Valemount Walks Around the World is off to a good start, and you can still join in.

The goal is for Valemount residents to “walk around the world” or the equivalent number of steps. The Northern Health initiative kicked off last month.

Village Councillor Hollie Blanchette’s report at the May 14’s Council meeting noted that 100 people had already signed up.

Registration is ongoing, and you can get your pedometer and login at either the Valemount Public Library, or at the Valemount Health Centre.

Valemount’s Dr. Stefan Du Toit is also looking for volunteers to help track the health benefits of the program. He suggests you come in once a month, and have basic measurements taken, like blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, waist circumference. Then in a few years, for example, those measurements can be charted.

“There is no point in doing things if you don’t know it’s making a difference,” Du Toit says. “If we can prove that it does, I think it is so much easier in the future to get funding for plans like this.”

Du Toit says by tracking simple measurements, we can learn a lot scientifically, which can potentially change the way we practice medicine in the future.

“With the new medical programs that we use, it is so easy to do those things,” Du Toit says. “If we can just get the data, there are all sorts of statistical analysis you can do.”

If you are interested, or have any questions, you can contact Councilor Blanchette at hblanchette@valemount.ca or 250-566-9095. If you’ve already joined the challenge and are having problems with the pedometer, contact Councilor Blanchette or a member of the organizing committee. They have some instructions that may help, and they are working to see if they can get replacements.

Also, a reminder to dog owners: Please know where your pets are, to protect them, and other residents. At least one resident who has joined the challenge has been deterred from walking, or has had to change her route because of off-leash dogs that are apparently alone in the street.

By: Korie Marshall