RiseVT begins new day

ST. ALBANS — About 20 people from aged 4 to 90 braved chilly early morning temperatures and came to Taylor Park this morning to get in some start-of-the-day exercise.

The 6:30 a.m. exercise session was the first in a series organized by RiseVT, an initiative of the Northwestern Medical Center (NMC) and its community partners intended to improve the health of the community.

Participants made three circuits of the park, walking, running, or in the case of 4-year-old Landen, riding a bike. At each corner they paused to do lunges, squats, jumping jacks or arm circles.

All of the exercises could be adjusted based on the fitness level, which varied widely among the participants.

Jonathan Billings, NMC vice president for planning and community relations, was pleased with the turnout and the lack of rain. Each week the Wednesday morning workout will change, he explained, but the goal is to always offer a range of activities for people of all ages and fitness levels.

At least three mothers came with their children, with one of the kids joining the St. Albans City School walking school bus, as it passed through the park. On Wednesdays, city school has adult volunteers walk to school with students, forming a walking school bus.

RiseVT will be at the Dairy Festival on Sunday with healthy physical activities as part of the parade and a healthy giant jenga game.

On June 13, RiseVT will head up to Lake Carmi for more healthy jenga, biking and smoothies from noon to 2 p.m. at the lake and 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the sand bar.

RiseVT is a Franklin and Grand Isle community initiative. The grassroots healthcare reform action, building on efforts already undertaken and instituted by health professionals locally, aims to engage area children, adults of all ages, families, schools and organizations.

Anchored by NMC, and the St. Albans office of the Vermont Dept. of Health, it involves some 25 local partners whose expertise spans healthcare providers, schools, municipalities, state agencies, local organizations, businesses, media, and more.

RiseVT is funded by the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project having won a two-year $400,000 grant in 2014 to implement its programs.

More information is available at www.RiseVT.com, which will be updated regularly as new events and programs become available.