The Healthy Life Schools Challenge

Jordan and Kids Centennial Elementary School AssemblyHealthy Teachers + Healthy Students = Healthy Life. That’s the idea behind the third annual PacificSource Healthy Life Schools Challenge. Teachers and faculty from two school districts in Eugene/ Springfield, OR (Bethel and Springfield) have come together to compete in a month-long competition to find out which school (elementary, middle and high school) can eat more healthfully and get active. Now through May 10, more than 35 participating schools will compete in the wellness challenge to show us how they live a healthy life by replacing unhealthy snacks with fresh fruits and veggies and following the ‘Run/Walk for My Healthy Life’ Couch-to-5K program to train for local races. To help motivate teachers and students to run or walk a 5 kilometer race, PacificSource Health Plans is offering free entries to these races: Casa/Re/Max Champions 6K and Miles for Meals 15K, 5K and 1 Mile. Here’s a look at our ‘Run/Walk for My Healthy Life’ Couch-to-5K program:

Couch to 5K_four week_family guide

J Kent and Kid with CapeAssemblies were held at an elementary and a middle school in Eugene to kick off this year’s Healthy Life Schools Challenge activities. Former University of Oregon three-sport athlete Jordan Kent rallied students to get involved in the challenge by encouraging their teachers to eat fresh fruits and veggies and by training for a 5K race.  Kent also shared some tips on the benefits of heating healthy and getting plenty of exercise. Jordan is the founder of the Jordan Kent Skills Camp for boys and girls ages 6 – 12 that offer life skills education and instruction in football, basketball, and soccer, Jordan Kent.

Of course, the most important prize for teachers is that they’re improving their health and setting a good example to students. But, to add a little incentive, a $1,000 prize will be awarded to the elementary, middle and high school that consumes the highest percentage of fruits and vegetables.  School winners are encouraged to use that prize money towards improving the health of their school.

To learn more about the Healthy Life Schools Challenge or see how your school can get involved, visit HealthyLifeChallenge.org.

A Healthy Life Starts With You!

Adventures in CrossFit (Part 2)

In case you missed part 1, I was peer pressured into doing a month-long trial of CrossFit. I survived the month, and now I look like this:

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Photo courtesy of: foxypar4

Ok, not quite (but, I do look devilish in a kilt). While I was hoping I’d be transformed into a Scottish Warrior, I’m not there yet. That being said, I have felt some noticeable changes to my physical fitness. For example, after my first day, I almost puked and I couldn’t lift my arms. After today’s workout, I still can’t lift my arms, but I just had a slight tinge of “I’m about to puke.” I’ll take progress where I can get it.

Now that my month has wrapped up, here are some of the highlights (and lowlights) from my adventures in CrossFit:

CrossFit things that I’m good at: Running, jumping rope, and (some) ladder drills

CrossFit things that I’m bad at: Rowing, extreme sit-ups, or anything that requires me to lift weights

Hardest workout: Since every workout seems harder than the previous one, I’ll just reference the most recent. Today we did a workout named “Cindy.” Side note, if a workout has a name, that usually means it’s a monster, and you’ll feel like all your muscles were karate chopped the next morning. In this case, “Cindy” gives you 20 minutes to do as many cycles of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats as you can. I felt annihilated by about minute 4, and by minute 20 I was what I like to call “black out tired.”

Easiest workout: Does not exist

Sorest muscles as a result of CrossFit: Abs, arms, abs, legs, abs, back, shoulders, neck, abs (seriously, did I mention that my abs are sore?) butt, hands, and I’m starting to think my ears are sore. I need to ask Coach Jo why my ears are sore.

The most rewarding thing about CrossFit: Since it’s really, really hard, I feel a sense of accomplishment after every single class. Since I’m new (and for all in tense and purposes; a weakling), I rarely excel during a workout. But that’s the beauty of it. I’ve finally learned that I’m only competing against myself, and if I finish a workout, I feel pretty darn good about it.

The most humbling thing about CrossFit: I’m 90% sure the people in my class are cross-bred with velociraptors, because they’re maniacs in there. No joke, you should see these people in action, it’s terrifying (in a good way). So, while I know that only I’m competing against myself, being surrounded by such a fit group is inspiring.

This is Armando (The Peer Pressuring, CrossFitting Stallion that got me hooked)

This is Armando (The peer pressuring, CrossFit Stallion that got me hooked)

My trial has ended, and despite the fact that I’ve been complaining non-stop to my friends, family, and co-workers about always being sore, I’ve decided I’m going to keep going. Waking up early is rough, and I still hate the rowing machine with a fiery passion, but once I’m awake and at the gym, it’s actually really fun. Coach Jo and my 6 a.m. classmates are awesome, and starting the day with a kick in the butt is extremely gratifying. So while I’m not a Scottish Warrior (yet), you’d better believe that I’ll be tossing cabers in no time!

Huge thanks to everyone at CrossFit Revival, Coach Jo, and Armando (the guy who convinced me to try it) for giving me the chance to give it a shot. If you get a similar opportunity, I highly recommend you try it. Trust me, if I can survive it, anyone can.

Guest Blogger: Feeling Young at 60

Thanks to our pal, Sue for sending this guest blog post. Take it away, Sue!

Christie Brinkley was recently on the cover of People magazine, which is not notable, except she was in a swimsuit looking pretty darn good at age 60. Not too shabby!

Who? Why should I care? Even if you’ve never heard of former supermodel Christie Brinkley, my point is that this is the new 60. When I was a young thing, I pictured 60 as a pudgy little old lady baking pies, or a pot-bellied little old man on the couch in front of the TV with a beer. Over the years, I’ve gradually gained a different perspective. We all want to look good and be healthy no matter what our age. And you don’t have to be a celeb like Christie, Liam Neeson, or plenty of others to look fantastic at 60. This could be your 60.

The secret is that it’s not really a secret. It’s more like a wake-up call. To look good later, make your health a priority now and keep at it. You know the drill: quit tobacco, eat nutritious food, keep active, yada yada. It’s not that I have anything against pies, TV, or beer. Far from it! But I know I need to balance those occasional choices with making healthier choices most of the time. For me, that means eating more vegetables and less processed food, walking at lunch, and dancing my behind off at Zumba class.

Meet SueThe payoff. Okay. Most of us will never look like a supermodel or movie star. But working toward your own version of looking fantastic usually has the bonus of better health and feeling great. Think about how your own 60 could look: while your 60-something peers are spending big bucks on prescriptions and having to stop and rest half way up the stairs, you’ll save your money and have the stamina to sprint to the top of the stairs. You may not end up on a magazine cover (unless of course you are Christy Brinkley or Liam Neeson), but you’ll feel like you could be. When it comes to my 60, I hope to feel good about the way I look, and that’s not too shabby.

 

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