Berkshire Mayors' Fitness Challenge draws all ages


Photo Gallery | Mayors' Fitness Challenge kicks off in North Adams

NORTH ADAMS — The former Sleepy's mattress store was anything but drowsy on Friday when more than 200 lively people turned up to kick off the third annual Berkshire Mayors' Fitness Challenge by working out with each other on the first day of the 10-week campaign.

There were tiny toddlers and bubbly seniors, and every age between. After the speeches, the workout began and lasted for nearly an hour.

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright was there to offer encouragement: He, too, is taking the challenge, as is Pittsfield Mayor Linda M. Tyer, along with a number of Pittsfield participants. Alcombright will be hiking regularly for his part in the challenge.

Participants will be working to build and track points by eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and participating in physical activity, noted lead organizer Amanda Chilson.

"It brings the community together for a positive cause — each person can work on their own health as well as the health of the community," Chilson said.

The highest point earners will receive prizes like gift certificates to local health and wellness providers, she noted.

Chilson said there are many community members who have donated time and classes providing a variety of fitness, nutritional, social/emotional health and tobacco cessation opportunities to participants. There are several new offerings this year, like mini-Challenge events and gatherings and technology incorporated into the 2016 Challenge.

Alcombright said the program is funded through a Mass in Motion grant administered through he Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.

"The Challenge has generated a new level of fitness in people here," he said. "Particularly younger people. And right now we have a lot of stuff going on around here having to do with fitness."

He cited health and wellness businesses based at Union Station promoting activities such as Zumba and yoga.

Alcombright said the campaign is important because good health bring better outlooks.

"Look at all the happy people here," he said, nodding toward the crowd exercising in unison. "It is bringing more happiness to the community because it brings better health to the community."

Alcombright said the first year brought out about 200 participants in North Adams. The second year there were about 600, and a total of roughly 1,400 people including participants in Pittsfield.


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