VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Vandenberg members are participating in the National Presidential Challenge here May 1 through July 24 in an effort to encourage a less sedentary lifestyle.
The challenge began as the Presidential Physical Fitness Award in 1966 and tested the fitness of school-aged children across the nation. Over the years, the program has been modified to include all age groups and exists to motivate and reward the public for their active way of life.
This year, Vandenberg has chosen to participate as a team. The goal is to incorporate fitness into the daily lives of the Vandenberg community, and, by doing so, the hope is to combat the rising obesity rate, said Michele Finley, the health education manager at the 30th Medical Group Health and Wellness Center here.
"Overweight and obesity affects the productivity of active duty (members), (Department of Defense) civilians and even contractors," said Ms. Finley
In an effort to encourage the entire community, all active duty, retirees, National Guardsmen, reservists, DoD civilians, contractors, and dependents age 6 or older are able to participate. The HAWC, fitness center, and youth center are all collaborating to get the word out and assist those that are interested.
To sign up for the program members register online and log the physical activities they accomplish. The website is easy to use and tracks points awarded to members for activities they complete. There are three main categories members can compete in: active lifestyle, presidential challenge and advanced performance presidential challenge.
The active lifestyle category is designed for those who are not currently involved in physical activity or complete less than 30 minutes per day. This category is a starting point for someone wishing to become more active or attain a new weight loss goal. Only 30 minutes of activity, five days a week is required. If the member sticks with the program for six weeks, he is recognized for his success.
Participants already active more than 30 minutes per day and looking for a new challenge, the presidential champions program may be more suitable. The category works on a points system, awarding members for the amount of energy expended for the activities they complete. The goal is to earn as many points as possible. Within the presidential champions category, members can earn points toward a bronze, silver or gold award.
Members looking for the greatest challenge possible, can compete in the advanced presidential champions category. This category doubles the requirements from the presidential challenge category.
The principle focus is for members to find activities that interest them; if running isn't their favorite, maybe tennis is.
"Being active and making it fun (is) the whole purpose," said Ms. Finley. "Finding an activity that they enjoy will help them maintain the active lifestyle."
Participating in the challenge also provides an incentive for members to use Vandenberg's new fitness center.
"The fitness center hopes to contribute to the challenge by providing the equipment and the means to help (members) meet their goals," said Pamela Coffey, the Vandenberg Fitness Center director.
Members are encouraged to contact the HAWC or the fitness center for questions that concern starting a new fitness plan.
Signing up for the program is easy; log-on to www.presidentschallenge.org and follow the on-screen directions. To enroll with Team V, enter the group ID number: 80625, and the member ID: TeamV.
For additional information on the Presidential Challenge, contact Michele Finley at 805-606-2221, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org