Imagine Greater Tucson Guest Blog
By Veronica Ohl
Our region is known for its health conscious community that embraces hiking, cycling and staying fit and active. Are healthy opportunities for our children and adults readily accessible? We have the Rillito River Path, Udall and Reid Park’s running/walking tracks, Brandi Fenton Park’s Splash Pad and soccer fields, Sabino Canyon, Mt. Lemmon…one would think we have healthy living covered. But what can we do as a community to embrace these options to “Get Moving Tucson” and not only bring our youth outside but make our parks more accessible and appealing?
If being active was more accessible by creating cycle paths and safe walkways near and throughout every park and/or by building well lit larger parking lots, could we have a more active population? Maybe or maybe not but this big picture planning requires some groundwork to be laid. We can prioritize healthy living in all aspects of our community through engaging our children. A way we can impact the healthiness of our community, most notably our youth, is through the inclusion of outdoor venues coupled with active experiences in our event calendar. There are some local organizations making an effort to include Tucson parks in their active lifestyle events which is a great place to start.
Girl Scouts of Southern AZ has a Health and Wellness initiative that provides opportunities for girls to get fit in fun ways. Coming up soon is the “Thin Mint Sprint” where girls and their families are invited to race in a 5k at Brandi Fenton Park on September 29. There are often Zumba, yoga and hiking opportunities for girls ages 5-17 as well. The Grow2BFit Foundation is also making moves to incorporate healthy living into the lives of Tucsonans. They focus on educating families and children on how to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Grow2BFit hosts “Kidz Kamp” where families are invited to exercise together and learn about adopting a balanced diet. The next Kidz Kamp is September 8 at Apollo Middle School.
By fostering healthy lifestyles with our youth and their families, we are setting the stage for a future city plan geared towards an active population. Creating programs for children to get excited about the outdoors, and the healthy opportunities that affords, will lead to a generation of health conscious adults that can contribute to those big picture plans of change and accessibility throughout the greater Tucson region. What other organizations are out there paving the way for our families to get engaged within our community in a healthy way?
Original article here.