Game On!

Published 11:08 pm Sunday, September 22, 2019

PF3kicks off Polk Fit Challenge Sept. 28


Game On! Get ready to get fit in Polk County.

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Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly (PF3), a coalition of nearly every health and wellness business and agency in Polk County, will sponsor the third annual Polk Fit Challenge in the month of October 2019. This year’s theme is Game On, and the kickoff is Saturday, Sept. 28, 10:00 a.m. to noon at Stearns Park in Columbus. Also, this year, the Polk Fit Challenge kickoff will be combined with the Polk County Senior Games and SilverArts kickoff event, both of which emphasize the importance of active living. There is no cost to participate.


“It’s time to put some enthusiasm into your workout,” Fit Challenge Coordinator Buffy Ashmore said. “Each October is an opportunity to set goals, find people who want to be fit with you, and measure your success. It doesn’t matter what your level of exercise is now. This Challenge is about challenging yourself to be better. It is simply a matter of exercising and logging your minutes of exercise on the computer. You’ll be part of a team, and at the end of the month your prizes will be better health and bragging rights.”


Nearly any type of exercise is acceptable, including walking. Throughout October, as you exercise, you log the minutes on your computer, smart phone, or other online device in the application “Challenge Runner,” which is part of PF3’s website: You and the teammates’ minutes are automatically combined in hopes of placing first, second, or third at the end of the month. Most teams have about five members, who might be a combination of family members, friends, co-workers, gym buddies, etc.


“We don’t give trophies or big prizes,” Ashmore said. “It is our hope that people will see through this experience the inherent need to exercise and will continue to exercise after the Challenge is over. At the end of the month, we give certificates for many different achievements, including Most Original Team Name, Consistency, Outreach and Most Participation. The ultimate prize is feeling better, looking better, and having better health. Now, those are things you can really brag about.”


To get started, attend the celebratory kick-off where you can register, get complete details, meet people, set up teams, and get a free T-shirt, while supplies last. The actual Challenge starts on October 1. Participants are encouraged to form teams of about three to six people. However, individuals can be assigned to a team. During October, every time you exercise, just log the number of minutes on Challenge Runner.


“If you have a personal tracking device, it can be linked to the website, and your minutes will be automatically added to your account,” Ashmore said. “You can also text your minutes. We try to keep the logging process as easy and convenient as possible.”


Some of the exercises that are acceptable in the Polk Fit Challenge are walking, running, hiking, cycling, dancing, Zumba, team sports (basketball, football, soccer), individual sports (tennis, karate, weight lifting) and swimming. “If it makes you sweat, it’s a good sport,” Ashmore said.


In past years, many local businesses have encouraged and supported their employees to participate in the Polk Fit Challenge. Some businesses have created teams of employees.


“This has proven to be a very good way to get people enthused, energized, and psyched about their health,” Ashmore said. “PF3 is all about promoting better health and wellness in Polk County, and this is just one way we do it. It is simple, fun, and by having teammates, you have people on your side cheering you on, reminding you to exercise, being there with you. Experience and studies have shown that people who exercise with other people tend to be more committed. Find someone — like yourself — who has wanted to start exercising and bring them to the kickoff. If you already exercise, join us and set the example. Do whatever it takes — but get up and move your body.”


For more information about the Polk Fit Challenge 2019 — Game On!, please visit online:


Submitted by Steve Wong