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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)
From hiking, to kayaking, to mountain biking, to trail running, to just slipping out to take the dog for a walk, one doesn't have to look far to see a significant portion of Richmonders on the move and living an active lifestyle.
It is easy to view these individuals as just that, individuals exercising or recreating, but in fact, the cumulative effect of active living can have a tremendous impact on communities, said Jon Lugbill, executive director of Sports Backers, a local organization whose aim it is is to make Richmond the most physically active community in the nation.
"People who are physically active 150 minutes per week live longer, have a greatly decreased chance of getting Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, have greatly reduced incidents of depression and are more productive at work or school," Lugbill said. "A community full of active people means a more vibrant community, increased economic productivity, a more desirable place to raise a family and a better climate to start a business."
Not long ago, Lugbill was looking for conferences Sports Backers' employees could attend that were focused on active living. Surprisingly, the options were limited, so, rather than be deterred, Sports Backers decided to start its own conference on active living. The idea to host the Movement Makers National Active Living Summit made perfect sense considering Richmond's growing reputation as an outdoor and active city.
The summit will take place May 17-19 in the days leading up to Dominion Riverrock, the nation's largest outdoor sports and music festival, and will host an impressive list of speakers from around the country, including Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods," which addresses the importance of getting children outdoors, and James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing play opportunities for all children.
Lugbill noted people from across the country already are signing up. He expects a significant number of local participants as well.
"We hope Movement Makers becomes the gathering spot for leaders in the active city movement from across the country," Lugbill said. "We hope that the thought leaders in the active city movement will help Movement Makers become the place to share (their) best practices and assist communities throughout the country and impact more people through improved active living programs, services and infrastructure."
The summit includes presentations on active living such as inspiring physical activity in children and schools, how to build active living into your local zoning regulations, and how to build bikeways and paths in rural and suburban areas.
Of course, participants won't just sit and listen. The summit includes opportunities for walks through Richmond's open spaces and parks as well as group bike rides, runs and fitness classes. Those in attendance also are encouraged to take part in some of the activities associated with Dominion Riverrock, such as the environmental film festival and the Filthy 5k Mud Run.
Those who are unable to attend the entire summit are encouraged to sign up for add-ons on May 19, including the workplace well-being and physical activity event or the event creation workshop.
"Movement Makers provides a way for Richmond area leaders to learn how to impact the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors throughout our community by implementing active living best practices. Together, we can build a more equitable, healthy, vibrant community through active living," Lugbill said.
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