Thursday, September 1, 2011

'Most sedentary' designation sparks Lexingtonians to stand up; Herald-Leader coverage is an example to follow

Lexington's recent designation as the most sedentary city in the country by Men's Health magazine has got its residents talking, exercising and sharing their stories.

First, the city had a tongue-in-cheek Sedentary Parade with stationary floats and non-marching bands. Then, the Lexington Herald-Leader invited readers to share their stories about how they stay active to disprove the designation. The stories were published online Wednesday (with this couch potato illustration).

They include stories of people who have lost weight and run in marathons. It also includes the story of Robert F. Wachs, a 79-year-old man who has walked 4,500 miles in the last four years. "Once a month or so, I walk to downtown Lexington to get a haircut and then walk back to my home. This is a seven-mile round trip," he wrote.

The stories are accompanied by a calendar of upcoming exercise opportunities in the area.

There are also several features under the Stand Up Lexington heading, which include in-depth stories of how Lexingtonians are getting fit. They range from a woman sharing her weight-loss story on her blog to a badly injured trucker who is now participating in an Ironman triathlon. (Photo of Brennan Donahue by H-L's Tom Eblen)

The Herald-Leader has offered a good example for how a newspaper can provide an outlet for readers to share their stories, dispel an unflattering designation and inspire others to get active. Other newspapers across Kentucky could do the same with a variety of health-related topics.

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