Chicago Sky

(L to R): Chicago Sky players Gabby Williams, Courtney Vandersloot, and Jamierra Faulkner huddle during a game. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sky.)

Chicago, it’s time to face the facts — we’re not topping the charts when it comes to our city’s health and wellness practices. In fact, Men’s Journal’s Fittest and Fattest Cities in America roundup has named us the No. 24 fattest city. We don’t even have time to tell you ALL the reasons why this is bad news for the health of Chicagoans. For now, let’s focus on one big, bad correlation that we should all be concerned about: obesity and stroke. 

By the time you finish reading this, nearly eight people will have suffered from a stroke.

Terrifying, right? Each year, nearly 800,000 people are affected by a stroke, or “brain attack.” Strokes can afflict anyone at any time. What if there was a simple way to help prevent a “brain attack” from occurring?

Laura Baker of the Wake Forest School of Medicine states that regular aerobic exercise “could be a fountain of youth for the brain.

Chicago Sky

Chicago Sky Fitness Festival 2017 (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sky.)

Data from the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research found that physically active men lowered their risk of stroke by two-thirds. Reports from the Nurses’ Health Study found physically active women decreased their risk of stroke by 50 percent.

Believe it or not, our state ranks smack dab in the middle for its citizens’ health. According to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings 2016 annual report, Illinois earns spot 26.

Hitting particularly high on the charts are Chicago’s numbers. We rank similar to the national rates of high blood pressure and obesity. Alarmingly, the rate of high cholesterol for Chicago is twice what is reported nationally at 12.9 percent.

Chicago Sky

Chicago Sky Fitness Festival 2017 (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sky.)

As we hit the peak of summertime, WNBA’s Chicago Sky and University of Chicago Medicine aim to launch a healthy summer for all of Chicagoland. Through their partnership, the organizations are hosting the inaugural #ChicagoFit Health and Fitness Festival, involving a free basketball clinic and health fair.

On Sunday, July 8, the organizations will invite the City of Chicago to Soldier Field to be a part of history. The day will begin with an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest multi-venue basketball clinic, currently held by NBA’s Golden State Warriors all-star player Kevin Durant. Last year, he broke the world-record for hosting a 3,459-kid clinic in India.

Chicago Sky

On July 8, the Chicago Sky invites Chicagoland to help make history (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sky.)

“We’re confident if we break it, it will stay for a long time,” says Jim Burda, Chief Revenue Officer of the Chicago Sky.

The clinic will be led by Sky coaches Amber Stocks and Awvee Storey at both the Soldier Field lot and Wintrust Arena; Sky and Special Olympics athletes will be in attendance.

Following the world-record attempt, attendees will have access to a health and fitness festival, featuring 30 vendors and free health screenings and fitness assessments.

By hosting #ChicagoFit in July, the Sky and UC Medicine hope to inspire people of all ages living in Chicagoland to be more conscious about their health this summer.

Chicago Sky

Chicago Sky Fitness Festival 2017 (Photo courtesy of Chicago Sky.)

Almost every Chicago sports team is scheduled to make an appearance, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox.

University of Chicago Medicine is the official medical provider, sponsor, and jersey contract for the Chicago Sky. In addition to preseason cardiac screenings for the team, UC Medicine is providing comprehensive player and patient-centered services in orthopedics and sports medicine, women’s health and primary care.

For more information about #ChicagoFit and for registration, visit the Chicago Sky website.

 

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Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.