Because of West Virginia's high ranking for obesity and the related health issues this condition causes for residents, the River City Runners and Walkers Club's annual running and walking clinic is a breath of fresh air.
The clinic, now in its 26th year for beginning runners and its sixth for walkers, began Tuesday at the City Park Pavilion. The clinics will continue for 10 weeks with the goal of participants taking part in a 5K race at the conclusion. The program aims to do this by getting beginners working their way to a goal, Melissa Wigal, director of the clinic, said.
There is no doubt participating in this 10-week program would benefit citizens. In a recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institution, Wood County ranked 32nd in the state for overall health. While the study looked at what it called "health factors" - family income, the availability of dentists, doctors and other social and economic factors that affect a person's health, it also found a high number of people with unhealthy habits, such as smoking.
Whether or not a person wishes to compete in a race, getting out to walk or run can be a life-changing experience. Both are life-sports that don't necessarily cost a lot of money - but can bring a world of benefit.
The great thing about the club's clinics is they work to instill the habits that will help participants continue even after the 10- week-clinics end. However, whether or not you wish to participate in the remaining clinics, we urge residents to get out and take a walk - for your health's sake.