Organized group walks will be part of the next stage for the Go Gurnee fitness campaign that launched last month.
Gurnee Park District Executive Director Susie Kuruvilla said more group walks and hiking trips outside of the village will be offered as part of Go Gurnee in the coming months, and 30-minute walks will become part of the park district's summer concert series.
"We are very pleased with the results of this initiative, which has only been in place for a month," Kuruvilla said.
"The community has embraced this initiative, and we definitely see an increase in the number of people walking in their neighborhoods."
Backed by support from leaders at other government agencies, clubs, religious organizations and businesses, the park district began Go Gurnee with a rally at Viking Park and a 30-minute walk that drew about 300 people on an inclement evening May 1. On June 1, about 100 people gathered at Viking Park for a Go Gurnee celebration that included raffle prizes and a 30-minute walk.
Kuruvilla said she was spurred into the initiative after U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy spoke about the physical and mental health benefits from walking at least 30 minutes each day during a national industry conference she attended last fall. Kuruvilla said the park district has used a Facebook page and other social media in trying to engage residents.
Go Gurnee was designed to prod residents into the 30-minute daily walking habit independently after the May kickoff, Kuruvilla said. She said at least 200 residents agreed to be Go Gurnee "champions" in May, a role that has them committing to walk 30 minutes a day and encouraging others to follow their lead.
Walking is a way to meet physical activity guidelines for Americans. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination each week, according to the surgeon general.
Separately, the park district announced Monday that a connection from the Viking Park pathway to the Lake County Forest Preserve District's Des Plaines River Trail has been completed. Officials said it ensures a safe way to walk, bicycle or run from Viking Park on Old Grand Avenue to the Des Plaines River Trail to the west.
"We have been waiting for a number of years to make a connection to the Des Plaines River Trail," said Jeff Reinhard, director of parks and planning.