Credit: St. Joseph Healthcare

St. Joseph Healthcare offers the community the chance to get active in a supportive and fun environment with its Commit to Get Fit 5K/10K road race.

The event, scheduled for Sept. 29 at Broadway Park in Bangor, is the first of its kind presented by St. Joe’s.

Registered nurse Jess Taylor, manager of St. Joseph Healthcare’s Care Management Department, is excited about the Commit to Get Fit race because it is a way for St. Joe’s to demonstrate to the community that it is committed to helping people live healthier, more active lives.

Taylor spends much of her time working alongside patients who have chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, helping them to make manageable changes that contribute to health improvements. She said each patient is unique, making individualized, tailored plans are vital.

Her focus is working with patients to make changes that are meaningful to them that get them one step closer to their health goals.

Modifications to diet are often part of a patient’s plan and a new pilot program, in conjunction with the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, is helping patients include more fresh vegetables and fruit in their diets.

Patients are given a prescription, just as they would get for medication, but instead of going to the pharmacy they can go to one of four local farmers markets and exchange their prescription for fresh produce.

Taylor also works with patients on getting more movement and activity in their day in ways that are meaningful to them but also affordable — such as taking a walk rather than paying for a gym membership.

Taylor’s aim is to never work long term with patients and help them build a “toolbox” of knowledge and introduce them to community resources that they can continue to use on their own when they’re ready.

“I believe that as humans we fundamentally aren’t, and can’t be, siloed. We’re all part of a community, here to help each other,” Taylor said. “I help patients learn where to go for support and how to leverage resources to make changes that improve their well-being. The Commit to Get Fit is underpinned by that same philosophy. It’s a chance to commit to improving your health and well-being by getting active, but with the encouragement and fun that comes from being part of a group that are there to support you in reaching your goal.”

The Commit to Get Fit event offers a range of options for all abilities: a 5K walk or run, a 10K run, a virtual 5K and a kids 1/4-mile fun run. St Joe’s also is looking for race-day volunteers and everyone is welcome to come and cheer on the participants.

For more information, visit stjoeshealing.org/commit.