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Fitness Challenge promotes health, balance

The Cybex Room offers various machines for Fitness Challenge participants. (credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor) The Cybex Room offers various machines for Fitness Challenge participants. (credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor) The cardio room on the second-floor of the University Center offers two flat-screen televisions for people while working out. (credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor) The cardio room on the second-floor of the University Center offers two flat-screen televisions for people while working out. (credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor)

Carnegie Mellon is encouraging the campus to “Take the Challenge! Restore Balance.”

In an effort to promote health and fitness awareness on campus, the objective of the 2009 Fitness Challenge is to exercise at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week, and to make two smart choices a week.

The program lasts for six weeks, and participants are encouraged with a daily e-mail from someone on the Carnegie Mellon Fitness Challenge team.

Jessica Daluz, a junior business major, said, “The Fitness Challenge is a good way to get people motivated to exercise. I think sometimes people get so caught up in studying and extracurricular activities that they forget to take care of themselves and their health.”

Participants are encouraged to make two smart choices a week, such as taking the stairs one day instead of the elevator, eating an extra piece of fruit or vegetables, or drinking water instead of soda.

Each smart choice or exercise earns Challenge participants a sticker for the smart choice, or a colored-in block for the exercise.

The blocks are located on a wall across from the UC Equipment Desk. Each participant’s name is in a column with various colored-in blocks.

The crayons and stickers are available at the UC Equipment Desk.

If participants are wary about beginning a workout regimen alone, there are a number of fitness classes available to join.

Printed on the back of the Fitness Challenge information cards is a weekly schedule of fitness classes that take place in the UC Gym every day.

In order to take a class, gym-goers must purchase a card from the UC Equipment Desk with a certain number of hole punches available. Each fitness class requires at least one hole punch per class. There are single class cards available, but all cards purchased at the Equipment Desk must be purchased with a check.

The Fitness Challenge program is not focused solely on helping people get back in shape, but on restoring order and balance to participants’ lives.

Several yoga classes are available throughout the week and the Challenge coordinators encourage yoga practices and meditating as smart choices.

Elisha Clayton, a first-year CIT major, feels inspired when she sees the Fitness Challenge board with everyone’s name on it. “I have been thinking about working out more often now that I know there’s a program to help people stay motivated.”

Most people have that same sentiment about the program.

Dominique Davis, sophomore creative writing major, has been faithful to the Challenge, “but I keep forgetting to put my little stickers up there. I definitely get my workouts in but I haven’t been keeping up with coloring in my blocks. Either way, the e-mails remind me to keep going, and that really helps.”

Along with the daily e-mails, Challenge coordinators also plan sessions with specialists to help people fit more ways to restore balance in their lives.

Two sessions were planned for Monday in Rangos 2 with Chris Rose and Tracy Linza.

Chris Rose is Carnegie Mellon’s head athletic trainer and on Monday will explain why and how to choose the best walking and running shoes for fitness activities.

It is important to have the proper foot equipment, as serious injuries can result from wearing the wrong shoes.

Linza is from the Heinz School and will lead participants through a meditation experience in their chairs.

The session is encouraged for a quick release of tension anywhere in the body. There is also a professional personal trainer in the UC weight room every Friday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the month of February for participants who may have any questions about their workout regimen, or for those who need help modifying the intensity of their regimen safely.

The 2009 Fitness Challenge is slightly altered this year from last year’s program.

The introduction of smart choices takes the pressure off of having to work out as often, yet still makes an impact in a person’s weekly routine.

The goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, and for an added incentive, all participants who meet the six-week challenge will be awarded prizes and be included in a raffle on March 19 in the Danforth Lounge from noon to 1 p.m.