Event urges healthy lifestyle

Published 12:28 am Sunday, November 9, 2008

NATCHEZ — On Saturday morning close to 100 Natchez residents decided not to sleep in — instead they went walkin’.

Saturday’s event, officially titled Let’s go Walkin’ was meant to inspire Mississippians, and Natchez residents, to promote habits that develop healthy lifestyles.

And when Natchez residents set out on their walk Saturday, they weren’t alone.

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Fifty other cities across Mississippi simultaneously participated in the walking event.

And Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton met walkers at the gazebo on the bluff for a pre-walk pep talk.

Middleton spoke briefly to the crowd on the benefits of walking, and how his personal walking routine has improved his life and health.

Middleton said in Mississippi approximately 50 percent of the state’s healthcare costs come from issues stemming from obesity.

“It’s very important that we exercise and keep our weight down,” Middleton told the crowd.

And while Middleton said the need for exercise is important for everyone, it’s especially important for Mississippians.

Middleton said Mississippi ranks highest among the most obese states and has some of the highest numbers of diabetics in the country.

With that, the crowd took off on their one-mile walk through downtown.

Walker Rosemary Hall, like others, said she sees a need for regular exercise but doesn’t always find the time for it.

“And we have such a great place to walk,” Hall said motioning to the downtown area. “It’s beautiful.”

Like Hall, walker Dr. Keith Schwager, a local physician, said he often can’t find the time for exercise, but he recognizes the need.

Schwager said he’d often start an exercise routine for a few months then quit.

“It’s hard to get into the habit,” Schwager said. “Hopefully I can get back into it.”