Lake Area takes challenge for Healthier SWLA - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Area takes challenge for Healthier SWLA

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The "Move To Lose Step it up 5k" is challenging runners and walkers in Southwest Louisiana to lead a healthy lifestyle by letting go of all the excuses.

"Just moving to get away from all the things that have us bound for not exercising ... Maybe depression, or finances, or your time," said Sharmita Rideau, Fitness Coordinator - KISS Project.

Part of the Dare to be Healthy and Partnership for a Healthier Southwest Louisiana, the program is targeting African American women.

"It was pretty tough because I'm not a runner, nor do I walk. But I think this is going to start us off to get me and my girls to get out and walk on a daily basis," said Anita Barker, Girlie Girls Mentoring Program.

In addition to the more than three miles, there were also obstacles along the way. During the second mile, runners had to do 10 squats each lap. The program is for all ages. Louethel Lastrapes is leading by example for her daughter Lydia.

"I'm not ashamed to say that I'm at 54 years old. It is very important health wise and heart wise -- emotionally and spiritually. It's your mind, body and soul. Keep moving," said Lastrapes.

For some participants, this was their first 5k.

"And what was so good about it ... It was a walk/run. You did what you could and try to finish as quick as possible but just keeping the goal in mind. Do what you can and just lose those things you probably wouldn't be able to do before. And that is just finishing," said Brandy Christian.

Finishing never felt so good for Freeda Beloney. Her weight loss journey began two years ago. Having lost more than 100 pounds. It's an emotional step across the finish line.

"It feels great. Knowing that all the obstacles I have overcome - I was able to finish this here, still being overweight, but I'm on the track to being healthy, working off the pounds, one moment at a time, one step at a time and one sweat at a time," said Beloney.

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