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LOWER FRUITLAND — Broderick Mark was among the runners who opened Just Move It with a fast pace on a course near the San Juan Chapter house on May 14.

"I like Just Move It because it emphasizes moving around. I don't like being stagnant," Mark said after completing the four-mile run.

Just Move It is a program that offers free, non-competitive runs and walks in communities within the eight service units that comprise the Navajo Area of the Indian Health Service.

"It's a way to get people to come out as a community, as a family, as an individual to do some sort of physical activity," said Roberta Diswood, recreation specialist with the Health Promotion Disease Prevention program at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock.

The program launched its 27th season on May 6 in Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter. Before it concludes in Shiprock on July 30, it will visit 20 chapters in the Shiprock Service Unit.

Schedule changes this year eliminated stops at Berg Park in Farmington and in Cortez and Ignacio in Colorado.

Diswood explained the adjustment was done because the program is returning to its roots by focusing on the chapters within the Shiprock Service Unit.

"It's something we wanted to try. Life's always about changes. We wanted to see how it would do to focus on working with our chapters and having the chapters take more ownership of the events," she said.

An example of this collaboration was the help the program received from the San Juan Chapter AmeriCorps, whose members set up tables and booths for the event, Diswood said.

She acknowledged that people have asked whether Just Move It will return to Farmington.

"It could always happen, but we're seeing how this works," Diswood said.

San Juan Chapter resident Alana Bee and her nephews, Zyrrell Bee and Landan Bee, gathered at the registration table to pick up bib numbers.

"This is our family time," she said.

Carmelita Benally, of San Juan Chapter, held her three-year-old son's hand while walking west on Navajo Route 362.

She was there to set an example for her children about the benefits of exercise.

"We try to keep them active. We don't want them to be diabetic when they're older," Benally said.

There were 8,612 participants in the Shiprock Service Unit last year and 48,550 participants for all the service units on the Navajo Nation, according to the program.

The next stops are the Nenahnezad Chapter house on May 22 and the Upper Fruitland Chapter house on May 29. Registration opens at 6 p.m. followed by the start at 6:45 a.m. for both dates.

A complete schedule is available on the Shiprock Just Move It Facebook page or at www.navajojmi.com.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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