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Llano Chamber Executive Director Has 15-Minute Challenge for Everyone on The Longest Day

Llano Chamber of Commerce executive director Briley Mitchell keeps an active lifestyle by working out about three hours a day six days a week and as a professional photographer. He is challenging others to join him during The Longest Day by adding 15 minutes of physical activity. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

LLANO — Briley Mitchell is serious about getting his family and friends to examine their lifestyles and commit to changing their bad habits. Now, he has a challenge for everyone else.

The Llano Chamber of Commerce executive director has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association during its The Longest Day initiative, which is held each year on the longest day: the summer solstice.

This year, that day is June 21. On Thursday, Mitchell will add another 15 minutes of physical activity and is encouraging others to do the same. He’s even organizing a free night of activities at 8 p.m. at Badu Park, 300 Legion Drive. Yoga instructors will lead a 30-minute session, then Mitchell will be the first in the Llano River with his kayak. He hopes others will join him. The event will have free snacks and drinking water.

The Longest Day is an effort by the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness of the disease. Across the country, others are holding The Longest Day events during which they’ll host activities they enjoy and invite others to join them. During the events, people can learn about Alzheimer’s disease and how they can join the fight against it and other brain diseases.

Mitchell learned as he was researching his type 2 diabetes that there’s a connection between it and Alzheimer’s disease. He also discovered that physical exercise, particularly aerobic, is great for brain health.

“That's because it increases a person's heart rate, which means the body pumps more blood to the brain,” he noted. “But strength training, like weight lifting, may also bring benefits to the brain by increasing heart rate.”

On June 21, Briley is challenging people to spend 15 minutes moving, whether it’s walking, running, swimming, biking, or lifting weights, and keep up that effort for the next several weeks, maybe even starting a healthy habit.

“Just move it,” he said with laughter. “It’s a pretty easy challenge.”

While physical exercise isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s, Briley said studies suggest it can help control or delay the onset of some of the symptoms related to the disease.

Mitchell plans to add 15 more minutes on a cross-country ski machine on The Longest Day.

One exercise that benefits the whole body is swimming. For those who find they can’t take the pounding of pavement from walking or running, swimming, water aerobics, or other water activities are good alternatives.

But just walking for 15 minutes, even while shopping or performing another everyday task, is beneficial, Mitchell said. “You could go to the new H-E-B (in Marble Falls),” he said. “That’s a pretty good workout.”

Mitchell got serious about changing his lifestyle after he was diagnosed with diabetes. Experts now believe that type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s share a common protein that affects the brain. Mitchell’s dad was diagnosed with diabetes in 1978 and also has Alzheimer’s. Mitchell has dropped from a size 42 waist to a 32 since he got serious about changing his lifestyle. He wants others to consider making healthy changes as well, even if it’s something simple.

And that’s the beauty of The Longest Day challenge: He’s only asking people to commit to 15 minutes of movement, though he hopes they’ll continue the effort after June 21.

“I’m going to invite as many as I can (to participate),” he said. “I want us to stay active all day.”

Call the Llano Chamber of Commerce at (325) 247-5354 for more information about Briley's The Longest Day challenge.

Read more about The Longest Day event in Marble Falls.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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