by Blake Herzog
For lots of people, the most effective way to get them to pound the pavement, dance in class for their cardio or pump iron for their strength training is to challenge themselves—not just personally but as part of a larger group that will hold them accountable and maybe offer some kind of “carrot” for completion, too.
At least two Pinal County cities have been crafting such challenges for their residents to build community along with muscle, heart rates and momentum around the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. These challenges cannot only help those who participate, but give ideas to individuals or groups elsewhere looking to set up their own challenges.
Casa Grande is offering such challenges at its new Community Recreation Center at 1905 N. Peart Road, for members and nonmembers alike, Recreation Coordinator Nikolina Sabo said.
“Our very first challenge was called ‘3 Miles a Day for 30 Days,’ she said. “This challenge encouraged participants to develop a regular fitness plan as a part of their overall wellness. It encouraged them to engage in 3 miles worth of physical activity each day for 30 days straight.
“Participants had to track how many miles per day they either walked, ran, rode on a bicycle, did on a treadmill or an elliptical. Those who did at least 3 miles a day each day had an opportunity to enter a raffle and win wireless earbuds,” she said.
Sabo added, “We had a ‘Holiday Hustle’ challenge in which members were encouraged to complete at least 30 workouts (one workout equals a group fitness class or a workout on their own) from the beginning of November to end of December.” Those who met that goal got a chance to win a personal training session.
Maricopa is following up on its annual City Weight Loss Challenges with a series of fitness challenges, said Henry Pollock, recreation coordinator for fitness, with the first ending in February and the next one set to kick off in June. “The Copper Sky Fitness Challenge was a six-week, team-based competition where each week individuals had a scorecard with a variety of categories like personal training, group exercise, flash challenges and more,” he said.
“They would get points depending on what areas were completed over the six weeks. We had 30 people split up between two teams, and it was a huge success for our first run,” he added. The upcoming edition will likely include even more activities for participants to engage in, he said.
These communities are showing fitness challenges can work at the city level, but they’re a great idea for families and groups of friends or co-workers, too. There are apps and blogs online with suggestions about how best to set up a contest to get everyone’s blood pumping.
Of course, Casa Grande’s CRC and the Copper Sky Recreational Complex, at 44345 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Maricopa, offer many more ways for residents to get a true fitness regimen going. Sabo said the CRC has more than 60 group fitness classes every week available with a day pass or included with a membership.
In addition, the Fitness in the Park series is a free one-hour bootcamp-style workout open to everyone, held 8:30 a.m. every third Saturday of the month at Carr McNatt Park, 1115 N. Brown Ave. These will be held through May 16, and will be replaced in June through August by a free one-hour Aqua Zumba or Aqua Aerobics class at the Palm Island Family Aquatic Park at Carr McNatt Park.
For more information about City of Casa Grande fitness classes and activities call 520-421-8677 or visit www.casagrandeaz.gov/recreation.
More than 50 group exercise classes are held every week covering conditioning, aerobics, yoga, Silver Sneakers, aquatic fitness and other activities are held in the Copper Sky Multigenerational Center. It also offers personal trainers.
For more information about City of Maricopa fitness classes and other options call 520-316-4600 or visit www.maricopa-az.gov/departments/community-services/copper-sky.
Both community fitness centers offer memberships, which include additional benefits.