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December 14, 2012


Fitness Challenge Aims at Getting People To Exercise Regularly

By Heidi Opdyke

An effort to get the Carnegie Mellon community moving at the gym could take you places. At least on paper.

"CM-YOU" is the theme for this year's Department of Athletics' Fitness Challenge, an annual effort that aims to get people to exercise 20 minutes a day for four times a week. This year's challenge runs Monday, Jan. 28 through Friday, March 8.

Pattye Stragar, operations manager for Fitness & Aquatics, said she hopes to get participation from other CMU locations around the world.

In Pittsburgh, the Healthy Campus Kickoff will take place at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 16, in the University Center (UC), and an open house will be held at noon on Friday, Jan. 18 at athletic recreation facilities in the UC and Skibo Gymnasium.

"It takes six weeks to create a habit," said Donna Morosky, coordinator of Fitness. "We often talk about making new habits for the New Year, and what better way to make a good habit than to start something that is good for you, can only improve with age and where others are participating?"

To visualize progress, a large world map will be hung near the University Center Equipment Desk marked with CMU locations. Participants will choose a destination, and as they complete their exercise each day, they'll earn blocks that will get them and others with the same destination a little closer to their goal.

Additional partners include Human Resources, Health Services, Student Life and Enactus, formerly known as the Students In Free Enterprise or SIFE.

Enactus members Kristina Jang (E'15) and Alice Ye (TPR'15) said their goal is to help people know that it's OK to take a break.

"We need something like this to promote healthy habits. People come to college and develop bad habits. Sleeping is hard," Ye said.

More and more research studies indicate that taking breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity.

"I like to keep exercise in my weekly routine because it helps me clear my mind," Jang said.

As part of the event, there will be a series of healthy lifestyle sessions and a 5K run/walk on Sunday, March 3. More details will be available next semester.

This is the second year that Enactus has worked with the Healthy Campus initiative to start the New Year off with fitness. The students will showcase their outreach efforts at an intercollegiate competition later in the spring.

Stragar said that last year about 200 people participated in tracking their progress. But between 800 to 1,000 people use the recreation and athletics facilities any given day. The hope is to increase those numbers through efforts such as this.

CMU employees have full use of university athletic facilities when they present their university ID. Some of the options include:
•    Walking Wednesdays @ Noon at the track or in the gym;
•    Group X-ercise classes (for a small fee);
•    Recreational activities;
•    Free classes for staff and faculty at Whitfield Hall Monday through Thursday.    

Learn more about the Staff Faculty Fitness program at To sign up for the Fitness d-list, contact Stragar at