For Immediate Release

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Richard J. McIntire
NPJ Advertising & Public Relations, Inc.
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(202) 338-4200

'Couch to 5K' Pace Quickens with Encouragement from Clergy

Campaign Aims to Increase Fitness of Southern Marylanders, Benefit Local Cause

To the Editor:

It's proven that regular physical activity is good for everyone's health. And people of all ages and body types can be physically active.

Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone and heart health, type 2-diabetes, and some types of cancer. In older adults, being physically active can lower the risk of falls and improve learning and judgment skills.

As I look back on my lifetime and practice in Calvert, it got me thinking and I did some research.

A 2013 summary of county health outcomes and health factors conducted by the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin ranks Calvert County sixth statewide. Calvert has the highest incidences of cancer in Southern Maryland, according to 2013 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.  Roughly 30 percent of our residents are obese and more than 9.5 percent are diabetic – ahead of the state averages in those categories based on 2008 Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene figures.

I know we can do way better. So, last fall, my team and I kicked off the yearlong health and wellness Ready, Set, Exercise Calvert! Couch to 5K Campaign, with the goal of making Calvert County the healthiest county in the state (ultimately the nation). The Couch to 5K Campaign will benefit Project ECHO, a local nonprofit organization, and starts with citizens signing up, taking continual, measured steps toward fitness, building toward participation in Project ECHO's Turkey Trot Thanksgiving Day 5K Walk-Run coming this fall.

May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month ~ a great time to spread the word about the benefits of being active while thoroughly enjoying Calvert's nearly 2,300 acres of open space, rolling landscape, well equipped parks, waterfront and in-land trails that provide ample opportunities to improve health and activity.

Our effort goes in hand with the United Way of Calvert County's bold, 10-year goal to increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoiding risky behaviors by 2018. Calvert Canis a countywide health initiative led by Calvert Memorial Hospital in partnership with local agencies, providing free and low-cost fitness and nutrition programs to populations most at risk.

Heading off life-altering medical conditions is possible. So come on Calvert! Join us, Southern Maryland. As we strive to make ourselves and each other the healthiest in the state and nation. We can do this -- one step, one move at a time.

Kirk Conway, DPT
Huntingtown, MD

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