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Our View: Getting fit takes a community effort

3:54 PM, Apr. 4, 2013  |  Comments
This month's 13 for '13 section will highlight readers' choices of top local spots to get active.
This month's 13 for '13 section will highlight readers' choices of top local spots to get active.
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This weekend we'll publish the latest edition of our health-focused special section, 13 for '13. This project of Gannett Central Wisconsin Media began last year as 12 for '12, and we're continuing this year to engage the community and offer helpful information to help readers achieve their own personal health goals.

This is a big deal because we all need to find ways to live healthier lives - and often the best way to make lasting changes is by building social capital. We've all made pledges to ourselves to exercise more, stress out less, quit smoking or otherwise become healthier. But as long as we're facing those goals by ourselves, they're going to be elusive. We're going to feel frustrated, and we're going to backslide.

When we get engaged with others, though, we have a much better chance of breaking that cycle. There is a lot of evidence to back that up, and it's also totally intuitive: When we tell others about our goals, we stand a better chance of achieving them because our friends and family can provide support and accountability. When we're engaged in a community of other people who are doing healthy things, we're more likely to do them ourselves.

Getting healthy, in other words, is a community effort.

Lucky for us, we have a strong community all around us. And with 13 for '13, we're trying to help that community grow.

? On our 13 for '13 Facebook page, readers can leave comments or share tips and encouragement. (Search "13 for '13" in Facebook to "like" the page.)

? We've also started a Pinterest page, which you can find by going to www.pinterest.com/wausauherald.

? Visit www.wausaudailyherald.com/13for13 to find our 13 for '13 links and stories in one place.

We hope you'll join us. It's fun, an opportunity to learn something and it will help you meet your personal goals.

This weekend's 13 for '13 section in our print edition - you'll find it with your Sunday paper - is a special one that pulls together the wisdom of the community. We're publishing our readers' top spots throughout the region for fitness and health activities. We began in January asking readers to share their favorite spots for a swim or a hike, a bike ride, a round of golf and much more. They responded with a host of favorites - some familiar, some off the beaten path.

It's always fun to read the results of surveys like this, but it's something else, too: Inspirational. We all know we're lucky to live in a place that offers so many opportunities for outdoor recreation and other forms of exercise. It's impossible to read our readers' list of favorite places without wanting to visit some of them. It makes us want to strap on our hiking boots or fill the air on our bike tires.

And after the winter we've had, this is an entirely welcome feeling.

Take a look for yourself, and tell us what you think. Did we miss any important categories or places? What fitness tips and activities do you value? And beginning Saturday, you can fill out one of our Commit to Change checklists for April to hold yourself accountable and be entered in a drawing for a $50 grocery gift card.

When it comes to being healthy, we need each other. We want 13 for '13 to be part of the community effort to get healthy. Get involved, and help yourself and your community.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports