Beckley may have topped the list for the state’s laziest city this year, but there are steps to take to make sure the city improves its reputation next year.
Active Southern West Virginia offers free exercise programs that area leaders hope will attract residents to healthy lifestyle changes. ASWV director Melanie Seiler said the organization, which is sponsored by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, recruits community leaders in Raleigh, Fayette, Summers and Nicholas counties.
Those leaders are trained and then begin weekly scheduled programming in their communities. Seiler said 19 community captains are heading up activities like walking, running and hiking groups and Zumba classes.
Captains are concentrated in Raleigh and Fayette counties; Seiler said Active Southern West Virginia is seeking community captains in Summers and Nicholas counties.
In addition to weekly classes, Seiler said Active Southern West Virginia holds special events, particularly in school, hoping to promote the development of healthy lifestyle habits early in life.
Seiler said five training teams had taken root in 2015 and she’s working on the schedule for next year’s teams. She’s also planning a family-friendly triathlon at Summersville Lake to be held in conjunction with the lake’s 50th anniversary. And for Bridge Day, Seiler is planning a 5k run across the New River Gorge Bridge.
“We need to be honest with ourselves that our culture is not one of an active lifestyle,” Seiler said, but continued that 64 percent of the city’s residents are active. “We do have people who demonstrate a healthy lifestyle.”
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