Fit and Fun in the Sun

RTA fest offers way to get outside and moving

While obesity rates continue to rise nationwide, local initiatives are helping to promote and facilitate healthy lifestyles in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The Washington County Board of Developmental Disabilities is working to instill healthy choices at a young age through their Preschool Family Style Dining Program. Funded in part by the Marietta Community Foundation’s first grant cycle, the program teaches children how to serve themselves healthy food options independently. The effort is intended to prevent childhood obesity by educating children about healthy food choices early on to promote lifelong health.

Healthy children grown into healthy adults, yet without access to fitness equipment it can be difficult to exercise regularly. The new adult playground, also partially funded by the Foundation, provides such access to a variety of outdoor exercise equipment.

Located in Muskingum Park near the bike trail and the Washington Street Bridge, the playground includes nine pieces of outdoor fitness equipment for the upper and lower body. Open to all, the park is ideal for senior citizens and those who need low impact exercise options. Benches around the equipment provide resting areas during walks, workouts and community events.

One upcoming event brings attendees from all over for a variety of outdoor activities that take advantage of the areas beautiful natural features. The annual Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival (RTA Fest) utilizes Marietta’s bike trails, which total more than 30 miles, for a variety of biking, hiking, scavenger hunts and more.

Held from Aug. 10 to 13, the event offers a great way to get the whole family outside and moving. Not only does it encourage residents and visitors to have fun with fitness, proceeds from the event also benefit Marietta Main Street and the Marietta Trail Maintenance Fund, held by the Marietta Community Foundation.

Health and recreation are just one component of the many philanthropic areas the Foundation supports. Yet it is clear donors and community members support the efforts to build a stronger, healthier community. “Our donors and fund holders shape all that we do for the area,” said Heather Allender, president and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “We hope these latest initiatives and the upcoming RTA Fest will continue to encourage support for a healthy and active MOV.”

Heather Allender is president and CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation.

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