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  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view kebonner's profile
    Posted August 6, 2014 by
    kebonner
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Convince us your city is healthy!

    Birmingham Inspires

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     kebonner says Alabama has a bad reputation because of its high obesity rate, but there are cities like Birmingham that are trying to change that. And city officials have made sure any improvements are accesible to people with disabilities. She works for Lakeshore Foundation, an athletic facility specifically for people with disabilities or chronic health conditions.
    - JacqueCNN, CNN iReport producer

    I moved to Birmingham, Alabama from Miami Florida, and I guess you could say it was the exact opposite of culture shock- or at least that's what I thought. Until I realized I was the odd ball out because I didn't own a mountain bike or a kayak, had never been "trail" running and had never been to a farmers market. Within my first year out of college I was competing in my first triathlon followed shortly thereafter by my first marathon simply because all my friends were doing it. Saturday mornings consist of walking to my local neighborhood farmers market that is about a mile away or running to another farmers market that is 6 miles away. And hill repeats no longer require me to find an unused “on ramp” to an expressway. But the reason why Birmingham inspires me to be healthy is even better than all that! You see my husband has a spinal cord injury as the result of a motorcycle accident and uses a wheelchair to get around but regardless we are able to be active together here. We have an accessible walking trail and tennis courts in our neighborhood , we go biking, hiking, kayaking and even water skiing together. There is nothing that inspires us to be healthy more than being able to do it together- and in Birmingham we can! We have access to mountains, lakes, rivers, and trails right at our finger tips and the only barriers we face to being active are the ones that lie within us! We don't have to pay a gym membership to find accessible ways to be healthy (though we have those too) and we don't have to search high and low to find accessible walking trails or tennis courts. It's ALL right here! If you have never lived with an individual who uses a wheelchair than you can't fully grasp what a relief that is. There is no other aspect in our life that we can say that of. Every restaurant, concert, hotel, vacation spot, parking spot- everything requires work on our part to make sure its accessible. Birmingham offers us local accessible farmers markets and accessible recreation and that inspires us BOTH to be healthy! #healthyliving #accessiblerecreation #healthyfamilies #Birminghamrocks #healthycommunities #bamalife
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