Alabamians love a challenge. And this summer more than 1,200 participants have taken on the challenge presented by 100 Alabama Miles. Its premise is simple—encourage health, wellness, and community by having participants walk, run, bike, paddle, or roll 100 miles in one year. While the goal might seem daunting at first, when you break it down, it can be done by completing just two miles a week.
At 100alabamamiles.org, people from across the state have registered to share their progress, whether its on the trail, river, or road. Participants include people from all ages and backgrounds, from disabled veterans to groups starting their weight loss journey together. The 100 Alabama Miles website has all the details you need to participate. It’s easy to track your miles, find a group or event, and as an additional incentive, earn electronic badges for progress made.
A Healthier You
It’s a fact. Exercise makes you feel better. And not just from a physical standpoint, but a mental one as well. Countless studies have shown the positive correlation between stress reduction and exercise. And it doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous exercise; it can be something as simple as going for a short walk.
Brian Rushing, program coordinator for the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge, was one of the driving forces that helped make the challenge a reality for Alabamians. The 100 Mile Challenge has become a nationwide movement, and other states, including Missouri and North Carolina, are championing the ideals of the Challenge, encouraging their residents to take an active role in their health, while getting out and exploring their state parks.
Creating a Stronger Community
Another aspect of the Challenge is that it encourages people to share their accomplishments and encourage others via social media. Participants can easily share their experiences and progress on the Challenge website and its Facebook, and Instagram pages.
“Encouragement within your peer group is a key part of total well-being,” says Rushing. “Connecting with friends, family, or co-workers while working towards a common goal helps reinforce those bonds and strengthen our community.”
Family members, friends, and co-workers can put together teams for some friendly competition, and participants looking for a group can find one on 100alabamamiles.org or on one of its social media pages.
It’s imperative that we keep Alabama’s parks and waterways clean, not only for our own recreational enjoyment, but also for the health of wildlife and enjoyment for future generations. The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge is promoting conservation by encouraging people to visit the state’s parks and explore its rivers.
Rushing hopes that people who visit Alabama’s state parks will develop a deeper appreciation for the marvels of nature that are close to home. “Increased attendance to parks and waterways will show people that we live in a remarkable part of the globe with incredible biodiversity and a robust topography,” he says.
A Bright Future
To promote strong and healthy communities, 100 Alabama Miles plans on holding more kickoff-off events in communities throughout the state. This will help participants become aware of what groups in their community that have taken on the Challenge and are out exploring their local resources, while logging miles towards a common goal.
The Challenge has also partnered with some state parks, including Wind Creek Park in Alexander City, for scheduled hiking events, and more partnerships are planned in the future.
Whether it’s participating in the Bigfoot Biobash 5k at Cheaha State Park in September, a relaxing Campfire Trail hike at Wind Creek State, or a float down the Cahaba River, the launch of the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge is a positive step forward for Alabamians looking to meet their health and wellness goals.
Written by Hap Pruitt for RootsRated Media in partnership with BCBS of AL.