Exhibiting a commitment to promote San Antonio as a healthy and active community, Councilman Rey Saldaña joined San Antonio Sports officials to kick off the 2014 Fit Family Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, at City Hall on Tuesday, May 13.
Organized by San Antonio Sports, the fifth annual Fit Family Challenge anticipates registration of a record number of San Antonio families to participate in fitness activities between May and August.
A grant from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation supports the free family fitness program aimed at motivating families to break away from a sedentary lifestyle, get out of the house and come together for fun, fitness-focused events.
“Programs like the San Antonio Sports Fit Family Challenge are helping families get healthy together,” said Councilman Rey Saldaña. “It’s free. It’s fun. And it’s accessible to everyone.”
The San Antonio Sports Fit Family Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, is comprised of four three-week sessions that run from May 17-August 9. It promotes a healthy lifestyle by encouraging people to make small changes, such as integrating a walk into everyday routines and choosing fruit over candy for snacks. There are 101 free events located throughout the city that include organized walks, 5K run/walks, Zumba and fitness classes for children. There is something for every fitness level.
Participants are asked to 1) exercise as a family, at least 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week, 2) make healthy food choices and 3) keep a fitness journal through a tracking log or online tracking at fitfamilychallenge.com. If they attend at least three weekly events during any of the four sessions, they are eligible for a prize drawing of $1000 at that session’s big event.
The program is open to all families in Bexar County. However, it focuses its message in the ten zip codes in San Antonio that have the highest rates of diabetes and obesity. Within those zip codes are seven school districts that include: San Antonio Independent School District, South
San Antonio ISD, Edgewood ISD, Harlandale ISD, Southside ISD, Northside ISD and Southwest ISD. In an effort to eliminate barriers to participation, the weekly events take place at schools in the target neighborhoods.
Parents are the key to having children adopt a healthy lifestyle says Russ Bookbinder, President and CEO of the nonprofit San Antonio Sports. “Our vision at San Antonio Sports is to have healthy kids. When the whole family is involved, kids learn that taking care of their bodies is important. Through modeling to their children, parents have the power to influence behaviors that will reduce risks associated with diabetes, cancer, obesity, and a lifetime of low self-esteem.”
Mark Canales started his journey to health two years ago at the Fit Family Challenge D4 Heroes 5K. Over the course of 13 months, he lost over 100 pounds, his fitness levels improved and energy levels soared. He has kept the weight off and will be bringing 15 family and friends to his third D4 Heroes 5K. “I remember my struggles, being uncomfortable in my own body. Now I look forward to working out. Diet, not dieting, is huge too. My message to everyone is whatever you do, just start. Change is gradual but it can happen and you’ll feel better.”
More than 1,000 people registered to run the D4 Heroes 5K – a free, chipped and timed race offered through the Fit Family Challenge on Saturday, May 17. The remaining sessions’ big events are:
· June 7 (with District 6)
· June 28 (with District 8)
· July 19 (District 3)
· August 9.
Weekly schedule (May 19-Aug. 8):
Linton Elementary (NISD) 6 p.m.
Dwight Middle School (SSAISD) 5:30 p.m.
Emma Frey (EISD) 5 p.m.
Rayburn Elementary (HISD) 5 p.m.
Whittier Middle School (SAISD) 5:30 p.m.
Univision 41 Únase al Reto (Woodlawn Lake Park) 6 p.m.
9th Grade Academy (SISD) 5:30 p.m.
SW High School – 9th grade campus (SWISD) 5:30 p.m.
About Fit Family Challenge
Fit Family Challenge, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, is a 12-week summer program motivating San Antonio families to learn about and increase physical activity and healthy nutrition. Fit Family Challenge is a program conducted by San Antonio Sports, with funding from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and participation from sponsors, area school districts and volunteers.