OKC gets moving

Monday, June 2nd 2008, 1:46 pm
By: News 9

By Audrey Esther, news9.com INsite Team

Walking is a simple form of exercise that has helped 63-year-old Martha Vickery drastically improve her health.

"The doctor has taken me off a few of my medications, my blood pressure has gone down and I have Type 2 Diabetes and the readings on that have gotten a lot better," Vickery said.

During the last six weeks Vickery has had group support and incentive to walk her way to health. Vickery and about 20 of her co-workers at Tinker Air Force base are participating in the Get Moving OKC! Reward Program.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation launched Get Moving OKC! in late March and hope it will encourage area adults to improve their health through the simple act of walking. So far more than 1,700 people have walked more than 130,000 miles.  

"We we're kind of concerned that we weren't even going to be able to get 20 teams to sign up and, lo and behold, we had 72 sign up," Cathy Nestlen, Oklahoma City Community Foundation Director of Communications said.

Tinker team leader Kathy Thomas said motivating team members to attempt 10 miles a week for 13 weeks took some encouraging, but walking now appears to be a habit for many of them.

"People are coming in happier with more energy," Thomas said. "They are really surprised."

It's not just the walkers who are benefiting from the Get Moving OKC! Reward Program. Teams with at least 10 members and up to 25 that successfully complete the program will receive $100 per person to donate to their favorite charity.  

"Doctors have told me forever to get moving, but this gave me better incentive with the program giving money to charity," Vickery, a heart-attack survivor, said.

The Tinker group took the program one step further and hopes to virtually walk across the U.S.

"By the first three weeks we were in Reno, Nev. and then we walked all the way to Cheyenne, Wyo. and this time around, we haven't turned in our sheets yet, but I'm hoping we made it to Chicago," Thomas said.  

In about six weeks when the program is done the Oklahoma City Community Foundation will evaluate the results and decide if they want to sponsor another walking program in the future.