Active Ottumwa FAQs

1. What is Active Ottumwa?Memorial Park Girls

Active Ottumwa is a community-based research project that encourages all adults to be more active. Ottumwa community members and the University of Iowa used the latest research to design this project. Active Ottumwa will work with volunteer community members who are trained to be Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) to guide and support adults to be more physically active. Active Ottumwa is for everyone in Ottumwa, and is free AND fun!

2. What are the benefits of participating in Active Ottumwa?

Being more active can help lower your blood pressure, improve flexibility, boost your mood, increase energy levels, improve sleep, strengthen muscles, strengthen your heart, decrease stress, burn calories, lower your risk of diabetes, and much more! Plus, it is fun and a great way to spend time with friends, and to meet new ones!

3. Will I lose weight if I participate in Active Ottumwa?

The goal of Active Ottumwa is to promote and increase physical activity among Ottumwans. Regular and moderate physical activity may help with weight control or loss – however, if your goal is weight loss, you should contact your healthcare provider to receive additional expertise that will help guide you through the process.

4. How old do I have to be to participate in Active Ottumwa?

Active Ottumwa is for adults 18 years old and over. However, families and children are welcome to come with adults to the activities and programs.

5. Is there a cost to participate in Active Ottumwa?

No. All classes, sessions, and activities are free and open to the public.

6. What types of opportunities does the program offer?

There are many activities to choose from, including walking, cardio, and muscle strengthening. All Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) will plan their activity, which will have its own format and intensity level. We encourage you to try several activities to see which one fits you best. Examples of some activities include: Walking Clubs, Zumba, and Yoga.

7. What is a Physical Activity Leader?

A Physical Activity Leader (PAL) has one or more roles in Active Ottumwa that may include:

  • Community Outreach – informing others in the community about Active Ottumwa
  • Education – sharing information or materials about the benefits of physical activity
  • Activity Leader – organizing and conducting activities that will are free and open to all adults
  • Advocate – supporting efforts in the community to create and enhance more opportunities for physical activity

8. How do I learn more about the PALs and program opportunities?

Please visit the Active Ottumwa home page section of our website located here. There you will find biographies of all our PALs, along with a calendar showing the schedule of activities, description, location, and what to bring.

9. Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

You may send an email to, or call (319) 384-3479.  Feel free to stop by our office located at 205 E Main Street, and visit our Facebook page for daily updates on our program.

10. How much physical activity is recommended in a week?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend adults be physically active at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes each week, in addition to two days of muscle strengthening activities. There are many ways to get those 150 minutes every week: for example, you can do 30 minutes of activity (which you can break into three 10-minute sessions), for five days each week.

11. What is moderate intensity physical activity?

Moderate physical activity makes you breathe somewhat harder than normal. Examples include walking briskly (15-20 minutes to walk a mile), gardening, heavy household cleaning, jogging, and yoga. An easy way to estimate the intensity of activities is the “talk test” – if you are doing a moderate intensity activity, you can talk but not sing during the activity.

12. I am interested in becoming a Physical Activity Leader and or/volunteer; who do I contact?

Please contact Rebecca Bucklin at (319) 384-3479 to learn more.

13. I want to help with Active Ottumwa, but I do not want to lead sessions/activities; can I assist in another way?

Absolutely! We are looking for individuals to help us promote Active Ottumwa, plan/set up for events, assist Physical Activity Leaders, etc.

14. Can I start my own walking group?

Yes. If you are interested in starting your own group, please contact our office at (319) 384-3479. Active Ottumwa will provide you with training and resources to get you started. We can also add your group to the Active Ottumwa activities calendar.

15. I haven’t been physically active for some time; where should I start?

Everyone is at different levels, and that is okay – the great thing is you are thinking of starting, good for you! Beginning to move more in any way you can is what Active Ottumwa is all about. There are lots of different opportunities available and we can also recommend lifestyle changes.