YOW Partners are going beyond “talking the talk” and are now “walking the walk.” Thanks to a grant secured by Tillamook Regional Medical Center (TRMC), funding from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program has led to the formation of several walking groups in Tillamook County.

According to Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities, walking is a free, accessible and research-based method for improving health. A practice of regular walking has many benefits. Brisk walking boosts energy levels as well as energy expenditure. Increased activity through walking reduces the effects of sitting, improving strength and function of the heart as well as oxygen flow through the body – all factors known to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and Type 2 Diabetes.

In addition to these health impacts, walking also has many practical benefits. It can be an efficient and inexpensive form of transportation and helps enhance mood and problem-solving skills. Walking with family, friends, co-workers and community members also expands our social ties. Current research highlights the important role social support plays in preventing chronic disease and improving mental health.

This Community Partnership Program grant is intended to support increased walking in communities like ours. “Two decades of research have demonstrated that physical activity reduces the risk of both primary cancers and cancer recurrence and may alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue, poor sleep and depression in cancer survivors and in turn improve their quality of life.”

While groups are open to anyone, cancer survivors and their families are especially encouraged to participate. “This ongoing support from the Community Partnership Program will help our community to meet mental and physical needs for cancer survivors in Tillamook County,” stated David Butler, CEO at TRMC.

The Step It Up! Kick off begins the first week in April. Groups meet for 30 minutes at least once each week in six different locations throughout the county. Walking groups are open to anyone and registration is FREE. Participants will have chances to win prizes for attendance and recruitment. Here are the locations, days/times for the groups – throughout Tillamook County:
North Tillamook County Walking Group
Where: Neah-Kah-Nie High School Walking Track, 24705 N Highway 101, Rockaway Beach
When: Tuesdays 8:00 – 8:30 AM (Starts April 3)

Central Tillamook County Walking Groups
Where: Tillamook County/OSU Extension Office, 4506 Third Street, Tillamook*
When: M/W 9:30 – 10:00 AM (Starts April 2)

Where: YMCA, 610 Stillwell Ave, Tillamook*
When: T/TH 7:00 – 7:30 AM (Starts April 3)
When: T/TH 12:15 – 12:45 PM (Starts April 3)

Where: Bud’s Fitness Trail, Tillamook Junior High School, 3906 Alder Lane, Tillamook
When: Saturdays 9:00 – 9:30 AM (Starts April 7)

South Tillamook County Walking Group
Where: Kiawanda Community Center, 34600 Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City
When: Mondays 3:15 – 3:45 PM (Starts April 2)
When: Wednesdays 10:00 – 10:30 AM (Starts April 4)

Groups will walk outdoors, rain or shine. Comfortable shoes, gloves and a rain jacket are recommended.
*Groups with indoor walking options during inclement weather include OSU Extension and Tillamook YMCA.

“There is overwhelming evidence that combining physical activity and regular social support lead to improved health outcomes. We are excited to be part of making this happen and hope to see these and many more groups form in the coming years,” says Michelle Jenck, Step It Up! Project Lead and YOW Coordinator through the Tillamook County Community Health Centers. “We want to thank the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program, Tillamook Regional Medical Center, The Rinehart Clinic, North County Recreation District, Neah-Kah-Nie High School, Tillamook County Community Health Centers, OSU Extension, Tillamook County Family YMCA, the Kiawanda Community Center and all of our volunteer walking group leaders for making this possible.”

REGISTRATION REQUIRED – REGISTER HERE: http://tillamookcountyhealthmatters.org/step-it-uptc/
For more information, email kclark@co.tillamook.or.us or call (503) 842-3900 x4010.

This project is funded through the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership
Program. This program is designed to build sustainable collaborations with Oregon communities by providing grants and other resources to foster development of community‐identified cancer
prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship projects. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has made a decade‐long commitment to invest in this program to develop robust, sustainable programs that benefit the health of all Oregonians. Additional information about the program is available on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s website.