Biking

An Active SWV group bikes along the Hawks Nest Trail. The group will be offering a number of similar projects in the future in Kanawha and Boone counties.

Active Southern West Virginia (Active SWV) has expanded its programming to include Boone and Kanawha counties. Having successfully served Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Summers counties since 2015, Active SWV has also been working with neighboring communities along the Route 3 corridor and the upper Kanawha River valley.

Active SWV is a non-profit providing wellness activities for the residents of southern West Virginia, offering programs led by trained volunteers within communities where they live. The impact of these programs will improve health outcomes in underserved communities, workplaces, and schools, resulting in a vibrant, diverse economy. A healthy population is crucial to attracting new businesses and jobs to our region, program officials say.

Officials with the state Development Office agree.

“The West Virginia Development Office supports the expansion of Active SWV programming into Kanawha and Boone counties. The WVDO recognizes the connection between a healthy workforce and job creation,” Michael Graney, executive director of the WVDO, said in a press release. “Active SWV’s focus on improving community health will help attract new industry and diversify our state’s economy.”

Dr. Eloise Elliott, a member of the Active SWV board of directors and the Ware Distinguished Professor in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (CPASS) at West Virginia University, said the organization’s programming reaches those of all ages in the state in an effort to improve the health of the region’s residents.

“I am pleased to support the outstanding work of Active Southern WV, and its expansion into Boone and Kanawha counties,” Elliott said. “As a partner with our Center for Active WV in CPASS, my colleagues and I find the work and programming of ASWV to be an outstanding model of community engagement to promote physical activity opportunities and participation that truly encompasses the entire lifespan – children to older adults.

“ASWV programming targets many societal sectors identified in the National and West Virginia Physical Activity Plans, including education, business/industry, healthcare, parks/recreation/fitness/sport, public health, and volunteers/non-profits. Healthy citizens of southern West Virginia lead to a healthy workforce and growing economy, and I am honored to be a part of a thriving and innovative organization striving to help southern West Virginians make physical activity and a healthy lifestyle a priority in their lives.”

Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Resources agree that improving the health of the state’s residents is a major plus.

“Healthy people and healthy places must be priorities for West Virginia now and in the future,” said James Vance, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Prevention Policy Senior Manager and Wellness Program Coordinator. “Partnering with Active Southern WV to implement worksite wellness programs in Boone and Kanawha counties allows our state to move toward better outcomes and positive change.”

Active SWV’s evidence-based programs include Workplace Wellness, Community Captains, Kids Run Clubs and Bike/Walk SWV. Supported by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, the West Virginia Development Office, the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, WVU and the Appalachian Regional Commission, Active SWV has provided technical assistance and training to over 250 volunteers who lead their friends, neighbors, co-workers and families in living a healthier lifestyle impacting over 8,000 individuals.

The physical, emotional, and economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis make it more important for West Virginians to take control of both their physical and mental health. Active SWV provides resources to remove barriers and increase social supports through partnerships to accomplish this goal. Being physically active will improve our health and our economy, positioning West Virginia to emerge post Covid-19 better than before.

For more information, contact Melanie Seiler, Active SWV executive director, at 304-254-8488 or info@activeswv.com.

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