It’s no secret that Americans need to be physically active. In fact, eating healthy and moving more are important in preventing heart disease and stroke — two of the nation’s top killers. Just thirty minutes a day, five times a week can help you lower your risk for disease and improve your overall cardiovascular health. Just thirty minutes. Think of all the things you do in a day and if you can fit in thirty minutes. This could be when you first wake up, on your lunch break, when you get home, fifteen minutes at lunch and fifteen minutes in the evening, any time you may have a moment to exercise, take advantage of it! If you have kids, help them be active too. They want you to play catch with them instead? Tell them how important it is for you to walk first, they can ride their bike or walk with you, and then you can both play catch! It’s important to instill an active lifestyle in children while they are young in hopes they carry it into adulthood.
I recently attended a workshop called Move More, Walk Now, in Cary. The workshop focused on the walkability of communities and how to make communities more active friendly. There are a few places in Sampson County that are active friendly; but as a whole, our rural community is lacking when it comes to promoting physical activity on our streets. We have few sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes which all contribute to the “walkability” of our community. When exercising outdoors, it’s important that you feel safe, and a large part of that safety is the environment in which you are exercising.
I remember driving along Highway 24 one day and a young woman was running on the side of the road between Turkey and Warsaw where the area was 55 mph. She should be commended, not criticized, for taking advantage of the beautiful day and being physically active. Sampson county’s obesity rate is higher than the state average. This is for adults and children. We must find a way to make physical activity attractive, comfortable, and friendly.
If you are interested in being more physically active around the community, there are walking trails throughout Sampson. I have included a list of trails that your family can enjoy. If you would like to know more about how you can be active in our community, feel free to contact NC Cooperative Extension. If you are passionate about increasing the walkability of your area, advocate for a sidewalk or bike lane near you! You can also visit MoveMoreWalkNowNC.com to find tips, guides, and challenges to motivate you to Move More.
Walking Trail Locations:
1. Harrells Park: 45 Park Ave. (Behind Head Start) (1/4 mile dirt/gravel track)
2. Garland Park: 7th St. & N. Church St. (1/4 mile dirt track)
3. Roseboro/Salemburg Middle School: 305 W. Pleasant St., Roseboro (1/4 mile paved track)
4. Western District Park: 700 W. Clinton St. (1/2 mile paved track)
5. Autryville Town Hall: 215 S. Gray St. (1/3 mile paved track)
6. Coharie Tribal Center: 7351 N. Hwy. 421 (1 mile dirt trail)
7. Mingo Senior Center: 1358 Mingo Church Rd. (1/4 mile grass trail)
8. Weeks Park: 517 Clinton St., Newton Grove (1/4 mile dirt/gravel track)
9. Royal Lane Park: 618 Royal Ln., Clinton (1/4 mile paved track; 1/4 mile nature path; 1/2 mile mulch fitness trail)
Sydney Johnson is an Area Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. She can be reached by calling the Sampson County Center at 910-592-7161.