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Registration for Live Healthy Iowa kicks off today

Published: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 10:51 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 11:09 a.m. CDT
Eli Hoffman of Creston, front, completes a squat last August inside the Southern Prairie YMCA while Gordon Hughes, behind, begins a set of curls. Team registration for Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Fitness Challenge begins today online at livehealthyiowa.org. Registration is $20 for each participant.

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Looking for a way to stay motivated for fitness and weight loss goals after the new year starts?

Team registration for Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Fitness Challenge begins today online at livehealthyiowa.org. Registration is $20 for each participant.

Live Healthy Iowa Director Nicole Bruce gave a 45 minute presentation to individuals and business representatives at Greater Regional Medical Center Friday to encourage teams from the area to participate.

Live Healthy Iowa started as a prototype in 2002 and has grown to more than 30,000 participants in all 99 counties in 2013. The web-based challenge offers a chance to track activity minutes and/or weight loss.

“We launched our website in 2007 and then relaunched a new platform just a couple of years ago,” Bruce said. “So just a lot of upgrades that makes it easier for each individual user to get the access that they need to participate.”

New for 2014 is the ability to sync your Live Healthy Iowa profile with a variety of apps and devices. Individuals can also design specialized fitness plans and easier reporting features.

In Creston, the Southern Prairie YMCA fitness classes organize into teams to participate in the challenge. Individuals who do not have a membership will still be able to purchase a pass to some classes after registering for Live Healthy Iowa.

Participants can also take advantage of a discount for a statewide finale 5K. Bruce said it may be a good goal to use the specialized fitness plan to prepare for the race.

“Especially this time of year when people are really recommitting to fitness, people start out with a bang,” said Executive Director Jacki Steffen. “With Live Healthy Iowa, there’s incentives along the way, and the Y is going to be encouraging that, as well.”

Healthiest state

Live Healthy Iowa is a supporter of Gov. Terry Branstad’s effort to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.

Iowa is currently ranked ninth in the polls, jumping from 16th in 2012.

Progress is measured by the Gallup-Healthways-Well-Being Index which tracks five domains that make up an individuals well being — purpose, social, financial, community and physical.

“Making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation is not only critical to the economic viability of our state, but also critical to the quality of life for all Iowans,” Gov. Branstad said in a press release.

The initiative uses several programs — including Live Healthy Iowa — to give Iowans the best opportunities to get involved and live healthier lives.

Challenge success

Since 2002, Iowans have lost more than 1 million pounds and track 8.3 million hours of physical activity with Live Healthy Iowa.

Each team is composed of two-10 members. Team captains can help teammates track their activity. All participants have access to recipes, workout videos and health information.

“Everything is team based,” Bruce said. “That team component really provides the support and environment for success. It is also something that makes us unique. Any apps and devices that you have on your phone, that doesn’t give you a real person saying, ‘hey, how was your workout today?’”

Besides the 10 week challenge, Live Healthy Iowa offers programs all year to encourage attention to fitness all year.

Strut your pup is a “team” event for dog lovers to encourage them to go on walks. It is $8 to register online and like Live Healthy Iowa, participants are connected to help encourage each other.

Other programs include burst your thirst, the next step and healthy families challenge.

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