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Challenge pushes healthy lifestyle

Every New Year’s we find ourselves making resolutions for the coming year. Often these goals are to fit in fitness, to quit smoking/drinking/eating carbs and sweets, get more sleep or to tame the bulge.

But many times college students find themselves so bombarded with the stress of studies, work and building professional resumes that they forget to include wellness and regular activity into their lives. That’s where the Live Healthy Iowa Wellness Challenge comes in.

The 100-day wellness challenge was launched as a way to promote positive and active lifestyles, and keep you accountable to your fitness goals.

“Accountability is really important in setting and achieving goals,” Assistant Director of Wellness Johanna Determann said. “One hundred days is a long time to commit to something, but what an accomplishment it would be to maintain the program for the semester.”

The challenge, which started on Jan. 23, will continue through most of the semester, ending on May 1.

Competitors can form teams of two to 10 people, and track either minutes of physical activity or weight loss, although according to Determann, more ambitious teams, like hers, are tracking both. Drake University currently has 13 teams signed up, comprised of students, faculty and staff.

“(The purpose) is to unite people — friends, family members, businesses, schools — in obtaining and sustaining healthy lifestyles,” Determann said.

First-year Mark Reiter is using the challenge to train for Drake Relays On-the-Roads Half Marathon.

“I’d like to maintain between a seven and eight minute pace for all 13 miles,” Reiter said. “I’m also planning on running a full marathon this summer, so I’m hoping to better prepare myself for that as well.”

Determann, however, already spends a lot of time at the gym — she teaches a handful of group exercise classes at the Bell Center — so she’ll be spending the next 100-days sampling new activities, such a water jogging and yoga, that are low impact and relaxing.

Determann and Director of Wellness Jana Peterson are spearheading the endeavor to get Drake University students involved not just in this program, but other fitness programs as well. Their goal is to get participants fired up about the competition, and to educate students on a myriad of wellness topics.

This semester, they’re hosting a Wellness Lunch Series, where people can meet for lunch and discuss ways to live a healthier life. The series topics will include stress management and making the most of each day, easy and healthy snacks, and frequently asked questions in sports medicine.

The duo are also organizing Pack the Track days — where they will try to get as many people possible on the Knapp Center Track to exercise.

“These programs are a great way to get your friends, floor mates, housemates or peers together to reach a healthier goal,” Peterson said. “It’s for anyone that is interested in living and leading a healthier lifestyle.”


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