City of Ukiah, California

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Walktober – Small Steps, Big Changes

A recent Harvard health publication said 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, like weight lifting or muscle-toning exercises.

The study said that while there are many ways to obtain the aerobic exercise we need (e.g., swimming, dancing, biking, tennis or even housework), one of the simplest—walking—might produce some of the best results. And I can’t think of a better time to start walking than now. Not only is our autumn weather perfect, but “Walktober” is returning to Ukiah.

Walktober started as a way to promote healthy lifestyles and has become a great way to get people out and walking every day. Last year, County of Mendocino employees participated in Walktober to improve their health, and now Tarney Sheldon, a community wellness coordinator for North Coast Opportunities and, is working to bring Walktober to the broader community.

Tarney said she liked the idea so much she’s sharing Walktober locally with everyone. She is challenging businesses and community groups to participate, letting them know, “The Walktober Challenge is a great way for our entire community to get healthier. If each of us just adds an additional 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, or by going to If you sign up you’ll receive email reminders throughout the month. You can also visit to get more information, including tips on goal setting and the gear you’ll need for Walktober.

To get off to the right start, consider participating in National Walk to School Day on October 5 with your family and others in your neighborhood. Walk to School Day started almost twenty years ago and has become a national undertaking to help promote safe routes to schools. Walking (and biking) to school is also a great way to encourage our kids to live healthier lives by getting the physical activity they need.

If you’d like to know more about healthy living, the website just might have what you’re looking for. At the website, click on the Local Projects menu and you’ll find Small Steps to Big Changes. This local resources guide helps people find ideas to improve their overall health and wellness. The main categories include Move More, Eat Well, and Be Creative.

The idea is simple: provide opportunities for people to take small steps towards healthy alternatives and over time, these small steps will add up to BIG changes!

Tarney said, “Whether people decide to move more for the first time in a long time or to add more fruits and vegetables into their meals, Small Steps to Big Changes will provide ideas for where to begin.”

The guide lists health and wellness resources from all over Mendocino County—everything from Walktober and walking trails, to healthy eating workshops, fitness retreats, and dance classes.

There really is something for everyone.

Want to know where to go on a hike with the family? Or maybe where you can find a dog park or do a little disc golfing? It’s right there in the Move More section.

Interested in taking a cooking class or finding a farmer’s market for healthy organic food? It’s all right there in the Eat Well section.

We all know a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I hope this month you’ll consider taking a few steps towards better health. Not only will it help you and your family feel better, but science says you’ll get smarter along the way!

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: 

By: Chris Dewey - Chief of Police

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Safety · Professionalism · Community Service