Sports & Fitness Q&A

Q: How can you organize a citywide

campaign to get healthier?

A: First of all, decide on one mission and

involve everyone you can.

In 2002, the

Mayor’s Fitness Council was developed in

collaboration with ChicagoWorksout,

which is Mayor Richard M. Daley’s initiative

to promote, educate and motivate

healthy lifestyles for Chicagoans of all

ages.

This is a citywide campaign that

many can relate to and recognize.

It is a

shared mission by all Chicago Citywide

agencies, including the Mayor’s Office,

the Chicago Park District, the Mayor’s

Office of Special Events, the Chicago

Department of Public Health, Chicago

Youth and Family Services, the Chicago

Fire Department, and many more notfor-

profit and for-profit health-orientated

organizations.

The Mayor’s Fitness

Council Mission reads: “The Mayor’s

Fitness Council promotes, encourages

and motivates the development of a

physically active and healthy lifestyle for

Chicagoans of all ages. The Mayor of the

City of Chicago appoints all members of

the MFC. The MFC will recruit the support

of individuals, community-based

organizations, corporations and others to

help promote physical activity and a

healthy lifestyle for the people of

Chicago. The council increases awareness

of the importance of exercise and good

health through public appearances and

the distribution of relevant information.

The MFC encourages private and public

agencies to promote physical fitness and

the awareness of the benefits that come

with living a healthy life. It also assists

educational organizations to understand

the importance of physical activity and

good health. The MFC strives to help all

Chicagoans to enjoy a physically active

and healthy lifestyle.”

MFC has created

and produced two annual Chicago Moves

Day events to demonstrate there is an

active choice for everyone in Chicago,

whether that may be taking the first steps

to get off the couch or running your first

marathon.

MFC also strives to promote healthier

nutrition choices and teach Chicagoans

the basic equation of energy balance, in

other words to eat better and move more.

The MFC also has done a great job of collecting

basic health assessment questionnaires

and offering health screenings at

their events, to assess which communities

are at risk.

Once more data is collected

the MFC hopes to reach out to these communities

with resources, be it educational,

access to classes, or giving information

about low-cost fitness centers, like those

found in the Chicago Park District.

Colleen Lammel-Harmon is Fitness

Senior Program Specialist and Co-Chair of

the Mayor’s Fitness Council for the Chicago

Park District. Colleen is scheduled to give

related presentations at Parks & Rec

Business LIVE! at Deer Creek State Park,

near Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 19-20.

Q: How do you attract seniors to your fitness

classes?

A: Keep it simple, social, consistent, and

most of all, fun!

Offer a non-competitive class that

also offers a challenge to active seniors. A good senior class should have music from

an era the seniors can recognize. Utilizing

resistance bands can reap the benefits of

minimizing osteoporosis and increasing

bone mass without heavy and cumbersome

weights.

Keeping up with the

trends, such as Pilates and yoga, is a fun

way to mix beginners and seniors into

one class. The low-impact, basic-to-follow

scheme is perfect for a beginner level

and senior participant.

Encourage instructors to teach seniors

on a very personal level and remain open

for feedback, which will make or break a

class.

Many seniors like a challenge.

However, the instructor needs to use

active listening before increasing the

choreography and intensity.

Colleen Lammel-Harmon

Q: How do you stress the importance of

maintaining fitness center equipment to

unmotivated staff?

A: Educate them first on the importance

of the fitness equipment and get them

involved in trainings. This should be

based on both how to use the equipment

correctly, and methods to get them

involved in their own health using these

machines.

Possibly host an employee fitness

day. Make it easy to keep duties routine,

create incentives, develop daily

cleaning logs, and have random spot

checks.

Colleen Lammel-Harmon

Q: Can you have kids’ fitness classes

that are not marked as an “exercise

class”, which may turn kids off?

A: Introduce non-traditional fitness

opportunities. These can include Fitness

Inflatables, ranging from Jumping Jacks

to Blow- up Obstacle Courses, Fitness

Arcade style pieces like Dance Dance

Revolution, Game Bikes, and other interactive

video style games.

Some fun classes

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