Exercise challenge draws government, school employees

Mar. 04, 2014 @ 06:38 PM

Durham government and school employees have taken up a new challenge – boosting exercise.

For the next month, employees from Durham County, the city of Durham and Durham Public Schools have agreed to become more physically active.

Even hula hooping counts, according to Kate Turner, wellness coordinator for the schools.

“We want to increase awareness of the importance of exercise,” she said.

In less than 24 hours after the challenge began Monday, more than 90 school system employees had signed up. Turner expects several hundred more to join.

“People can do any type of exercise they want to do,” she said. “It could be yoga, walking or hula hooping. It can be done at any time and any place.”

Participants log their activity time and meals into a website, AHealthierDurham.com.

The challenge ends April 4, and a winner will be announced April 12 at this year’s first Bull City Play Streets event at W.G. Pearson Elementary School.

Turner, who helped develop the challenge, said Durham businesses have donated a custom bicycle, free yoga classes, tote bags and pedometers for participants. Random prize drawings will be made throughout the challenge.

“We’re counting hours of physical activity, not pounds,” Turner said. “We’re rewarding participation, not intensity.”

An hour of walking will count the same as an hour of pumping iron, so an elite athlete won’t have an unfair advantage over someone who’s out of shape, she said.

“We are confident that the employees from these agencies will lead by example, and their participation in more physical activity and healthier eating will inspire more Durham County residents to do the same,” said Gayle Harris, Durham County director of public health.

To follow the challenge, visit the agencies’ Facebook and Twitter accounts using the hashtag, #AHDChallenge.

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To sign up and log activity, visit AHealthierDurham.com