improving the health of our region.”

BlueShield’s Healthy Zone Cruiser will be stationed at each sponsored event to engage participants with soccer balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, exercise balls and music. Registered walkers will also qualify to win a Kindle Fire HD given away by BlueShield at each event

The challenge, which supports local charitable organizations, is open to the public and most events will be free. Individuals and families can participate by pre-registering online for one or all of the walks at Registration is also available at each location the day of the event or by scanning a Healthy Walking Challenge QR code with a phone.

Challenge organizers emphasized the toll heart disease has taken on the cost of health care, and reminded local residents that even half an hour of moderate physical activity — like a brisk walk at least five times a week — has significant health benefits.

Event locations and dates:

u May 11: Capital District YMCA Healthy Community Series at the Corning Preserve in Albany;

u June 16: Capital District YMCA Healthy Community Series at the Greenbush YMCA;

u July 13: Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run/Walk at Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George;

u July 20: Capital District YMCA Healthy Community Series at Collins Park in Scotia;

u Aug. 18: Capital District YMCA Healthy Community Series at the Southern Saratoga YMCA in Clifton Park;

u Sept. 21: Capital District YMCA Healthy Community Series at the Guilderland YMCA;

u Oct. 5: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at the Empire State Plaza in Albany;

u Oct. 19: American Heart Association North Country Heart Walk at the Saratoga Race Track;

u Oct. 26: Capital District YMCA Healthy Community Series at the Troy YMCA.

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