Gainesville residents get up and 'Go'

Published: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 10:09 p.m.
More than 70 people representing some 37 businesses and 29 schools turned out last week to kick off "Gainesville on the Go," the next phase in the city of Gainesville's quest to remain the "Healthiest Community in America."
At the ceremonial walk from the Chamber of Commerce building to the Hippodrome State Theatre and back to Gainesville City Hall, businesses, schools and individuals pledged together to walk enough miles by March 31 to travel around the world.
That's 24,901.55 miles - give or take a few feet.
The program's goal is to increase physical activity levels in the Gainesville community and help stop the weight gain in the country and the many health complications that result from being overweight.
"Gainesville on the Go" is a community-wide walking initiative to continue the promotion of health and wellness in the community.
All participating groups wear pedometers, provided by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, to help track their steps each day.
All steps are then calculated monthly and turned in by project leaders to Debbie Lee, Well City steering committee co-chair and marketing director for Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers.
The initiative came about after the city of Gainesville was the first to receive the Gold City Award by the American Council on Fitness, making it the "Healthiest Community in America."
"We selected walking because this is a form of exercise that most people can participate in," said Lee.
"Our goal is to have everyone in the community motivated about becoming more healthy and to start walking."
The steering committee set out to enlist 25 organizations and businesses for the program and was pleasantly surprised with the response.
"The idea was spread by word-of-mouth, and it's popularity was due to the fact that it is simple to do by just about anyone," said Sheila McGrady, spokeswoman for the program.
Sponsors of the event include Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, and Shands Healthcare.
Individuals or groups who wish to join the program can call Lee at 377-4955.

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