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Thousands join statewide walk

More than 297,000 Iowans took part in health initiative

October 4, 2012
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

According to the Iowa Healthiest State initiative, the Start Somewhere Walks being held across the state this week, including several in Fort Dodge, were a success.

On Wednesday, more than 297,000 Iowans walked statewide - an increase of about 6,000 from the 2011 walk, they reported.

Locally, several walks were held.

Amber Kastler, the Hy-Vee nutritionist, said the store hosted two walks: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

"We had a combined total of 25 people," she said.

Many of them had already walked on their own before joining the walk at Hy-Vee, she said.

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She sees the event as a way to a goal.

"It's another stepping stone toward having our community healthier and happier," she said.

She encounters many reasons why people skip exercise.

"It's too hot or too cold," she said.

In addition, there are the pressures of time and, of course, competition from television and computers.

"They're a big distraction," she said.

To counter some of that, she encourages families to exercise together.

"You can make it part of your lifestyle," she said.

Teresa Newman, wellness coordinator at Trinity Regional Medical Center, said that 67 walkers participated in the event at the hospital. Ten of them were new to the event.

"Most were employees, but we had visitors from the community as well," she said.

The route they took is one of two available to staff and visitors.

She said they have a half-mile route outdoors and a shorter indoor route marked for walkers inside the hospital's corridors.

the hospital encourages its employees, visitors and patients to exercise and stay healthy, she said.

It doesn't take much, either, she added.

"Thirty minutes a day is all it takes to feel better," Newman said, "You can even split that into three 10-minute segments."

Getting started on an exercise program can be the biggest obstacle.

"You can start anytime," Newman said. "Now you just have to keep that momentum going."

Kastler encourages walkers to aid in the Healthy State Initiative by reporting their efforts at



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