Farmington — With the sound of the San Juan River flowing nearby, Louis Duncan was busy stretching his arms and legs before the start of "Just Move It."
Just Move It is a program that offers free, non-competitive runs and walks in communities in and around the Navajo Nation.
Duncan, of Tse Daa Kaan Chapter, said he tries to keep active since retiring by walking and running each weekday morning
Three years ago was the first time Duncan participated in Just Move It and, so far this year, he has completed the events in Tse Daa Kaan and San Juan chapters.
As he looked at the number of people of all ages gathered in Berg Park on Wednesday evening, he said it was great to see children and teenagers in attendance.
"I think it's good for their health," he said, then returned to listening to the Christian blues music playing on his audio device and preparing for the event.
The Just Move It program started in 1993 with 20 communities in the Shiprock area.
It now includes the eight service units that comprise the Navajo Area of the Indian Health Service and offers events across the United States and Canada.
The program was designed to promote healthy living and eating as well as encourage individuals to change life habits, said Roberta Diswood, recreation specialist with the Health Promotion Disease Prevention program at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock.
By 6 p.m. the four registration lines were full and about 900 people had already signed up for the event.
Prior to the start, some participates had their blood pressure checked while others worked out in a mini-Zumba session.
Diswood led participants through a series of warm up exercises that included arm, leg and hip stretches and jumping jacks.
After the warm up, Miss Indian Farmington Farrah Duncan told the audience to, "Have fun and be safe."
Duncan said she was going to walk the four-mile course with two family members.
"Just Move It means for everyone in the area to come out and have fun," she said.
Walking along a section of the Berg and Animas Parks Trail System was Marcia Dobey, who participates each year in the Just Move It events in Nenahnezad Chapter and in Farmington.
"You need your exercise," the Farmington resident said. "I try to get time to do my exercise because work takes my whole day."
She did not know how far she walked but she enjoyed exploring the trail system.
"It seems like it's getting bigger every year and its good that everybody is hearing about it," she said. "(It's) trying to keep everybody healthy, learning that they need to do this to have a healthy life."
Irene Bedonie walked toward the finish area with her white Just Move It tag pinned to the back of her red jacket.
Bedonie, of Farmington, walked the trail with her terrier poodle, Squeaky, and her daughter.
"I'm glad to be part of it tonight," she said then added that she still has the T-shirt from the first Just Move It event that took place in Farmington.
Her and her daughter's participation is part of developing "a well tuned engine," which includes a routine of walking, using the gym at San Juan College and eating healthy.
"We feel good. This is part of the thing we are doing – the health kick," she said then added that she has noticed the difference since starting to exercise and that she has lost a few pounds.Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.