Does this sound familiar: you want to get your body moving to be healthier and stronger, but you don’t know how to get started? Perhaps joining a gym isn’t feasible or desirable, and you’ve been telling yourself you’ll go for a walk or try one of those Couch-to-5K programs you’ve heard about? And yet, January and February have passed (and however many months or years before that) and you’re still not moving.
Fear not. The newly formed Jefferson Activities Group (JAG) might just be just your ticket.
JAG provides a calendar of health and wellness events taking place across Jefferson County every day. Think of it as a clearinghouse or smorgasbord of information to help people be active.
According to director Erin Lusby-Donovan, “While there are JAG-specific events like playground meetings at Sam Michael’s Park, stroller walks for moms, and group runs and hikes for anyone, our goal is provide a comprehensive list of all health and wellness events in the area.”
Hence, the website lists activities and events from any organization or group in the region such as Two Rivers Treads, Bros and Bras, hospitals and wellness centers, farmers markets, etc. Most events are free, open to the public, and doable for all ages and abilities. Some fitness events and races requiring registration and fees are also included.
Lusby-Donovan said JAG places a heavy focus on families and children. “This is why I became involved. I have a bunch of kids—six to be exact. Their health is my priority, and I saw JAG as a way to continue making it a priority and develop a network of likeminded families while influencing others to get their kids more active.”
She is equally concerned about West Virginia’s obesity rates. According to a recent study, West Virginia scored the highest in the country for both adult obesity and adult diabetes, and made the top ten for obese children, adolescents, and high schoolers.
“We live in one of the unhealthiest states in America,” Lusby-Donovan added, “and it is affecting families and kids of all ages. No diet campaign or ad is going to deliver the drastic change that needs to occur. It is people like you and me—with our feet on the ground—meeting people face to face and influencing their lives. That can make a difference. JAG is just one way we are accomplishing that in the Eastern Panhandle. Together is the only way we can change.”
Lusby-Donovan noted that, by design, there aren’t any hard and fast rules with JAG. “Just show up and give it a try. The whole point is to get active and be accepting of others. Many of us have found it’s easier to get moving with a group than trying to go it alone. Visit the calendar, pick an event, and join in.”
— Follow Katherine Cobb’s writing here.