Program poised to be entry to a fitter world

Striding toward health
By: Michelle Miller-Carl Journal News Editor
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Want to go to a place where your heart is healthier, your diet more nutritious and your family happier? You can … but you’ll need a passport first. Auburn Recreation District is embarking on a new program called Passport to Better Health. The program gives members and families who purchase a passport access to organized hikes, trails, classes and discounts. Passport to Better Health will kick off with a free 5K family walk at 10 a.m. Saturday during the Auburn Outdoor Expo at the School Park Preserve. “Because we have an aging population in Auburn, we needed something that would work for the whole family, especially the 50-plus set, so it seemed hiking and walking was natural,” said Sheryl Petersen, ARD recreation services manager. With plenty of local organizations with ties to hiking, Passport to Better Health pools the resources of ARD with three groups: Canyon Keepers, Protect American River Canyons (PARC), and the Placer Pacers. The first 50 people who purchase passports for $15 at the hike this weekend will receive a Humana T-shirt, an American River Canyon Hikes book and a local trails map. The passport is your ticket to health, with an 18-month daily exercise diary, Web access to listings of local hiking and sports activities, and even discounts at healthy-lifestyle businesses. “The sponsors are business people in the community who’ve decided they want to support this kind of effort and attract people to their business who might want to buy tennis shoes, or other things that support healthy activities,” Petersen said. Jim Ferris, a Passport to Better Health steering committee member and ARD board director, said the program satisfies one of the goals he set when campaigning for the board. “I wanted to get more organizations in the community working together and put together activities for seniors since our population here is aging,” he said. “I believe in promoting health and nutrition and have been involved in that all my life.” Organizers are laying out the “Heart Healthy Hiking” component of the program this weekend, but more is to come. Other aspects of the program will focus on “Diet and Nutrition for Optimal Health” and “Healthy Family Lifestyles.” Ferris is looking for volunteers to help with these topics and make Auburn a healthier place for its residents. “It is a win-win for the individual from the standpoint of promoting your own health,” Ferris said. The Journal’s Michelle Miller-Carl can be reached at -------------------------------------------- Want to get your passport? • Join the free hike at the Auburn Outdoor Expo 10 a.m. Saturday at the School Park Preserve, on College Lane, between Auburn Folsom Road and High Street. Visit the ARD booth across from the Expo entrance. • Visit the ARD offices at Recreation Park, 123 Recreation Drive in Auburn. • Passports cost $15 for an individual and $25 for a family of four. • Want to be a business sponsor or committee member? Contact Sheryl Petersen at (530) 885-8461, ext. 15.