How would you feel if the school closed its playgrounds to the public at the end of the school day? In San Antonio, that’s not really an issue as you’ll find children and adults at many public school playgrounds using swing sets, slides, outdoor basketball courts and more after the school bell rings or on weekends.
That’s not the case everywhere. School playgrounds are locked after hours in some communities, impeding access to outdoor activities for the citizens they are supposed to serve.
So while we should be grateful our schools are open for after-hours play, we also are mindful that our community faces its own barriers and challenges to promoting active, healthy lifestyles.
You may have heard of the Mayor’s Fitness Council, on which I serve, but you may be less familiar with the related Active Living Council of San Antonio.
The job of the Active Living Council, on which I also serve, is to create and help implement the Active Living Plan for a Healthier San Antonio. This public-private collaborative recommends policies and strategies to increase physical activity in all segments of the population in the Alamo City area. In doing so, we know the health and wellness of individuals will improve.
So we’re talking about trying to move the needle toward a more active community for more than 1 million people. To have any chance to achieve this kind of mammoth undertaking, we look at a broad spectrum of sectors to influence – business and industry, education (including after-school programs and early childhood), healthcare, mass media, parks and recreation, fitness and sports, public health, transportation and community design and volunteers and non-profit.
There’s a lot to consider, so let’s talk about one event coming up in just a couple of months that offers community-wide potential for getting healthy – Siclovia. Twice a year San Antonio shuts down major downtown streets and creates a fun route for cycling, walking, skateboarding, roller blading or just plain ambling.
On Sunday, April 7, from 10 am to 3 pm, most of Broadway from north of Brackenridge Park to Alamo Plaza will be closed for this free, fun and healthy event. That’s a 2-mile stretch of the central city with lots of fun “reclovias” or stops along the route that will feature Zumba, yoga, dancing and much more. There’s no pressure to “finish” because Siclovia is not a race, merely a play day for the community.
And while getting out for an event like this once or twice a year won’t alone change the health of our community, it provides an opportunity to get people out and can motivate them to do more on their own.
Considering the problems of obesity and health-related issues such as diabetes that plague not only our community but also the entire nation, events like these are critical to making our city a healthier, better place to live.
To learn more about Siclovia visit their website at www.siclovia.org. I’ll offer a more detailed look at this exciting event in an upcoming column.
Get out there and have fun!