Healthy Pittsfield: Cities accept fitness challenge

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Congratulations! You have survived another Berkshire County winter. After a season of spending more time indoors and eating heavy food to stay warm, are you ready to "spring" into health?

Be Well Berkshires, in partnership with Healthy Pittsfield, has been hard at work planning for the second annual Berkshire Mayor's Fitness Challenge. The objective of this 10-week challenge is to encourage and motivate the community to move more, be mindful of what they eat and drink, and work toward improving overall health.

For the second year in a row, Mayor Richard Alcombright of North Adams has challenged the city of Pittsfield to compete for health; which city is the healthiest place to live, work, play and raise a family. This year, Mayor Linda Tyer gladly accepted the challenge.

The basics

Individual or team challenge

• Sign up as an individual or as a team (example, a neighborhood team, work site team, etc.)

• Maximum of 10 people per team

• Prizes awarded for highest scoring team, individual, duo, senior and teen

Point system to eat better and move more

Each participant will track his/her points daily. One point will be received for every:

• One ½-cup serving of vegetables

• One ½-cup serving of fruit

• 8 ounces of water consumed

• Two points for every ½ hour of physical activity

There will be many opportunities to earn bonus points as well.

"I proudly lost 6.6 pounds and 2 inches in my waist. Thank you, MFC organizers for the incentive to pay attention to my health!", stated a 2015 MFC participant.

Weight loss is only one of the many benefits mentioned by participants, including improved sleep habits, improved diet, team building, lower blood pressure.

Building on last year's success, the Berkshire Mayor's Fitness Challenge promises to be bigger and better in 2016. You can look forward to weekly themes, a Healthy Dining Restaurant week, more free classes from local fitness professionals, exciting and fun bonus point opportunities, and a mobile friendly website for registration and for tracking your points.

Are you ready? Registration begins April 18 online at berkshireMFC.com. Registration will also be available at the Northern Berkshire or Pittsfield YMCA and at various events in April.

See North Adams Mayor's Fitness Challenge or Pittsfield Mayor's Fitness Challenge Facebook pages for more information or contact Amanda Chilson (North Adams) at 413-663-7588 or Morgan Ovitsky (Pittsfield) at 413-445-7069.

The Pittsfield Mayor's Fitness Challenge Kick-Off will be held Saturday, May 14, at the Downtown Pittsfield Farmer's Market on the Common. Pick up your participant packets and earn bonus points.

The North Adams Mayor's Fitness Challenge Kick-Off is on Friday, May 6, at 5:30 p.m., at 66 Main St. North Adams (the former Sleepy's store location).

Morgan Ovitsky is the Be Well Berkshires project coordinator, Healthy Pittsfield Partner.

This column appears in the Lifestyles section the second Sunday of each month.

The Healthy Pittsfield Partnership is coordinated by the Pittsfield Health Department and Board of Health. Partners include community residents, business leaders, health and human service professionals, city officials and health advocates. The partnership is committed to community based initiatives that will improve the health and quality of life of Pittsfield's residents and workforce.

For more information, visit www.cityofpittsfield.org/cityhall/healthand inspections/healthypittsfield.


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