Walkers–some fast and some slow–are regularly winding their way through the streets of Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville on a mission to help turn Central Florida into the healthiest community in the country.
The walks, open to anyone of any age, are part of Healthy Central Florida (HCF), a unique community-based partnership aimed at helping Central Floridians move more, eat healthier and get connected.
Launched about a year ago with help from Dr. Mehmet Oz, HCF was founded by Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) and Florida Hospital.
The primary focus for HCF is policy and environmental change. Research shows that behavior is impacted by environments – workplace cultures, family dynamics, school settings and community-level conditions.
To help lead the way, HCF has convened community leadership teams, including each community’s mayor, with representation from various sectors such as business, faith, education, health care and government. The teams are working to develop healthy action plans for their communities.
In addition, HCF has spawned walking clubs and hosted the Mayors’ Sole Challenge–a lively walking event that had mayors from Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville competing to see who could draw the most residents to the walk. The October event attracted more than 500 walkers, seen walking in the photo on the front of the website. Eatonville Mayor Bruce Mount won this year’s competition.
As mentioned earlier, the walking clubs are available to anyone, and city officials often walk along. Here is the current schedule:
Winter Park Walks
–Winter Park Community Center – Wednesdays 7 a.m., walk with the Winter Park City Commissioners – 721 West New England Ave. – Free
–Chamber of Commerce – Thursday 8 a.m. and Fridays 10 a.m.- 151 West Lyman Ave. – Free
–Maitland Public Library – Thursdays 6:30 a.m. – joined periodically by Maitland City Council members – Following the walk, enjoy a light breakfast and coffee. 501 South Maitland Ave. – Free
–Hungerford Prep Cafeteria – Monday & Wednesdays 7 a.m. – Walk and Talk with the Mayor – 100 E. Kennedy Blvd.
For other activities, HCF offers a web-based tool to help residents easily find fun ways to be active primarily in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville — www.FindActiveFun.org. This interactive tool enables visitors to discover community resources, fitness classes, parks, trails and events—many at no or low-cost—for individuals and families. The search can be customized by details such as zip code, neighborhood, date, time available and environment. Those who visit also can submit information on new activities.