When Mayor Jonathan Rothschild challenged Tucson in January 2014 to move a million miles as part of his ongoing campaign to boost health and wellness, even his partnering organizations thought it might take a while to get to the goal.
But already, the mayor said at a press conference Friday, Southern Arizona residents have logged more than 1.1 million miles through cycling, running, walking and swimming. “People thought this would take forever – my staff included – but once again, Tucsonans have come through,” the mayor said, noting that a healthy, fit community is a happier, more prosperous one.
The mayor thanked partnering organizations, including Tucson Medical Center, the Southern Arizona Roadrunners and the Perimeter Bicycling Association, for their assistance in supporting the campaign and building awareness.
When community members ask why Tucson Medical Center sponsors so many walks and runs and fitness events throughout the community, there is a simple answer, said TMC Vice President of Community Benefit Julia Strange.
“We have long believed that good health extends far beyond the walls of the hospital,” she said. “And we believe we have an obligation as a health care provider to help people understand the benefit of physical activity in terms of their own personal health as well as the collective health of the community.”
Strange thanked the mayor for his leadership and thanked the community for its collaboration in promoting opportunities for people to take better charge of their health.
Pima County Health Department Director Francisco García, a medical doctor, said physical activity has clear benefits in reducing the risk of heart disease, as well as elevating overall health and positively impacting children’s health. And while there is still work to be done, he noted, Pima County does have some bragging rights: “Adults in Pima County are more physically active than their counterparts in other Arizona counties and across the country. That’s something we can be proud of.”
While participants can still record miles at MayorRothschild.com/move, the mayor also announced a new effort to celebrate Fitness Month in May. Free fitness classes will be offered at various parks and community spaces throughout the month, with details to come soon.