Being a mayor can be a stressful job, and for Frankfort’s Keith Ogle, it helps to walk it off.
He’s sharing that message with residents by joining a host of municipalities in a nationwide campaign called Move with the Mayor.
Ogle said the Move with the Mayor campaign was an easy sell when he heard about it at a Metropolitan Mayors Caucus meeting.
“I thought that would be an exciting thing to be part of,” he said. “You get a little bit older and friends and family have health conditions. … Sometimes you really can help alleviate a lot of the symptoms through walking, changing diet and getting more physically active.”
Ogle, who has lifted weights for years, also now does his share of walking, too.
“Especially being mayor, it’s a part-time job, but I work about 60 hours a week, so you have to take care of yourself as well,” he said. “I started walking every day and I do want to encourage other people. It’s great for your mental state, but also like anybody else, I need to watch my blood pressure and blood sugar.
“It helps keep me together.”
He’s joining more than 60 mayors nationwide who have already signed on to the Move with the Mayor project, including Rick Reinbold of Richton Park and Kelly Burke of Evergreen Park.
The initiative is being promoted by the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, which pointed out that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S., killing 655,000 people yearly. But research has shown that healthy diets, not using tobacco products and exercising can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
The campaign in Frankfort runs Sept. 1 through Oct. 15 and includes village-sponsored activities will be posted on the village website www.frankfortil.org. Some residents have already offered suggestions.
There will be dancing with the Frankfort Square Park District, yoga, stretching events and meetings where village issues will be discussed as participants walk for a half-hour. There will also be a “Coasting with a Cop” bike ride with the village’s bike control officers. Activities will also be offered at Cedarhurst of Frankfort for residents of that assisted living facility.
Though the campaign is dubbed a “challenge,” Ogle said he’s not trying to pressure residents, just encourage them to do 30 minutes of exercise daily and have fun in the process. That could mean gardening or other recreational activity that gets people up and moving. He said the village has scenic areas that can make walking and other exercise pleasant, including “a beautiful downtown” and Old Plank Road Trail.
The campaign also has a physical activity tracker and other information at https://www.nationalforum.org/collaborations/mwtm/.
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“We’re looking forward to this, there’s a lot of excitement,” said Ogle. “You can make some friends, maybe find something you think will fit into your lifestyle and you can incorporate.”
Mike Stevens, a former village trustee, said he knew from experience exercise was a good thing and was all for the campaign.
“I can only relate it to my own position,” said Stevens. “I try to walk every day, have an app on my phone that tells me how far I walk, how fast and how many calories I burn.
“I think it’s important you exercise and keep moving.”
Stevens said the village had already done some important fitness programs, including a “Matter of Balance,” coordinated by the police department, which was geared toward seniors and their balance concerns.
“I hope a lot of people take part in it,” Stevens said.
Janice Neumann is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.