Meet a Health Hero: Stephanie Ford

"If you believe that you can, with commitment, consistency and dedication, you will!"

» You can vote for Stephanie here from August 22nd through September 18th.

Stephanie Ford

Role: Founder of Pedal Posse Divas, a Philadelphia-based community for women who share a passion for cycling, hosting weekly rides; women’s biking advocate.

What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?
I am motivated to try to make Philadelphia a healthier place because a healthy community is a thriving community. So many of the illnesses that people are affected by are curable. If people would put time and effort into making healthier food choices, exercising daily (even if that means walking), we would begin to see how those simple things can make a huge difference in how we feel and look and to the overall quality of our lives.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
The turning point for me was seven years ago while at an annual doctor’s appointment. My doctor at the time informed me that because my mother was diabetic, I too would be diabetic in a few years. My mother passed away at 59 from complications of diabetes. I thought the nerve of this doctor to speak such negativity over my life. This also catapulted my fitness journey and gave me the motivation to become dedicated to my own health and to also commit to encouraging others to do the same. 

What policy would you institute to make greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
I would institute a policy where physical activity, such as gym class and/or a sports-related after-school activity, is mandatory. The obesity rate for kids and adults continues to skyrocket. Even more so for children living at or below the poverty level. Instead of free trans-passes for the bus ride to school, I would distribute bicycles instead for children who live within a certain distance of their school. Additionally, the Greater Philadelphia region could be a healthier region if policies are instituted for cyclists rights. There needs to be an advocacy and/or policy instituted for new drivers. As part of the written permit test or as a requirement for the driving portion, drivers need to be made aware of a cyclist’s right to “take the lane” and ride in the street. Cyclists are required to adhere to the same traffic laws as drivers. Unfortunately, most drivers are under the assumption that a cyclist doesn’t have a right to share the same space. Some cyclists ride for transportation and others for recreation. Either way, cycling is a great activity for health and fitness.

What’s the most important part of your health or wellness regimen?
The most important part of my health/wellness regimen is consistency. Consistency is key in making sure I’m doing the things necessary to continue to stay fit and healthy. There are definitely days that I struggle. But I have to always remember my why. My why is to make sure that I do not fall victim to making unhealthy choices that can impact the longevity of my life.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice or encouragement?
My number one health-related advice or encouragement is that you have to get your mind right. As with anything that you are trying to accomplish, it all starts in your mind. If you believe that you can, with commitment, consistency and dedication, you will!

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