Today, October 4, is National Walk-to-School Day. It began as a one-time event to promote safe routes to schools, but during the past 20 years it has grown to include thousands of people in all 50 states. Part of the reason it gained so much momentum is because people realized that walking and biking to school are great ways for kids to get the physical activity they need to live healthier lives.
And kids aren’t the only ones who should be walking!
A recent Harvard health study says that aerobic exercise is a fantastic way to boost our brain’s ability to learn and remember. In fact, aerobic exercise—getting your heart and sweat glands pumping—is significantly more important for brain health than other types of training. Not surprisingly, one of the simplest forms of exercise, walking, seems to produce some of the best results!
To help you start walking, I’ve collected some of the best walking opportunities Ukiah has to offer.
First, this Friday, October 6 between 5:00 and 7:00 PM, a group of committed walkers will host a rail trail celebration to highlight and promote our fantastic walking trail located right in the heart of Ukiah. This celebration will include community groups, art displays, and even some music, all to entice new walkers to discover the rail trail walking path. The Ukiah train station will act as a hub for everyone, and activities will be spread out along the trail.
Next, I want to make sure you know that Ukiah City Councilmember Maureen “Mo” Mulheren hosts a monthly Saturday morning community walk along the rail trail starting at 10:00 AM. These walks are designed to get people out and walking, all while having some fun! Mo says that people sometimes show up dressed in costumes. “A mini parade, if you will,” Mo said, and the people who participate can win Downtown Dollars for being the best dressed.
To help get everyone organized and informed about activities along the trail, Mo started the Ukiah Rail Trail Community Facebook group page at www.facebook.com/groups/ukiahrailtrail. Here, you can find the latest information, and if you click on their events tab, you’ll find an up-to-date schedule.
Another walking activity to consider is “Walktober.” Spearheaded by Community Wellness Coordinator Tarney Shelden of North Coast Opportunities, the Walktober Challenge encourages people to walk (instead of drive) when possible during the month of October. The Healthy Mendocino website says, “October is the perfect month to get outside, join up with co-workers, friends, and family, and go for a walk–and walking is the ideal way to be active. It’s available for all ages and abilities, whether you are young or old, fast or slow, and even if you roll!”
Tarney says, “The Walktober Challenge is a great way for our entire community to get healthier. If each of us just adds 10 to 20 minutes of walking each day, we will see fantastic results.”
Participating is easy. People and organizations can sign up to participate by joining the Healthy Mendocino Facebook page event called “Walktober Challenge in Mendo County.” Or, visit www.healthymendocino.org/walktober to get more information, including tips on goal-setting and the gear you’ll need to participate.
A few months ago, Prevention Magazine published a story by Megan Rabbitt about the incredible results a person can obtain by walking as little as 30 minutes a day. Rabbitt said that walking is much like “that proverbial apple: there’s a good chance it’ll keep the doctor away.” You know, I think she’s right.
Walking is really good for our health, and even our minds.
Rabbitt says that walking improves our moods, helps us get our creative juices flowing, makes our jeans a little looser, slashes our risk for chronic diseases, keeps our legs looking good, and even pushes us toward reaching higher goals.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.