NORTH ADAMS -- An upcoming initiative aims to make the city a healthier place to live, work, and play, organizers say.

The first North Adams Mayor’s Fitness Challenge kicks off on May 5 and runs through July 11. Registration is open now.

Amanda Chilson, Mass in Motion coordinator with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, said the initiative’s main goal is to promote physical -- and mental -- wellness in the region.

"It’s something that is obtainable and simplistic," she said. "But people can also do it in their own way and have help and guidance ... City leaders, people who work in the community will be able to get involved and have fun competition at the same time."

Making exercise a group activity is one way people can become healthier, Beth Piantoni of Everyday Health said.

"If you have something to keep you accountable, if you know this group will be there at a certain time, it motivates you to be there," she said.

"Personally, since taking office, I have gained weight and become physically inactive," Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said. "When Amanda posed the idea of this Mayor’s Challenge, I thought it would be a great way to show the community that the city supports these efforts but also I am hoping that I will once again get my feet on the street and on the trails and begin exercising again."

Participants will earn and track points for healthy activities including every half hour of physical activity, every half-cup serving of vegetables or fruit, and every eight ounce glass of water. There will be an opportunity to earn bonus points or "fitness bucks" and both the individual and team that earns the highest number of points will earn a prize.

Each participant will receive a calendar that outlines multiple options to be physically active and nutritional opportunities to build points.

Organizers also wanted to highlight local exercise opportunities, such as Frog Lotus Yoga, Zumba in the Berkshires and walking trails.

"That way, someone can get a glimpse of the activity and say, ‘I can do this,’" Chilson said. "Maybe at first we’re intimated and don’t want to sign up for a class that lasts six weeks."

A planning team consists of Chilson, Greer, Piantoni, resident Sarah Gilbert, City Councilor Benjamin Lamb, and Northern Berkshire YMCA Executive Director Justin Ihne.

Registration is available online at nafitnesschallenge.com, as well as in person in the Mayor’s office in city hall, the YMCA, and Northern Berkshire Community Coalition office at 61 Main Street Suite 218.

To reach Edward Damon:
edamon@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 663-3741 ext 224.
On Twitter: @BE_EDamon

Fitness Challenge

What: North Adams Mayor’s Fitness Challenge

When: May 5 to July 11

Who: All ages in teams of 2 to 10

More information: nafitnesschallenge.com, facebook.com/NorthAdamsMayorsFitnessChallenge, 413-663-7588