Become Your Own Health Advocate

Editor’s note: Fairfax was recently named the healthiest county in Virginia in a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and Community Catalyst.

What does it mean to be your own health advocate? A simple definition is to be proactive about your health and to make a conscious effort to improve and/or maintain good health. As Monica Philips, Fitness and Wellness manager, states, “The most important asset that an individual has is his or her health. Yes, you’ll invest time to learn and live a healthy lifestyle, but the returns are priceless.”

By educating yourself about health topics and staying up-to-date about current health issues, you will be one step closer to becoming your own health advocate. Join the Park Authority’s free Take 12 Steps for Health program to receive health information each month. Each month there is a new health theme, tips to keep you motivated, and a calendar of free monthly workshops on different health topics.

According to Elizabeth Ittner, Fitness & Wellness Program coordinator for the Fairfax County Park Authority, “Our free workshops span a variety of topics including nutrition, water consciousness, stress, anxiety, fatigue, back pain, as well as grocery store tours and wellness screenings.”

Committing to becoming and staying healthy for life is the next step. You can eat smarter and healthier, buy local and organic foods, start your own garden, develop an exercise routine, sign up for a new fitness class, increase your water intake, or train for a race, such as the first annual Healthy Strides Community Race at Burke Lake Park on April 28, 2012. Depending on your fitness level, you can choose a 5K or 10K, and kids can start healthy habits by participating in a Fun Run.

Finally, community involvement and volunteering play a role in becoming a health advocate. Take 12s theme for September is “Serve your Community as a Volunteer.” You’ll receive tips on volunteering and how to find grass-roots projects, such as becoming a mentor, creating pieces of art, serving meals, or planting a community garden to build strong and vibrant neighborhoods.

The important thing is to start becoming your own health advocate today. Visit Take 12 online to learn how.

Written by Tina Tuliszka, George Mason University graduate student and Fitness and Wellness Section intern

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , on by .

About Fairfax County Park Authority

HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 11 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2008. Another Park Bond Referendum will be held in November 2012. Today, the Park Authority has 420 parks on approximately 23,168 acres of land. We offer 371 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park System is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: o Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist. o Eight golf courses including Laurel Hill, our newest, upscale course and clubhouse located in Southern Fairfax County o Five nature and visitor centers. Also seven Off-Leash Dog Activity areas o Several lakes including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax o The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter o Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel o An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter o Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel o Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent o A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly o A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale o Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community o Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center o Provides 274 athletic fields, including 30 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 500 school athletic fields PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: • A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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