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Smart Commute Week builds healthy bodies and healthy communities

EMMET COUNTY -- Top of Michigan Trails Council is joining forces with Emmet County businesses and residents to gear up for the 4th Annual Smart Commute Week, June 3–7, when commuters are encouraged to explore alternative ways of getting to work, such as walking, biking or using public transportation.

“Smart Commute Week brings together agencies and residents who have a vested interest in active commuting,” said Carlin Smith, President for the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce. He said some are motivated to support the event because it encourages residents to increase physical activity and get healthier, while others support it because it strengthens the local economy and provides a strong sense of community.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan recently completed a comprehensive Community Health Assessment, covering a 10-county region across Northern Michigan. Analysis ranked obesity and chronic disease prevention as the top community health priorities. “Campaigns like Smart Commute Week are shown to increase physical activity, increase knowledge about exercise, increase the intent to be more physically active, and reduce risks of cardiovascular disease,” said Jane Sundmacher, Community Health Planner for the Health Department.

“The benefits to active commuting are nearly endless,” added Joshua Meyerson, M.D., Medical Director for the Health Department and Smart Commute Week participant. “From weight loss to stress reduction, studies have documented a multitude of physical health and mental health benefits of walking and biking."

According to research data, Smart Commute participants will be reducing their cancer risk, improving heart health and mental health, maintaining healthy brain function, and earning a better night's sleep. Moreover, regular walking and cycling have been shown to reduce signs of aging, and to prolong life. For more on Smart Commute Week and to sign up for the Commuter Cup Challenge, visit the Top of Michigan Trails Council online at, or contact Executive Director Jeff Winegard at (231) 348-8280 or

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Visit the Health Department online at, or call (800) 432-4121 for more information.