Alderete: A choice for a healthier valley |

Alderete: A choice for a healthier valley

Faviola Alderete
Valley Voices

The coronavirus pandemic brought our community uncertainty, anxiety, loss, and isolation But it also taught us the value of things we might have taken for granted — our physical and mental health and the importance of community.

Faviola Alderete

So, as we return to our “new normal,” I am writing to share with you a new opportunity we have to prioritize our community’s health.

Over the past year, we’ve heard a lot about what exactly increases a person’s risk of COVID-19 sickness and death. Medical research indicates a correlation between chronic and autoimmune diseases with severe cases of COVID-19. This relationship is unsurprising, as the two primary causes of death in our county before the COVID-19 pandemic were heart disease and cancer, with suicide being the third.

The preventive care and insurance costs necessary to treat chronic disease are often cost-prohibitive, leaving many in our community without access to the health care they need. This inequity in access affects us all as emergency care costs and insurance premiums continue to increase for both insured and uninsured individuals.

While the cost of health care in the United States is prohibitive for many, we can look to upstream interventions to promote community members’ physical and mental health before they get sick, therefore reducing health care costs and, most importantly, the rates of chronic diseases and COVID-19.

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A recent study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. The study also found that “Patients with COVID-19 who were consistently inactive had a greater risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 than patients who were consistently meeting physical activity guidelines.” We know that physical activity, healthy eating, and socialization play a vital role in preventing and controlling chronic disease, mental health struggles and high-risk behavior in youth.

Mountain Recreation is proposing an upstream solution to the physical and mental health struggles our community members experience every day. Improvements at Mountain Rec facilities will allow for fitness opportunities valley-wide, made accessible to all with reasonable prices and one pass for all three facilities in Edwards, Eagle, and Gypsum. All Access Rec would allow community members to address their health concerns through community socialization and physical exercise: from diabetes and heart conditions to mental health struggles. Most of all, All Access Rec gives us the opportunity to come together.

I’m proud to support Mountain Rec’s proposed capital improvement project — All Access Rec — because of the co-health benefit it presents to our community. Community members of all income levels and abilities will have the opportunity to improve their health before they find themselves in the doctor’s office. So many chronic illnesses can be managed by what Mountain Rec is proposing, from diabetes and heart conditions to mental health struggles.

Mountain Rec is proposing capital improvements that will allow for fitness valley-wide accessible to all via Mountain Rec prices and with one pass for all three facilities in Edwards, Eagle, and Gypsum. All Access Rec would allow community members to help alleviate many of the symptoms of chronic health issues, decrease emergency room visits, and offer the opportunity for all of us to connect.

Mountain Rec is proposing affordable fitness and community connections. With free, safe, indoor spaces like the lobbies to be used by the entire community, Mountain Rec’s community centers will act as a hub that will bring people of all ages together and give them the space to be together. Additionally, Mountain Rec is in conversations with mental health organizations about ensuring space for those nonprofits in their community centers — thereby tearing down a barrier for those seeking help.

Mountain Rec may ask voters this November for permission to renovate and upgrade its three facilities in Eagle, Edwards, and Gypsum to provide these services. I ask that my fellow community members take a moment to visit to learn more about All Access Rec and see how it benefits all of us.

Let’s come together and work collectively to increase the health and well-being of our community!

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