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‘Lighten Up’ campaign starts Wednesday

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GINA R. HEINE
January 12, 2008

If you haven’t found enough motivation from ads and advice on changing your health lifestyle this year, here’s one more opportunity.


Get together a team of friends, family or co-workers to enter the 100-day, statewide competition to lose weight or exercise in the sixth annual Lighten Up Wisconsin campaign.


Participants track their weight loss or activity schedule online and compete with teams from across the state, said Jordan Bingham, health initiatives director.


The program is a part of Wisconsin Sports Development, a Madison non-profit organization that also organizes the Badger State Games. Lighten Up Wisconsin also is sponsored by Ministry Health Care and Unity Health Insurance.


The program is designed to jump-start healthy habits through small, realistic and permanent changes in exercise and eating habits.


More than 10,000 people participated last year. Organizers held kick-off events in Janesville and Beloit this week.


“We know this is the time of year when people are starting to think about making some changes, getting more active, eating healthier,” Bingham said. “We wanted to provide something when people are looking for a structured way to keep track of their changes and have support from a team.”


This will be the third year Joan Shadel, an employee of Mercy Health Systems, competes with her co-workers on team “Beer Run III.”


“Since we were exercisers, we thought, ‘Hey, why not?’ So we do,” she said.


Her team of eight is runners, and they compete in the activity portion.


“We feed on each other,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a little hard to get motivated. When you have someone that’s relying on you, you get your butt out of bed, and out we go.”


Shadel recommends the program, and said people simply need to put exercise in their schedule. She runs six days a week before the sun is up, she said.


“Find a buddy and get going, and you won’t stop,” she said.


“You’ll feel better … Nothing’s better than exercising.”


TO SIGN UP

The 100-day Lighten Up Wisconsin campaign starts Wednesday and will include weekly challenges, fitness tips and prizes. Teams of two to 10 people can sign up at www.lightenupwisconsin.com. Registration is $15 per person.



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