Sandy whips residents into shape
Nicole Martin speaks to the Sandy Shape-Up participants about the importance of keeping up with healthy living habits. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)
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By Keyra Kristoffersen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandy City has taken it upon itself to encourage the healthful living of its residents by offering change-of-lifestyle options through its website.
“They get to identify a lot of the priorities and health issues for their community and Healthy Sandy wants to encourage their residents to be more active,” said Linsey Miller, health and communities coordinator for Salt Lake County Health Department.
One of the options that has been offered this spring was the Monday night Shape-Up walking program, an eight-week program where residents meet up in the evening for a walking tour of one of Sandy City’s parks.
“That fact that they can make friends, the social aspect that we can be healthy together seems to be a winning formula,” said Nicole Martin, deputy mayor of Sandy City.
The Shape-Up walking program is partnered with Alta View Hospital to also include doctors and specialists who are invited every week to give a 10–15 minute presentation about various health topics from eye health to stretches to getting kids outside and active. Challenges are also given that relate to the presentation for participants to be a part of.
“One time the emergency department came from Alta View and they talked about the opioid epidemic in Utah where prescription drugs are getting abused and that’s leading to terrible things. So then the next week, we provided a prescription drug drop-off and the Sandy City police department came to collect old prescription drugs,” said Jetta Valentine, the manager at Alta Canyon Sports Center.
All of these activities are also worth points that participants can keep track of throughout the program and tally at the end for prizes.
“We also give them points if they do a food tracker, because that’s also a part of health,” said Valentine. “And then we add up all the points and do a little prize drawing at the end.”
Miller is glad residents have the opportunity to go out and enjoy what they have already out there and available in Sandy.
The Shape-Up program began over nine years ago and was a 10-week program offered once a year, but with the increase in demand, it has grown and is now offered as two eight-week programs offered in the spring and fall. Not only can anyone join the program for free, but participants are also encouraged and given points for inviting their friends and neighbors.
“I’ve been doing it for several years, but a friend introduced me originally,” said Sandy resident, Kadi Clough. “I love it, it gets me going. Every week, I plan to do this.”
Participants enjoy perks like weekly blood pressure check-ins with the Sandy Fire Department, who also attend every week to help the walkers keep track of their highs and lows.
“We’re seeing a lot of the same faces and some new faces depending on what part of the season works for them,” said Martin. “There’s no charge to them, they get little prizes every week as incentives, they get the grand prize at the end and they’re just touring around the city. They’re having fun.”
Gordon Johnson, chairman of the Community Advisory Council for Alta View Hospital and recent winner of the Healthcare Hero Award for volunteerism from “Utah Business Magazine,” has been with the Sandy Shape-Up program since the beginning and is pleased with the progress it’s made in the community.
“It’s growing incrementally. We have a lot more participants, but we’d like to see Sandy be healthy and this is one way we’re doing it. We hope that as a result of this that they will keep exercising, even on a daily basis, and eating properly.”
For more information about the Healthy Sandy program and the next Sandy Shape-Up and other events, visit http://sandy.utah.gov/residents/healthy-sandy.