We've given some attention here to the basketball leagues and boxing gym that provide safe, positive hangout time for kids in the neighborhoods, but there's something bigger going on that involves adults as well: an emphasis on exercise and healthy lifestyles that includes walking, biking, even martial arts.
There's good reason, of course. Studies by the Sinai Urban Health Institute and others show that low-income and minority neighborhoods are particularly hard hit by obesity, asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Local residents and organizations are responding with a variety of programs. Here's a sampling:
- Humboldt Park In Motion (download poster here) will combine tai chi, basketball, bike riding, steel drum music and something called muévete ("move yourself") from noon to 4 p.m. on July 20 and August 10 at Humboldt Park, sponsored by the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness.
- The "WalkForce" in East Garfield Park gets together on Mondays through Wednesdays for healthy walking, with a goal of simulating a walk all the way to the New York Botanical Garden. A personal trainer is available for consultation on Thursdays. Learn more from Rishona Taylor at the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, 773-638-1766, x17.
- Students at Reavis School in Bronzeville are participating in the vigorous practice of capoeira, a form of martial arts and dance that incorporates some history along with fitness training. It's part of Reavis's Integrated Services in Schools (ISS) summer program; read Richard Muhammad's story here. Photo below by Eric Young Smith.
- Another ISS school, Marquette Elementary in Chicago Lawn, has partnered up with Healthy Chicago Lawn and Girls in the Game for exercise programs and has even gotten some moms involved.