Early results indicate Amazing Pace plan working


Special to the Advocate


United Methodists in Mississippi have walked around the world nine times in the past six months and are healthier for it.


Since The Amazing Pace began in June at Annual Conference, significant improvements in key health measurements have been achieved. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward reported to leaders of General Conference delegations in Fort Worth on Jan. 26 that “626 pounds and 1,050 blood pressure points were lost in the first 20 weeks of physical exercise. Well care visits are up. Chronic medication compliance is up. Health care costs are running 33 percent less for Amazing Pace participants over non-participants.


“We are able to track chronic conditions and over time the impact of the wellness effort,” Ward continued. “For example, 40 percent of our clergy with diabetes are engaged in Amazing Pace; 78 percent report better nutritional choices and 90 percent report increased physical activity. Even more important are the testimonies, of increased energy, of better sleep, of fewer aches and pains.”


The Pacers have walked two, 10-week journeys — “The Sacred Path of Genesis and “Egypt Expeditions.” In the journeys, mileage goals are set and participants see how many miles they can walk during the specified period. Participants have pedometers that record either miles or steps taken. They also have devotional materials made available to them along with health and peer support. Currently 625 Amazing Pacers have pedometers and are qualified to participate in the program.


To increase interest and motivation during each journey, districts have friendly competitions to see which district’s participants walk the most miles. During the January Cabinet meeting, the highest walking districts for “Egypt Expeditions” were recognized with the Tupelo District receiving the Gold Award for walking the most total miles – 15,370. The West Jackson District walked 13,073 miles and earned the Silver Award, followed by the Starkville District walking 10,630 miles for the Bronze Award.


The Greenwood District was recognized as the most improved district having the largest percentage of its Pacers moving from sedentary to active during the “Egypt Expeditions” journey. Don McCain from the Tupelo District was recognized as “Most Inspirational” during the journey among fellow Pacers throughout the conference.


 “For all this we give thanks, remembering that health is not an end in itself,” Ward said. “Health is not, for us, the search for strength or beauty. Health is what is necessary for us to be in Christ’s mission faithfully, joyfully, fruitfully.”


The Amazing Pace plans celebrations of healthier lifestyle accomplishments at Annual Conference and encourages those members of the conference health plan who are not participating to join their fellow Pacers for the remaining two journeys.


Anyone interested in receiving their own pedometer and becoming an Amazing Pacer should contact Elaine Dye at Elaine@Lifebux.com.