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  • Entitlement to a Safe Environment Entitlement to a Safe Environment Sandra Sessions | 05/25/2016 Boiling Springs Middle believes that all people are entitled to a safe and supportive environment.

    boilingspringsBoiling Springs Middle School, located in Inman, SC, believes that all people are entitled to a safe and supportive environment. The school is known for being student-centered and inviting. One example of what makes Boiling Springs Middle School such a safe and inviting part of the community is its attitude towards open community use of their outdoor facilities.
    Outdoor facilities are open for community use anytime outside of school hours. Those facilities include a track, parking lot loop, sports fields, and green space. Because student safety is the school�۪s number one priority, use of its outdoor facilities is not allowed by the community during school hours.

    The school has noticed that a need in the community has been fulfilled as a result of open community use. The school is seen as a valued part of the community, not only because of its importance as an academic institution, but also because it is a convenient resource for exercising, playing, and socializing. Principal Penelope Atkinson feels like the school belongs to the community, so by allowing open community use, the community has a sense of pride and is invested in the school. She notes that open community use has increased the residents�۪ familiarity with school her role as principal and other school administrators, which builds a sense of trust. Principal Atkinson says that it is common for parents to bring their child to an after-school event, such as a team practice, and walk the track or play in the green space with other children while waiting. Open community use provides opportunity and convenience for people of all ages to be active.

    Similar to other schools, Boiling Springs Middle has encountered some barriers associated with open community use. For example, the maintenance staff�۪s duties of picking up trash from the outdoor facilities can take time away from some of their other responsibilities. Also, during the winter months, the outdoor facilities are under-utilized, due to lack of lighting. However, Principal Atkinson mentions that there have been no issues with vandalism, a common concern of open community use.

    Principal Atkinson offers suggestions to other schools that might be considering open community use.

    • Before implementing open community use, ensure that the community will use the facilities. Methods as simple as surveys and advertisements may be helpful in assuring that the community has a need and desire for open community use.
    • Clearly communicate to the community regarding hours of use, trash disposal, and pet policy.
    • Be open to suggestions and input from those who will be using the space.

    Based on her experience with open community use at Boiling Springs Middle School, Principal Atkinson concludes that issues are very minimal compared to the benefits and positive outcomes for the community and school. For this reason, she said that principals should see this as a positive opportunity for their schools instead of a burden.

    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging schools and districts to expand open community use statewide. Healthy Eating/Active Living coordinators from DHEC�۪s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity are providing assistance and guidance in an effort to convince schools across South Carolina to make their outdoor facilities available for public use to promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles and stronger communities.

  • School and Community: A Reflection of Each Other School and Community: A Reflection of Each Other Corina Vidaurri | 05/23/2016 Calhoun County High School is located in St Matthews, SC and is at the center of the community.

    calhoun_countyCalhoun County High School (CCHS) is located in St Matthews, SC and is at the center of the community. As an award-winning high school, CCHS received the Bronze Award from US News and World Report for being one of the top high schools in the country for eight consecutive years. Principal Cynthia Johnson has been successful in creating a school environment focused on community engagement and student learning.

    She has made it a priority to allow the community access to the school’s outdoor recreational facilities. That is a big deal in an area where there is a lack of affordable recreational facilities. Principal Johnson is helping fill this void by allowing the community to use the track before and after school. Signs posted on the fences communicate the rules for using the track.
    As a result of opening the school’s outdoor facilities to the community, parents and alumni continue to support the school. At the football games, alumni help clean the facilities after the Saints’ games. Allowing open community use has created a strong community engagement at CCHS. In addition, providing a space for the community to be active creates a healthier community. After visiting the school, it is easy to see that Calhoun County High School explodes with positivity amongst the students, staff, and teachers.

    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging schools and districts to expand open community use statewide. Healthy Eating/Active Living coordinators from DHEC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity are providing assistance and guidance in an effort to convince schools across South Carolina to make their outdoor facilities available for public use to promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and stronger communities.

  • Bamberg-Ehrhardt: Working Together as a Community Bamberg-Ehrhardt: Working Together as a Community Corina Vidaurri | 05/11/2016 Leon Maxwell has helped make Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School dedicated to wellness!

    BE_HighSchoolBamberg-Ehrhardt High School (B-EHS), home of the Red Raiders, is well known in the community because of the incredible football legacy built by Leon Maxwell over 22 years.  Leon Maxwell�۪s stellar career led to him being inducted in the S.C. Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995. His son, Randall Maxwell, has served as principal at B-EHS for the past 14 years; he has been with the school district for 30 years. Throughout Principal Maxwell�۪s tenure at B-EHS and the school district, open community use has always been allowed. The school allows the community to use the outdoor track and outdoor fields after school hours and when the school is not using the facilities. He said his is a ���small, close community�۝, meaning that everyone does their fair share to pitch in as neighbors. Sports found a way to unite not only the students with the educators but the school as a whole with the members of the community. Community members volunteer to help maintain the facilities, as well as help keep a watchful eye on the outdoor facilities.

    Principal Maxwell is very open to his school being used for positive purposes, such as exercise and leisure. He feels that no one should be turned away from using the outdoor facilities.  The facilities were built for the school, yes, but, the school is a part of the community. For Principal Maxwell, it is not only about allowing people to use the facilities; it is about working together to achieve more.  Aside from open-community use, B-EHS has had school gardens; students sell the produce to the community to create healthy food access.  The students are also involved in a recycling program to teach them not only about community but also about the environment. The Red Raiders are leading the charge in creating a healthier community!

    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging schools and districts to expand open community use statewide. Healthy Eating/Active Living coordinators from DHEC�۪s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity are providing assistance and guidance in an effort to convince schools across South Carolina to make their outdoor facilities available for public use to promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and stronger communities.

  • Johnsonville High School: A Community Place Johnsonville High School: A Community Place Angela Rogers | 05/09/2016 New upgrades to Johnsonville High make it a center for wellness.

    johnsonvilleJohnsonville High School, “Home of the Golden Flashes,” is located in Johnsonville, SC. In 2000, the tennis courts were built and the track was resurfaced by the school district in conjunction with Florence County. The superintendent at that time (Dr. Dale Strickland) initiated the request of the County to share the costs.

    The tennis courts and track are not directly on the high school campus but are within a half mile between the elementary school and the high school. Both outdoor recreational facilities are available for public use virtually 24/7. Both have lights, but the lights on the tennis courts are on an automatic timer and go off around 9:00 pm. The track is a quarter mile paved circle with markings for lanes and distances. No bikes and skateboards are allowed on the track or tennis courts.

    Community members use the track all during the day; school staff use the track as well. Seniors in the community can be seen walking and socializing on the track throughout the day. As for the courts, individuals do enjoy the courts for a game of tennis.

    These outdoor facilities give the community somewhere to go. Many use the facilities for health or rehabilitation purposes. The track is an even surface, so it is a good place to walk. Allowing public use of these facilities has a positive impact on the health of the community. Principal Sam Tuten shared, “This is a community place. I have to commend the community for taking care of the facilities.” The school does its part by keeping the facilities safe and providing lighting.

    Staying true to its Alma Mater, “In the East of Florence County, ‘neath the sky so blue, stands our noble Alma Mater, glorious to view. Lift the chorus, speed it onward, may it never fail; Hail to thee our Alma Mater, Johnsonville all hail.”

    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging schools and districts to expand open community use statewide. Healthy Eating/Active Living coordinators from DHEC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity are providing assistance and guidance in an effort to convince schools across South Carolina to make their outdoor facilities available for public use to promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and stronger communities.

  • Why You Should Add Walking to Your Workout Why You Should Add Walking to Your Workout 05/05/2016 All of us take the act of walking for granted. Why? Because we don’t realize the amazing benefits of it and because we do...

    iStock_000039926250_400All of us take the act of walking for granted. Why? Because we don’t realize the amazing benefits of it and because we don’t take advantage of how easy it is to add extra steps to our daily lives. In fact, walking is one of the most versatile forms of exercise that anyone (children, adults, elderly) can do, and you can make it as easy or as challenging as you’d like. And the best thing about walking is that you can do it literally anywhere – and I mean ANYWHERE (on land, in the water, on a boat, a plane, a train, traveling, the list can go on and on).

    There are many benefits to why you should add walking your daily or weekly workout routine, so here is a small sampling of the many advantages to adding extra steps to your day:

    • Improves heart health
    • Engages whole body muscles
    • Improves blood pressure
    • Improves balance
    • Can do it anywhere – no gym required
    • Exercise clothes aren’t needed – just good walking shoes
    • It can help reduce stress

    However, some of you may be thinking, ‘I really don’t have to time to add anything else to my already busy schedule.’ Again, that’s the wonderful thing about walking. You can easily add extra steps throughout your normal day to reap the many benefits of a simple walking routine.

    Consider that about 10 minutes equals about 1,200 steps and that 1 mile is equal to about an average of 2,000 steps (more or less depending on the length of the person’s stride). It may surprise you that many people, including you, are already averaging about 4-5,000 steps per day. So, if taking time to ‘go for a walk ‘is the problem, here are five easy ways you can add more steps to your day simply by adjusting your usual routine.

    1. Park far away when going shopping or to work. Do something good for your body and let someone else have that front space. This is a very easy habit to create.
    2. Walk when you’re on the phone. Take your personal call outside or in the hallway and walk. Not only will this benefit you, but other people will appreciate not having to hear your conversation.
    3. Move when you’re at the office. Avoid the email, instant messenger or phone, and walk to someone’s office if you have a question or need help.
    4. Take the stairs any chance you can. Learn where the staircases are located at your office, dorm, school, shopping center or parking garage. This is a very easy way to get your heart pumping, burn some calories and move your body.
    5. Make family time, walking time. What a better way to reconnect than to take a walk after dinner with the family or after breakfast on the weekends. Another easy way is to plan vacations that include walking activities.

    Finally, if you need a little extra motivation to increase your walking activity level, here are a few local areas to walk in the beautiful Charleston Lowcountry. These places are perfect to take a short walking break alone or to enjoy with the family or friends on a weekend day trip. If you live out of the Lowcountry, visit the Let’s Go! map for great walking resources in your area.

    Now are you convinced that you should add walking to your workout routine? How about just adding a few extra steps to your day? Challenge yourself to consider one of the ways you can add extra steps to your day and do it for one week. Let us know how you felt afterwards.

    Walking is easy, can be done throughout your day and the best part – it’s free and because of that, it might even take you to unexplored places you’ve been wishing to visit.

  • Doby's Mill Fitness Trail and physical activity Doby's Mill Fitness Trail and physical activity 05/05/2016 Doby’s Mill Elementary, located in Lugoff, SC believes their students should develop healthy lifestyles by participating ...

    dobys_millDoby’s Mill Elementary, located in Lugoff, SC believes their students should develop healthy lifestyles by participating in physical fitness and health education activities. This is evident through activities such as the school’s annual “Race to Read” event as well as their “Jump Rope for Heart” fundraiser for the American Heart Association. In addition, the Doby’s Mill Fitness Trail provides the opportunity for students, families and community members to participate in physical activity outside of school hours. The fitness trail was paved in 2013 as a result of efforts by the school’s Parent Teacher Association. The local Eat Smart, Move More Chapter also played a role in creating signage and garnering publicity for the trail.

    Doby’s Mill Fitness Trail is open to the community every day from dawn until dusk. During school hours, the school asks that visitors check in at the front office if they wish to use the trail. Mileage markers indicate that a mile can be completed by taking three laps around the trail. The paved trail offers a few additional features including fitness stations with instructions and equipment for activities such as pull-ups or stretching. The fitness trail is promoted through the school newsletter and staff meetings, as well as the school’s annual health and fitness fair. In addition, because the trail is used for class activities, students often share information about the trail with their families.

    According to Assistant Principal John Folger, the trail is used daily by students, staff, parents and older adults. He believes the fitness trail provides a great opportunity for students and parents to walk together after school and helps to promote a healthy lifestyle to families. Another major benefit of the fitness trail is the way it has been able to contribute to the school’s positive relationship with the community.

    One of the greatest benefits of the trail is its availability as a safe place for physical activity. Because the school is located along a busy 55 MPH road, the opportunity to exercise without concerns about traffic is a valuable one. According to Doby’s Mill parent Desiree Crocker, the trail is one of only a couple places to run in the area other than the side of the road. She uses the trail frequently for running as well as walks with her family. Doby’s Mill Fitness Trail has “impacted [her] health greatly” by providing a safe place to exercise when trying to lose weight after her pregnancy. Because of stories like this, Doby’s Mill Elementary hopes to continue to promote the fitness trail as an opportunity for its community to get physical activity and develop healthy lifestyles.

    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging schools and districts to expand open community use statewide. Healthy Eating/Active Living coordinators from DHEC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity are providing assistance and guidance in an effort to convince schools across South Carolina to make their outdoor facilities available for public use to promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and stronger communities.

  • How to choose the best running shoes How to choose the best running shoes 05/04/2016 A pair of running shoes can make or break a run. It’s truly the most essential piece of gear for any runner. A good pair ...

    AdobeStock_94808531-400A pair of running shoes can make or break a run. It’s truly the most essential piece of gear for any runner. A good pair of running shoes will support your feet, providing the protection and comfort required, as well as will ensure a good grip on your running surface.

    There is a wide variety of types and styles of running shoes available these days, innumerable technologies used and a large list of dedicated running companies producing the best possible. That in combination with specialized socks and personalized orthotics can make any runner comfortable and confident on the road.

    “Money can’t buy happiness” – they say. But they can buy running shoes…

    So, how to choose the right pair for you?

    The Fit

    Running is an intense full body exercise and comfort should be your primary focus. Ask your foot size to be measured in the store and try at least a few different pairs of shoes of ideally different brands and sizes. You should be able to wiggle your toes in the toe box, but your heel should feel snug to not allow unnecessary movement. It is generally a good idea to get running shoes that are half a size larger than your street shoes, as your feet swell during exercise.

    Try walking, running and maybe even jumping in the pair you are trying on. How does it feel? Does the shoe feel comfortable and the movement effortless? Not too loose or tight? Do not expect the shoe to fit better later; it has to fit perfectly on the point of purchase.

    Do not use an old pair of running shoes, you have had for years. Worn out running shoes are the primary cause of injury and discomfort. Respect your hard working feet with the fresh equipment they deserve.

    The Type

    Visit your local running store, and if possible, get your running style analyzed based on the type of your foot and the biomechanics of your stride. Specialized running stores usually employ people with a lot of experience and knowledge in running gear, and they would be able to help you pick the right shoe for you.

    If you have flat feet, you likely over-pronate (exaggerated inwards ankle roll) while running, while if you have high arches, you might be supinating (decreased inwards ankle roll). It is important to note, however that the opposite is possible too. If you pronate your feet outside the ideal range, the so called motion control shoes could serve you well. Special technologies used will support your feet better and will provide you with a more comfortable fit, also preventing you from getting injured. People with normal pronation are generally okay using any type and can use neutral running shoes.

    The feel

    Do you want your shoes to be more lightweight and minimalist for you to feel the road better or do you prefer a more traditional shoe with more cushioning? Depending on your running experience, environment and personal preference choose something that fits you best.

    Depending on the level of cushioning and the heel-to-toe height difference, running shoes are categorized into minimalist, low-profile, traditional and maximalist. Traditional running shoes are most regularly used shoes, providing more cushioning in the heel, and are most commonly chosen by novice runners.

    Regardless of the amount of cushioning, lightweight footwear will give you more joy and comfort running.

    Where will you be running?

    Depending on where you will be running, you should choose the running shoe with the best outsole for the job. If you will be on trails or in snowy and wet conditions, trail running shoes will be a good match for you, as they are designed with a larger and deeper tread for increased traction and thicker soles for higher feet protection.

    If you are a rain and winter running warrior, waterproof Gore-Tex running shoes are the right choice for you. Be sure not to have those running shoes too tight for thicker wool socks for cold weather running.

    Breathability

    If you are planning to spend a lot of time in your running shoes, possibly doing some recreational activities in summer or even doing some hiking, you want your shoes to be breathable for your feet to feel dry and comfortable.

    So in short, the best advice would be to try a few different types of shoes and pick, what works best for your feet and your running style. Sense of comfort is actually a really good measure of the shoe fit, so do not forget to listen to your feet.

  • Part 2: Becoming a Walkable Community Part 2: Becoming a Walkable Community Jean Crowther | 05/04/2016 Part 1 of this topic discussed the meaning of walkability and why it matters. However, even for communities where citizens and ...

    AdobeStock_82195281-450Part 1 of this topic discussed the meaning of walkability and why it matters. However, even for communities where citizens and elected officials rally behind the value of walkability and are ready to make improvements, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here is a quick and easy guide to the first steps a community should consider:

    • Identify partners: Begin by bringing together the local partners who have a vested interest in creating a more walkable community, whether that is local government staff, an Eat Smart Move More chapter, an informal walking or running group, neighborhood associations, or senior citizens groups. This should also include potential partners in planning and funding, such as the regional Council of Governments, Metropolitan Planning Organization, SCDOT, and local foundations.
    • Create a comprehensive pedestrian master plan: The plan should include an assessment of pedestrian needs, recommendations for new or improved pedestrian infrastructure, policies, and programs, and action steps for seeking funding and implementing recommended projects. Once complete, the Plan should be adopted by the local council and the community should identify a municipal department or local advocacy group that will spearhead moving it forward.

    If a community already has a plan but is not sure how to prioritize its recommendations, or if a community does not have a plan, but does not quite have the capacity to develop one, here are some strategies for finding some catalyst projects that will build momentum for change:

    • Calm the traffic: There are a number of low-cost, easy-to-implement strategies that can have a big impact on the safety and practicality of walking, without requiring large capital projects. Look for opportunities to calm traffic on streets that are already known as walking routes but are not ideal in terms of pedestrian safety and comfort. Traffic calming can be an effective tool for prioritizing pedestrians over cars on neighborhoods streets.
    • Activate the street: Rather than calming the traffic on busier streets, consider ramping up the pedestrian amenities on lower-volume streets or streets already safe and comfortable for pedestrians. The focus is creating a space that is inviting, interesting, and fun for pedestrians whether through wayfinding signage, creating parklets, installing outdoor art, allowing outdoor café seating, or hosting temporary ‘open streets’ events to encourage play.
    • Close the gaps: The best way to leverage existing investments is to close the gaps in the existing walking network. The most obvious approach is to identify blocks where sidewalk is missing and could connect two existing sections. But closing the gap can also include: improving the crossing at an difficult intersection between to sections of sidewalks; signing a route to show pedestrians the best way to connect from one trail to another; or identifying bridges (whether creek crossings, overpasses, underpasses, or another form) where no safe pedestrian access is provide and prioritizing improvements to that gap.
    • Take the long view: Consider focusing on policy changes as a first step, knowing that it will take time to see its impact. Choosing to walk for transportation is inextricably linked to land use planning, which is governed by local policies. If residential areas are planned miles away from institutional and commercial destinations (such as schools, restaurants or grocery stores) or are developed without connections to the destinations that are nearby, citizens will never have a chance to choose walking. Local and County policies can directly impact this; and though it takes time, policy change can be one of the most efficient, and sustainable approaches to transforming a community.
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