Motivational program helps you become “Fit for Life”
Runners jog in the Firecracker Fun Run five-kilometer race, held July 4 on Patch Barracks. More than 145 runners participated. Running is one of many activities Stuttgart military community members can use to earn free prizes through the “Fit for Life” program.

STUTTGART, Germany -- When it comes to getting to the gym, some people require a little extra motivation.

That’s why Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Sports and Fitness division is hosting the “Fit for Life” program for the Stuttgart military community July 1 through Dec. 31.

“Fit for Life” is a do-it-yourself exercise program that offers community members an extra reason to work out: prizes. This year, the program is sponsored by the American Foreign Service Protective Association.

“This is a motivational tool for them to come to the gym and form a habit. You get free stuff for exercising,” said Holly Ogren, Family and MWR fitness coordinator.

The free program allows participants to track how many “miles” they earn each month by recording the amount of time they exercise. Eligible activities range from walking and running, to playing sports, skiing and even stretching.

Miles are calculated based on the amount of time spent doing the exercise. For example, a mile can be earned through five minutes of aerobic activity or 10 minutes of weight training.

Each month, participants turn in their tracking card to earn prizes, such as a Fit for Life T-shirt, beanie or fleece blanket. Prizes are awarded for reaching 100, 300, 500, 750, 1,000 and 1,250 miles.

Since Fit for Life is time-based, 15-20 minutes of exercise a day could earn a participant 100 miles in a month.

“It’s a good way for people to set goals for themselves,” Ogren said.

The goodies give community members another reason to stay active throughout the summer, fall and winter, when school schedules, vacations and holidays often get in the way of gym time, she added.

“You’re still going to the gym, and you’re still staying active for those six months,” she said.

The program also has a domino effect; once people start wearing or using their prizes, others want to get involved.

“It actually motivates other people,” said Ricky Payton, USAG Stuttgart FMWR sports coordinator. “People see all these nice prizes, and they want to come in and start working out.”

Of course, the most obvious benefits aren’t the prizes, but the effect on overall health, Ogren said.

Physical fitness is one of five dimensions in the Stuttgart military community’s Comprehensive Fitness Program. Along with emotional, family, spiritual and social fitness, physical health contributes to the overall well-being of service members, civilians and their families.

“When you start becoming active five or more times a week for 30 minutes a day, that has huge health benefits,” Ogren said. “Sometimes, it’s just about being active whether you’re playing sports or skiing … you’re getting out there and moving.”

Community members can start tracking their miles at any time during the program by picking up a tracking card at the Patch Fitness Center, or logging miles online by visiting www.stuttgartmwr.com.

Page last updated Mon July 11th, 2011 at 05:59