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City Walk offers quick gym alternative

Making it to the gym or park to exercise may not always fit into a busy schedule. But, walking 15 minutes at lunch each day is a simple way to get back in shape.

To make exercising at lunch breaks easier, Vaughan Community Health Services will mark a downtown loop, called City Walk, for walkers to use.

“There’s no more excuses,” said Karen Morris, community health educator with Vaughan Community Health Services. “You’ve got to get out there and get those legs moving.”

The path will start outside the Selma-Dallas County Library and span a block from Broad Street and Dallas Avenue, around to Washington Street, to Selma Avenue and back to Broad Street.

Twice around this loop is one mile.

The path is part of several projects funded from a grant from Alabama Strategic Alliance for Health Program through the Center for Disease Control and Health Prevention and is part of a national initiative called Building a Healthier Nation.

“This grant is about getting Selma and Dallas County fit,” Morris said.

All 21 Alabama counties will receive $3.9 million over a five-year period to use for local projects that will combat obesity and inform about prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The path is one of several projects planned for Dallas County.

“We are trying to encourage people, whether you live here in Selma or Dallas County, or whether you are here as a visitor, to be more active,” said Stacey Adams, community coordinator for the grant with the Alabama Department of Public Health. “When people cross the bridge coming into Selma, they’ll see that this really is a walkable community.”

The signs will be erected by the end of this week, prior to the kick-off of National Library Week. This year’s theme is “Communities thrive at your library.” Daily library events will encourage growing organic foods, maintaining a healthy body and serving correct portions at mealtimes.

“City Walk fits into that week because it is going to be an effort to get the people of our community to recognize the importance of walking and exercise, and the efficiency of using your 15 minutes at lunch hour, or whenever, downtown to walk the blocks,” said Library Director Becky Nichols.

She finds this walking path to be a great idea for exercising.

“I like to know if I have walked from here to here, I have walked two miles, rather than just aimless walking,” Nichols said. “The City Walk signs will tell you it’s this far around City Hall, it’s this far to something else.”

Morris would also like to create designated walking paths like the downtown loop in each ward, but this is still in the brainstorming stage.