October 5, 2013 | by Nicole White
From across the San Gabriel Valley, Foothill Fitness Challenge participants accepted their mission Saturday: Make healthy changes for longer lives. Oh, and measure their progress toward those goals for the next three months.
At the challenge kickoff in City of Hope’s Heritage Park, participants learned about activities that can make exercise more fun – from Bokwa to Zumba, from boot camp to yoga. More than 1,100 participants have registered for the challenge.
The challenge is a healthy competition sponsored by City of Hope for residents of surrounding communities; Saturday was the kickoff. The competition encourages residents of nearby cities to team up and compete against residents of other cities to determine who can make the most fitness gains.
“I’m so excited about the Foothill Fitness Challenge, because I've been doing research on exercise and cancer prevention for 35 years,” said Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., chief of the Division of Etiology in the Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope, speaking at the event.
Bernstein's research has shown just how important exercise is in reducing the risk of cancer. Other research has shown the connection between exercise and reduced diabetes risk.
Initiatives such as the Foothill Fitness Challenge takes that type of knowledge out of medical journals and laboratories and puts it into action in the community. On Saturday, challenge participants' first steps toward better fitness began with a one-mile walk around the City of Hope campus.
Next, armed with a “passport,” they'll track their progress over the next three months, measuring how much closer they're getting to their own personal fitness or health goals. City of Hope will host monthly challenge events, culminating in January when a winning team from one of the participating cities is chosen.