Wellness Walk sign

Near the Peace Pantry in Cedar Hill, a Wellness Walk sign asks participants to do 10 squat jumps.

New signs with prompts designed to promote physical and mental wellness have been installed along five walking trails in Jefferson County, said Adam Peters, community engagement team lead with the Jefferson County Health Department.

Each of the trails, called “JeffCo Wellness Walks,” has 10 signs printed with a physical or mental wellness prompt.

“So you’ve got pushups, sit ups, doing hops on each leg,” Peters said. “We have taking five deep breaths, giving yourself three compliments and then giving someone a high-five or fist bump.

“We know that (physical and emotional wellness) are very closely tied closely together,” Peters said. “The better you are physically, the better you are mentally a lot of times and they go hand in hand.”

The Health Department bought the signs, and they were installed in early September at the Peace Pantry, 8100 S. Industrial Drive, in Cedar Hill; Hillsboro City Park, 10975 Hwy. 21; Arnold City Park, 2400 Bradley Beach Road; Pomme Creek Park, 1 Golfview Drive, in Arnold; and Northwest Jefferson County Sports Complex, 4900 Byrnesville Road, in House Springs.

“I’ve done them all and each one is a little bit unique,” Peters said.

He said the Health Department bought 14 sets of signs, which cost a total of $6,375. He said the purchase was funded with a federal maternal and child health block grant the department receives every year.

Peters said the Get Healthy De Soto group has a set and is looking for a location to install them. The city of Festus has a set and plans to put them up in Larry G. Crites Park, formerly called West City Park.

Peters said the Health Department has seven sets of signs left and is looking for a place to put them up.

“We are really trying to find a unique place where people could be a little more active if they had a better opportunity,” he said.

Linda Schroeder, board president for the Peace Pantry in Cedar Hill, said in a written statement that she has been getting positive feedback about the wellness walk there.

“I have been able to engage with some of those using the trail and it’s wonderful to see the impact projects like this have on residents,” she said.

Arnold recreation supervisor Teresa Kohut said she also has heard positive comments about the approximately mile-long wellness walks in Arnold.

“I think anything that helps make a walk more exciting, or just more interesting,” she said, “I think people enjoy that.”

Kohut said she hopes people use the walks and enjoy Arnold’s “beautiful” parks.

“If we can add that extra health benefit there too, well, that’s even a bigger bonus,” she said.

“I love that they have little mental health breaks in there.

Peters said he got the idea for the signs during the Health Department’s Spring into Wellness Program – a community activity challenge that ran from April to June at local parks. The activity included a wellness circuit with hand-made signs.

“What we found while we were doing it was people who were at the park would just start doing the prompts,” he said.

Peters said the new signs at the Wellness Walks has a QR code people can scan with their phones to receive easier or more advanced prompts.