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VOL. 127 | NO. 144 | Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Smartphone App Helps Memphians Stay in Shape

By Aisling Maki

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The Shelby Farms Park Conservancy has teamed up with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. to launch a free wellness app called ShelbyFit, specifically designed to meet the health and fitness needs of Memphis-area residents.

“Shelby Farms Park Conservancy and Baptist are neighbors in the community,” said Laura Adams, executive director of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, the nonprofit that manages and operates the park. “We developed an app together to show Memphians how easy it is to get moving and track their progress. We have so many resources at Shelby Farms Park that Memphians of all ages can use to achieve their personal fitness goals.”

The smartphone app, developed by Speak Creative LLC, directs users to trail and recreation information for Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline.

But it also uses GPS to help them locate their nearest parks, from Downtown’s Tom Lee Park to Millington’s Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park to Bartlett’s Nesbit Park/Stanky Creek, a favorite of mountain bikers.

The app provides information such as track walking and running trail routes and distances.

Ashley Compton, senior public relations coordinator at Baptist Memorial Health Care, said the app also helps individuals find the nearest places to participate in their favorite activities, including racquetball, canoeing, hiking, soccer and horseback riding.

“We were looking for something that was beneficial to everyone in the community … we’re slowly uploading information about all local parks and what you can do at those parks, like play basketball or walk around the track,” Compton said.

ShelbyFit allows users to enter their height and weight to find their body mass index, set fitness goals, log their progress and post updates to their Facebook and Twitter accounts if they’d like to share information with friends and followers.

The app also features a calendar of local races and other fitness-related events and updates on free community health fairs and resources.

In addition, the app includes healthy lifestyle tips and articles focused on topics such as skin cancer awareness, diabetes prevention, choosing heart-healthy fats and tips about thwarting encounters with potentially dangerous wildlife such as copperhead snakes and black widows.

Christy Fernandez, a registered dietitian at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis said she plans to help develop additional healthy lifestyle tips focused on the most common chronic conditions seen in the Mid-South.

She said many people mistakenly think eating healthy is enough, “but they forget how important exercise is – not just from a weight standpoint, but you have to remember the heart is a muscle. If we don’t keep fit, things like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease can kick in.”

The American Heart Association says moderate activities such as walking or gardening for at least 30 minutes most days can improve your heart health.

ShelbyFit is available for free download in the iTunes App Store.

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