Guest Blog by: Laura Bollan/Director, Healthy Communities-Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, Matoon, IL
Back in February, I took on the role as “Director of Healthy Communities.” I had so much to learn about our programs: Healthy Kids, Body Electric and SBL Dental Services. We are all about health and fitness, and I was neither. We started “Fit Girls” in the summer, a nationally known fitness program for girls that uniquely combines training for a 5k (3.2 mile) race with reading and nutrition education. The Fit Girls program is available to girls who will have completed 3rd, 4th or 5th grade. This was my chance to work with the girls and get fit at the same time. I have let myself down in the past, but I knew I wouldn’t let the girls down! So, I started running in the mornings. I downloaded the C25K app on my phone and off I went. I was slow, but I kept thinking about finishing that 5K with the Fit Girls. Race day came and we ALL finished the race! As each new Fit Girl crossed the finish line, the others were there cheering them on!
Soon after that, I learned about our work with Project Fit America (PFA) and all the great programs they had helped us get started in the schools we serve. This program provides schools with outdoor and indoor fitness equipment, curriculum and onsite training with the teacher to make a difference in the lives of their students. I attended the first day of training for Coach Kappy. Our PFA Trainer was Ken Chambless, from Newnan, GA and he was on fire! It was contagious! I helped put together the 3 1/2 pound weighted sports hoops that are part of PFA program and participated in all the indoor games and was so excited for Lake Crest Elementary School! When Ken asked for an adult to join in the hooping contest, I jumped in. I only lasted about 5 or 6 rotations and the hoop ended up at my ankles, but I was hooked! I watched the kids get so excited that I had even tried! I didn’t want to let them down. Motivated, when I got home I ordered myself a sports hoop just like the students were using. I had a few weeks until the official PFA Kickoff Event and I wanted to participate in the hooping challenge on day of our event! I was so excited when the hoop arrived. I put it together in the office and the staff and I all took turns trying it out. They were just as excited as I was.
I took it home and started practicing. The instructions say to take it easy when you start, so I tried to only do 2-3 minutes the first few days. I was really awkward in the beginning, but soon the rhythm came. By the time of the kickoff event, I was doing 1200 rotations in the morning and 1200 at night (that’s 100 per minute). At the kickoff event they paired me with a young girl who made it look like there was no effort at all to move this weighted hoop, but I didn’t give up. The principal finally had to call it a tie because neither of us would give in. It was so much fun!
Meanwhile, back at the office we had started a “90 day challenge” to get fit. #trimbyturkeyday. We were to eat less carbs, no sweets, exercise daily, and drink water. At about 60 days we were starting to lose our motivation, so I proclaimed that whoever “won” the contest would win a Project Fit sports hoop. Everyone was thrilled! We are now racing to the finish to see who wins the new sports hoop!
Exercise is fun and motivating! I feel better than I’ve felt in years and although I hadn’t noticed my body really “change”; I had a fancy dinner to attend and a dress that I couldn’t even zip six months ago fit beautifully. How fun is that!?!
My message to anyone who wants to see a change is to just get started. The rest will take care of itself. If it feels awkward in the beginning, keep going! It really does get better and better. And if you need motivation, look to the kids…. They are so encouraging and are so excited that you are even trying! You might be trying to be a good role model for them, but in the end you are truly blessed by the children.