The city of Seattle has come up with a web portal — www.seattle.gov/walking – designed to encourage people to walk, hike and just get more physical activity.
Aging and Disability Services, a division of the Seattle Human Services Department, collaborated with the city’s Department of Information Technology to promote walking organizations, events, and resources for older adults. The page includes links to local walks and hikes, neighborhood walking maps, and volunteer opportunities like shelter dog walking as well as a selection of 5Ks and 10Ks by month.
“As part of Encore, Seattle’s Web portal for people age 50+, the walking campaign is meant to encourage older people to get moving and stay connected,” said Rosemary Cunningham, interim Aging and Disability Services director, in a press release. “But all ages can use this site. The sooner someone gets into a walking habit, the healthier they’ll be when they get older.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 33.8 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of children and youth are obese, a growing trend. In King County, 54 percent of adults are overweight or obese, 20 percent are obese, and 5.4 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes.
“The benefits of physical activity are well-documented,” said Cunningham. “You can control your weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, reduce your risk of chronic disease and some cancers, improve your mental health, prevent falls, and increase your chances of living longer. And walking is a level playing field—people can walk regardless of income and any extra walking is beneficial.”
Aging and Disability Services and the Seattle Department of Information Technology created Encore three years ago to give boomers 24/7 access to information about programs and services that interest them, both within city departments and the community at large. The portal provides older adults with access to thousands of resources, under broad headings such as Work & Money, Arts & Recreation, and Health & Fitness. For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/encore.
Aging and Disability Services is designated by the State of Washington as the Area Agency on Aging for King County. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.gov.