HEALTH: Step in the right direction: Polk County residents encouraged to bike or walk to work during the weekPromoters of Bike Walk Week in Minnesota’s Polk County hope that it will be the first step to better health and fitness. During the week, which runs Monday through Sunday, Minnesota residents are encouraged to bike or walk to work. The event, which has been held in the Twin Cities for the past several years, has been expanded to Polk County through the efforts of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Promoters of Bike Walk Week in Minnesota’s Polk County hope that it will be the first step to better health and fitness.
During the week, which runs Monday through Sunday, Minnesota residents are encouraged to bike or walk to work. The event, which has been held in the Twin Cities for the past several years, has been expanded to Polk County through the efforts of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Besides being good for the environment, biking and walking to work has good health benefits, said Sarah Reese, Statewide Health and Improvement coordinator, Polk County Public Health. The goal of the SHIP program is to help Minnesota residents live longer, healthier lives by preventing the leading causes of chronic disease which include obesity.
According to SHIP, nearly two-thirds of adult Minnesotans are overweight or obese and the number of children who are overweight or obese is increasing. Meanwhile, only slightly more than half of the state’s residents get at least a moderate level of exercise, SHIP said.
The Bike Walk Week ties in with the concept of “making the healthy choice, the easy choice,” Reese said. “From a public health standpoint, we want to support environments that promote being active instead of sedentary,” she said.
Regular exercise, including walking and biking, has several health benefits, including increasing energy and endurance, building strong muscles and joints and reducing, stress, anxiety and depression, Reese said.
During Bike Walk Week, East Grand Forks and Crookston will hold events to encourage people to start pedaling and/or getting on their walking shoes.
East Grand Forks
In East Grand Forks, Rack Attack will be held Monday through Friday. At various times throughout the week, coupons and prizes will be left on bikes that are in community bike racks. Bike racks are placed throughout East Grand Forks at a variety of locations including the public library, ballparks and the Blue Moose restaurant.
On Tuesday and Thursday, which are Bike or Walk to the Swimming Pool Days, people who bike or walk to the East Grand Forks swimming pool will receive free pool passes for a future swim, Reese said.
East Grand Forks residents also are encouraged to bike to work on Thursday, which is Minnesota Bike to Work Day. If they are unable to bike to work, they are encouraged to go for a bike ride or for a walk during their lunch hours, Reese said.
In Crookston, residents and visitors are encouraged to stop by the Chamber of Commerce Monday through Friday and register for prizes that include a walking membership at the Crookston Sports Center and coupons for the Farmers Market.
Residents also can participate in Walk Polk County, which runs through July 15. During Walk Polk County, people who participate in activities such as gardening, walking, swimming or biking, can self-report their progress and become eligible for cash prizes, Reese said.
Responses to the worksite wellness and Bike Walk Week information that organizers sent East Grand Forks and Crookston businesses have been positive, Reese said
“I have heard a lot of good comments… I think people will participate and being biking and walking is kind of a direction communities are at least looking at and kind of promoting, I think it will be a good step in the right direction.”
Reach Bailey at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send email to email@example.com.