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New Year, New You 2009 fitness challenge begins

Put on your workout gear, buy your fruits and veggies and get ready to get healthy because the New Year, New You Fitness Challenge 2009 is here. This work site wellness challenge, which starts on Wednesday, is available to all businesses in the Jamestown area. The challenge encourages participants to make healthy lifestyle changes by getting points for moderate physical activity, healthy eating and a variety of other wellness challenges. The cost is $7 per person and includes a T-shirt. We have more than 35 businesses participating this year! It is not too late to enter your business into the challenge if you call today!

The goal for each participant is to make improvements in your lifestyle -- not to be perfect, but to help give each participant the motivation to move toward a higher level of fitness, to consume a healthier diet and to live a more "well way of life." This week the goal is to start recording your exercise points: 1 point for every 15-minute bout of moderate activity and to eat five fruit or vegetable servings daily. Getting regular exercise and eating more fruits and veggies are two of the best things you can do to make your lifestyle more healthy. A serving of a fruit or vegetable is generally about half a cup or a small piece of fruit (think the size of a tennis ball) or one-fourth cup of dried fruit. A cup of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice counts (6-8 ounces) as 1 serving. For more information on serving size, check out the Web site below.

Fruits and veggies add fiber, micronutrients, minerals and vitamins to your diet. They tend to be low in calories and filling. Eating a wide variety and sufficient number of fruits and veggies helps to reduce risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases as well helps with weight loss. The goal of 5 daily servings will be incorporated throughout the challenge. We know most people will struggle to achieve 5 servings every single day, but if you can do it 3-5 times per week, that is a great start. Check out the Web site at for great recipes and an excellent video library of short clips about choosing fruit, recipes, etc.

The information on the New Year, New You Fitness Challenge 2009 is available at the Jamestown Hospital Web site. To access the information, log on to www.jamestownhospital. com and click on the Services button. Scroll down to Wellness and click. You can find all the information on the challenge, including all the forms. Contact Marla or Pammy at the Fitness Center at Jamestown Hospital 952-4891 for more information.

If you are not on a team, you can still participate by printing off the forms, reading the article in the paper and keeping track of points on your own. Get your friends and family involved. Watch for upcoming weekly articles on the progress of teams as they challenge each other toward wellness goals. Our goal is to make a healthier Jamestown one step at a time.

(Walter is coordinator for the New Year, New You Fitness Challenge)