At 57 years old, Governor Phil Bryant isn't slowing down. Between constant meetings and trips around the state, he still finds time to lace up.
"It creates a habit, a lifestyle," said Bryant.
That lifestyle is a routine run through the streets of downtown Jackson, which on a summer afternoon, we went along for. Keeping pace with the governor he exemplified the importance of his upcoming 5k Run for Health, which he wants as many Mississippians as possible to take advantage of.
"We've got to let people know how important physical education is and being active, not just knowing about it, how important it is, but getting out there and running," said Bryant.
With Mississippi topping the list in health problems from obesity and diabetes to high blood pressure and heart disease, Bryant says personal fitness and a commitment to healthy lifestyles need to become a priority if the state's image is going to change.
"Once you get started, once it becomes part of your lifestyle you hardly ever stop it. I intend to run as long as I can and then I'll walk," said Bryant.
"It's always good when your leaders step out like that," said The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi Executive Director, Sandra Shelson.
Shelson says the governor is leading by example.
"It raises awareness about the issue and it also shows ways you can address it and it helps keep the conversation going," said Shelson.
Shelson and Bryant both say the key to a healthy lifestyle is starting young, but it's never too late to start. Shelson says while personal responsibility is important, demographics, like poverty can also have an effect.
"We need to change the culture of behavior in Mississippi as it relates to our consumption of food and lack of physical activity," said Shelson.
With his 5k, that's just what Bryant is trying to do, while showing folks anyone can make a change.
"I want them to see it's not impossible. A lot of people think I just can run that far," said Bryant. "If we can get them out one time, I think they'll go home and say I want to do that again."
That, he says, starts by putting one foot in front of the other.
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