Take the Gaitor Challenge


Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.

Wanted: Adults willing to participate in the Gaitor Challenge, a University of Florida Physical Therapy outreach program that assesses physical activity levels and provides prizes for walking as a way to a healthier life.

Facts

GAITOR CHALLENGE

What: Gaitor Challenge, an outreach program that assesses activity levels.
When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 19 Jan. 26, Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Feb. 16, and Feb. 23.
Where: Fred Cone Park, 2841 E. University Ave.
Cost: Free.
Information: Call 352-273-6119 or e-mail gaitorchallenge@gmail.com.

Gwen Creel, physical therapy professor at the University of Florida, said the Gaitor Challenge, developed by physical therapy doctorate students, targets members of the community who may be at increased risk for developing health issues related to lack of physical activity such as heart disease and diabetes.

The Gaitor Challenge will take place from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, Jan. 26, Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Feb. 16, and Feb. 23 at Fred Cone Park, 2841 E. University Ave.

The challenge rewards walking with incentives such as T-shirts, Gator water bottles, backpacks, hand towels, pedometers and other fitness items.

“We want to improve their wellness outcome and encourage them to be more physically active,” Creel said. “Most anyone can participate in this challenge, and you don’t need sports equipment, just comfortable shoes and a place to walk.”

Alicia Leonard, a graduate student and one of the challenge organizers, said the program kicks off Jan. 19 with an assessment for participants to establish a base line by answering a few questions about their current activity level, getting their blood pressure checked, and performing a three- minute step test on an eight-inch-bench. Participants will then get their assessment results and will be encouraged to walk laps around the track while logging the number of laps. In addition, they will be treated to healthy snacks such as fruits.

Leonard said participants will be invited to return each following Saturday to try to increase their walking distance and receive prizes. The challenge ends on Feb. 23 with a raffle, prizes and awards for those with the highest consistency in participation, most improvement in blood pressure, most improvement in distance walked, and other areas.

“Walking even if it’s only 30 minutes per day will have significant impact,” said Casey Turner, a graduate student and one of the event organizers. She said the goal is to motivate people to be more active so they realize how easy it is to get involved in a healthy lifestyle.

“We want to give back to the community and make a connection to let people know we’re here as a resource to help.” Creel said.

For more information, call 352-273-6119 or e-mail gaitorchallenge@gmail.com.

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