Healthiest Ames provides study break, physical activity in preparation of Finals Week


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

New healthy eating, workout and gym tips.

Katelyn Sim

The recent bout of sunny spring weather has catalyzed increasing numbers of members of the Ames community to venture outside for walks, runs, bike rides and the itch for months to get off the treadmill and onto real pavement is now manifested.

For those seeking wellness outlets as weather finally permits enjoyable outdoor activity, an initiative of Healthiest Ames will be in Ames from 1 to 4 p.m. May 3 at the Main Street Cultural District. The “Healthy Streets” event will feature biking, walking, dancing, yoga, zumba, basketball and more.

After a week of studies and preparation for finals exams, Healthy Streets seeks to provide students with a couple of hours of free and enjoyable activities.

“For Iowa State students, this event falls on the Sunday before Finals Week, which can be an excellent opportunity for students to get physically active and come out for a study break,” said Brianna Lewis, senior in kinesiology and health and intern at Healthy Streets.

Healthy Streets is also seeking volunteers to assist with the events. Volunteering could be a great way for ISU students to interact with other students and families, give back to the community and gain a rewarding feeling before tackling Finals Week.

“We have volunteer positions open for a variety of events such as four square or the three-legged race.” Lewis said.

Healthy Streets is partially funded by The Wellmark Foundation through a Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grant. It grew from Open Streets, a multi-faceted program that promotes use of public streets for recreation and physical activity. Open Streets events have taken place across the entire world.

The Healthy Streets health and wellness initiative is seeking to educate the public on the concept of a complete street, which Lewis describes as “a multi-modal, multi-facilitate street that allows transportation for all”.

This Open Streets event will promote and incorporate essential aspects of a healthy community with information, nutrition and physical activities.

“We want our events to motivate the Ames community to live a healthier lifestyle through physical activity healthy food choices, chronic disease management and community connectedness,” said John Shierholz, co-chair of Healthiest Ames.

Healthy Streets is sponsored by Ames Parks and Recreation, Hy-Vee, 1430 KASI, NOW105.1 and Dogtown and seeks to provide a safe and fun environment for physical activity while bringing together families and the community.

“It is exciting to see the progress Healthiest Ames has made since being awarded a MATCH Grant from The Wellmark Foundation in late 2014,” said Stephanie Perry, the Wellmark Foundation manager. “This first Open Streets event is part of the overall effort to build environments and advance policies that will enhance walkability and bikeability in Ames.

The event is free, open to all ages and will serve as the first of several Healthy Streets events that Healthiest Ames has planned for 2015.