To live longer, healthier start by moving

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The health message is simple: Move.

Whether it’s former First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2010 initiative, “Let’s Move,” or the past “Move! El Paso” partnership between the city of El Paso and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation or the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living active living initiatives, it comes down to that: Get up off the couch and move.

Daily physical activity – at least 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for kids, according to the PDN Institute for Healthy Living – is best to promote good health.

That activity that gets your heart pumping not only helps control your weight, but can also strengthen your bones and muscles, and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and more, health studies show.

People who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about seven years longer than those who are not active and are obese, according to the American Heart Association.

And that’s especially important in a community like El Paso, where studies show residents live longer but a lot less healthy than residents in other Texas counties.

So where should you start?

El Paso boasts about two dozen great city trails – and they’re not all far from home.

In fact, as part of the city’s 2012 quality of life bond program, some $2 million is being put toward trailhead projects next to existing trails across the city.  

The trailheads create a base to the pathways, making it easier for the public to park, picnic or rest before or after their walk or hike, city officials said.

Trailheads that recently opened to the public include the Thousand Steps Trailhead and the Jan Sumrall Memorial Trailhead on the Westside, and the Lazy Cow and Round House Trailheads in Northeast.

Last fall, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in partnership with the city of El Paso and El Paso Water developed the Playa Drain Trail in the Lower Valley.

The 3.4-mile paved walking and cycling trail stretches from Ascarate Park to Riverside Park and is part of a larger plan – the Paso del Norte Trail – that will extend 60 miles across El Paso County.

And that’s not counting the many state trails in the Franklin Mountains, including those at McKelligon Canyon, maintained and operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The designated trails await you – but you can also get moving by walking briskly around your neighborhood or your neighborhood park.

To live longer, healthier start by moving 3

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