FORT ATKINSON – Fort HealthCare has announced a new, free community-based wellness challenge open to adults beginning May 4, to coincide with Mental Well-Being Awareness Month. Registration opens online Monday.
This six-week challenge encourages physical activity and tracking steps as a way to get participants moving. Steps and exercises are tools for healthy coping by decreasing the effects of stress on the body.
Tiffany Pernat, Fort HealthCare Worksite Wellness Specialist said, “Physical activity is so important for the entire body and all of it’s systems and should be done at a moderate intensity most days of the week. This can range anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes each day.”
Pernat added, “Aside from physical activity helping with overall health and values such as blood pressure, cardiovascular endurance, blood glucose numbers and weight, it has a positive effect on the brain, which can help a person when they are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, and can be a great coping mechanism. With exercise, I always recommend that a person pick something that they know they will enjoy and find fun, because it won’t feel as much like ‘work’ so it will be something to look forward to and maintain throughout time, thus creating healthy and sustainable habits.”
Traci Wilson, Fort HealthCare’s Community Programming Coordinator, said, “Walking (or any exercise) can help relieve stress in many ways. Short bouts of exercise can boost endorphins in the body, which can help reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression.”
Wilson added, “Everyone experiences some type of stress each day, which can affect our overall health. The key is to manage our stress and the quickest and easiest way to get out of our heads, is to get up and take a short walk. At Fort HealthCare, our mission is to improve the health and well-being of our community. We hope that the ‘Make Each Step Count’ Challenge provides a fun, engaging opportunity for people to challenge themselves by managing their stress with exercise.”
The challenge will also include two weekly tasks to complete. One will be a piece of weekly education and the other will be tracking steps. If one does not have a tracking device such as a Fitbit, Apple Watch or Garmin, an activity-conversion chart will be provided. Also, many smartphones have a tracking app you can use to keep track of your steps.
Additionally, throughout the challenge, there will be an interactive daily calendar that will have a daily challenge, weekly Bingo Bonus Challenge, health information and blogs to encourage ones progress. As part of the challenge, there will be prizes given to some of the top step-getters.
Pernat added, “This challenge is a great opportunity to get moving, come out of an exercise-funk you may be in, or to continue with your current exercise plan.
At Fort HealthCare, health and wellness is a top priority, and if we can have a little fun and friendly competition with others in the community, we hope it sparks lifestyle habits that continue for participants beyond the challenge dates.”
The challenge will encourage 10,000 steps a day throughout the six-weeks. The prize structure will start at 5,000 steps a day to inspire those individuals who are just starting their fitness journey, or those who have taken some time off and are jumping back in.