BREVARD COUNTY — Residents looking to get active in the new year can help their municipality earn the title of “Most Fit City of 2020” by participating in the fourth annual Health First Mayor’s Fitness Challenge.
Presented by United Way of Brevard, 11 municipalities have registered for the challenge, and participating is free. The eight-week challenge is scheduled to begin on Feb. 1, and a kick-off party will take place at 9 a.m. at the Viera Regional Community Center, 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way.
Other kick-off parties may occur on Feb. 1, and participants may check the “2020 Health First Mayor’s Fitness Challenge” on Facebook for more locations.
If a participant’s town or city is not included, they may register with the municipality closest to them or the town where they work. Each Friday, participants will be sent an email to log their total minutes of exercise each week.
“In the first year we had over 1,300 participants who put in 2.5 million minutes of exercise,” said Keith Heinly, senior manager of the community impact - health department for United Way of Brevard. “In the second and third year, we had over 2,500 participants who put in 5.5 million minutes of exercise.”
The challenge has grown from its first year involving nine municipalities to adding two more, with Cape Canaveral earning the title of 'Most Fit City' in 2017 and Cocoa Beach holding on to that title for both 2018 and 2019.
Adults 18 years and older that are interested in joining the “Great Weight-Off” are encouraged to weigh in between Jan. 20-31 at a Health First facility. Registration is free, and $500 will be awarded to the top male and female winner by percentage of total body weight lost during the challenge.
Children under 18 years old must be registered by a parent of legal guardian for the fitness challenge.
“We have changed the challenge over the years,” Mr. Heinly said. “In the past it was based on what our focus was, like last year we focused on more kids being signed up. We have had different types of bonus points year to year, but this year there will be no bonus points. It will just be based on minutes of exercise and participation rates.”
Based on the feedback given by participants at the challenge, Mr. Heinly said most comments given were encouraging.
Participants seemed to particularly enjoy the fellowship and motivation they received by attending events that each municipality may have held, Mr. Heinly said. A bonus for some was the health benefits that aided in their recovery from illnesses or injuries.
Different prizes, such as gift certificates for massage treatments or Andretti’s Thrill Park, will be awarded weekly to adults and children, and will be pulled randomly.
For more information, visit www.uwbrevard.org.