Health rally held at rec center

Evanston Parks and Rec Director Scott Ehlers and Cent$ible Nutrition Educator Beth Barker share some laughs as Ehlers makes a smoothie with a blender powered by an exercise bike. (HERALD PHOTO/Sheila McGuire)

EVANSTON — Folks were having fun at the Evanston Rec Center on Saturday, Jan. 5, as Evanston Parks and Recreation and the Healthy Evanston campaign hosted the Super Saturday Health Rally. From 9 a.m. to noon guests were able to sign up for the Healthy Evanston program and take part in various activities. 

Free mini fitness classes were offered every 30 minutes all morning, including Zumba, High Fitness and more. Ping pong tables were set up in the gym and upstairs people were able to play some dodgeball or try out the Rec Center’s latest addition — Archery Tag. 

Free healthy snacks and water were provided through a donation from Smith’s, and people were also able to sample smoothies offered by a Cent$ible Nutrition booth, as well as get some healthy eating tips. 

A commitment poster hanging in the hallway encouraged people to write down their health goals for the year. The poster is still in place so visitors can continue to share their goals. 

Everyone who signed up for the Healthy Evanston program was entered to win the prize of the day, which was a free annual pass to the Rec Center. Guests were able to earn another entry by walking one mile on the track. Organizers set a goal of walking 100 combined miles throughout the day, tracked by putting beans in a giant cylindrical tube at the completion of each lap. 

Uinta County Public Health Nurse Manager Kim Proffit said reaching the goal became a bit dramatic when there were about 10 miles left to go with only eight minutes remaining in the day. She said people rallied and joined forces and ran laps for those final minutes to fill the tube and reach the goal. 

“It was really fun and did what we hoped it would – get people feeling part of a team, sort of, and it was a great achievement as a little community of walkers,” she said. 

Helen Mertz claimed the grand prize rec center pass. Mertz won with the ticket she earned for walking one mile. According to Proffit, “Helen says it was the luckiest mile she ever walked.” 

The Healthy Evanston campaign was recently launched as a program to encourage citizens to take steps toward healthier lives. Those who sign up receive a monthly email newsletter with health tips as well as receive a free T-shirt. Proffit said 66 new people signed up for the program at the Super Saturday event. 

Proffit said people can visit www.healthyevanston.com to sign up and to utilize the tools available, including a tracking tool to track daily eating, exercise and other health habits. There is also a link to a volunteer database as well as tips on nutrition, exercise and general health. 

Part of the Healthy Evanston campaign includes a Community Walk challenge that allows participants to track their steps and have them pooled with other participants for a virtual walk across America. The challenge includes a map to show progress on the virtual walk, which can be accessed via the World Walking app for cell phones or online at worldwalking.org. 

People can follow Healthy Evanston on Facebook as well, where tips and information will be posted a couple of times per week.

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