Movement is Life partnered with Grace Baptist Church’s Young Adult Ministry on July 14 and 15 for its annual 5K Race for Education, a walk/run in Mount Vernon, N.Y. More than 350 people participated in the event, which had a twofold purpose: to raise funds to support the church’s educational programs and to educate the community on the importance of staying active.

“Young adults in this ministry have built an intergenerational event that encourages members of the community of all ages to walk, run, jump or stroll and remain mobile because movement truly is life,” said Rev. Willis Steele, M.Div., Senior Advisor to the Conference of National Black Churches and a Movement is Life charter steering committee member. “Everyone, from those in their 70s down to the youngest participants, is taught the importance of being active.”

The two-day event began Friday evening with a pre-5k pasta night. Activity trackers were distributed to the more than 75 attendees, and computers were set up around the room to encourage participants to familiarize themselves with the Movement is Life Journey online tool. The tool educates and informs visitors about osteoarthritis and provides tips on how to keep moving.

Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, shared with attendees at the dinner the importance of mobility and how taking preventive steps to avoid joint issues can be life changing.

“Osteoarthritis, especially in the knees, can lead to a vicious cycle of limited mobility, lack of activity and obesity,” said Rev. Richardson. “This issue disproportionally affects African Americans, so don’t become hostage to your pain. Start moving. Movement can help you avoid osteoarthritis, which can lead to immobility, depression, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Members of GirlTrek, a faith-based national coalition of women who walk and run weekly, shared their success in getting women to gather weekly to exercise together and reinforced the earlier message of breaking the vicious cycle.

Movement is Life addresses gender, racial and ethnic disparities in muscle and joint health. Using a combination of outreach and education strategies, the coalition promotes early intervention to slow musculoskeletal disease progression, reduce disability and encourage physical activity and daily movement. The website, Start Moving Start Living, raises awareness about mobility as a means to improve quality of life. Through this initiative, Movement Is Life educates and helps communities, healthcare partners and other stakeholders improve mobility and promote better health across the United States.

Grace Alive Church Members at Walk