Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Physical activity is important part of health

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 23, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 22, 2013 at 7:23 p.m.

Texas is a big state. It is the largest state in the contiguous 48. To walk across our home state would take some effort, but that is what the "Walk Across Texas" program encourages people to do.

The eight-week free program encourages Texans to come together in groups of eight to collectively walk 830 miles. Individuals can also participate and log their miles at the program's website. The program also allows participants to take part in other activities as well and count them toward walking miles. These can include bicycling, water sports, home repair and a myriad of other options listed on the program's website.

On Jan. 13, area residents had a chance to sign up to take part in this exercise program. We are glad to see Crossroads residents taking an interest in promoting physical fitness. America is facing an obesity epidemic, and our little corner of the world is not immune. Any effort that raises awareness and encourages people to take control of their physical fitness is an important step toward health and happiness for anyone willing to listen.

"Walk Across Texas" is a good start for anyone who wants to set a goal for themselves or a group of friends. While it may be difficult for an individual to walk the full 830 miles in eight weeks, a team of eight can reach it easily if every person walks 13 miles a week, which works out to almost two miles a day.

Programs such as this that promote fitness and exercise highlight to us why communities need adequate sidewalks and places for residents to walk safely. Victoria has taken some steps in recent years to add or improve sidewalks along streets during repaving or repair efforts, but there are still many areas around the city that do not have sidewalks or other facilities, such as a citywide walking trail master plan, to make this city pedestrian friendly. If we are willing to invest in making exercise more convenient and giving residents all over the city a safe place to walk, we will improve our hometown's quality of life, which will impact much more than simply making residents healthier and happier. Improving the quality of life in Victoria can build up the city's economic prosperity as well. National and international companies, such as Caterpillar, look at a city's quality of life when deciding on a new location. If Victoria wants to continue attracting successful businesses, we need to be willing to invest in our community.

Taking steps to provide safe places for pedestrians is a step in the right direction for both the city of Victoria and residents. We hope residents will take advantage of Victoria's current facilities to take control of their health and fitness. No one can make the decision to improve your health but you. Take a stand and make a life-changing commitment today, before it's too late.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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