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Dec 15, 2011

Healthy Living encourages you to get up and run to stay fit this Christmas

Earlier this week, America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, helped to break the world record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. It was a part of her Let’s Move Initiative which promotes physical fitness and healthy eating for children. Health and Wellness have become a priority worldwide.  In Belize, 2011 has seen the opening of at least two new fitness centers and a burst of people trying to get healthy. One initiative that has incorporated: community building, personal safety, and health fitness is the Get Up & Run program. It’s been 6 months since it was launched and tonight we check in to see how effective it has been.

“Boost your mood, burn the fat, be healthy.”

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It is no secret that Belize is plagued by non-communicable diseases. Sedentary lifestyles and poor diet have caused conditions like diabetes, hypertension & high cholesterol to be common occurrences in many households. In fact, no matter how many headlines of gunshots & stabbings we report there are far more deaths attributed to complications of diabetes; our country’s primary cause of death. It was this fact that led the mayor of Belize City, a once avid runner herself, to initiate a first of its kind health & fitness program in her municipality.

Zenaida Moya

Zenaida Moya, Belize City Mayor

“I was always into running even when i went to study abroad I ran 6 miles a day. So I said you know what let’s do something in the area of running to assist individuals, not only myself but people in general.”

And in conjunction with a number of other organizations, The Get Up & Run Program was launched mid June with over 500 city participants. The program required a one-time registration and a commitment to join with community members looking to get healthy in one of the four zones which included Marion Jones Stadium, Sr Clara Muhammed School, Battlefield Park, and Belama and exercise each morning from Monday to Saturday.

Zenaida Moya

“The community effort I think it helps to get people to push you along. When you get up in the morning and you go out there and you know you’re going to meet your friend and you can walk along and exercise and you can meet that individual. It gives you an additional shove.”

For 63 year old retiree, Bernard Adolphus, the community building aspect coupled with the safety of exercising in numbers are the reasons he was drawn to the program. Once diagnosed with High blood pressure, he credits the get up and run program for getting him back on track.

Bernard Adolphus, Instructor/Participant, Get Up & Run

Bernard Adolphus

“I stopped exercise completely because of the crime that was happening in my area. as soon as this program get implemented I automatically get involved. What I do for myself I get up pretty early in the morning, my wife and I. at 4:30 and I would do jogging, walking speed walking etc. and then we go on the court and we finish off with half hour to 45 min exercise with everybody there. What I like about this whole program is you hear about port Loyola, you hear ‘bout different areas but in port Loyola we now who is who, through this program. It becomes a community thing, you have a lady there older than me, you have young and in between.”

As for another Port Loyola resident, 49 yr old Elva Straughn, she joined the program after recovering from a broken ankle and to rid some extra pounds.

Elva Starughn

Elva Starughn, Coordinator/Participant, Get Up & Run

“I see some ladies weh older than me and they motivate me. So that’s why is start doing it.

Marleni Cuellar

“What was it like in the beginning?”

Elva Starughn

“Well in the beginning it mi hurt and painful fi me when I start. But gradually after I start go out every day, every day.  I stop feel the pain them I sue to tek wah lot ah pain killer I tek painkillers no more. It was health condition too I mi heavy and the doctor tell me i need fi lose some weight because da the weight di mess up mi foot. When i join the program I had one eighty-five now i have one sixty-eight. And I do regular checkups da  doctor and ih tell me everything ok now and continue do what I di do.”

The program boasts a number of collaborators which include Royal Wellness center. Fitness Instructor, Ed Williams explains why he feels the program has been a success.

Ed Williams

Ed Williams, Fitness Instructor, Royal Wellness Center

“It makes sense for us to now make the switch from sedentary to active. It’s well known that in order to manage weight effectively we have to burn more calories than we consume. So a get up and run program enable s us to just burn more calories to begin with. Running is a healthy exercise for a healthy cardiovascular system, endurance. It also helps with a little bit of muscle toning make u smile when you look in the mirror. We also know that running reduces stress. It’s an effective tension and stress release.”

As the founder of the program, Moya has integrated herself in most activities and she along with the other participants are very pleased with the outcome.

Zenaida Moya

“Initially when we started I believe the first day of the launch which was Saturday June 11, 2011 we had over eight hundred persons. Since then it has been off and on. We still have some hundreds but some come regularly. I have been out there with the participants to show them that it isn’t something that I di tell you fi do this. I am actually out there I completed the 10K, I actually did well. I did not win but Jamie lee usher won in my category and she deserves it and then the second marathon, I came in second and Jamie lee came in first.”

Elva Starughn

“A lot of them is for their health. We have some that are diabetic. And do it for their health. I have a lady Ms Julia Blanco she loose nineteen pounds and she’s fifty-nine. She’s older than me and she’s one of the ladies that motivates me. If she can do it, I can do it too.”

Bernard Adolphus

“I guess it’s because everybody wants to get involved and everybody wants to do something for themselves for themselves. And they are seeing results everybody in port Loyola has lost weight not because they’re starving themselves but because they are exercising. Everybody, even myself I’ve lost twelve to fifteen pounds. You individually, your developing your body, you’re improving your health. Whether you are a teenager, a middle age, or you are an elderly person, it is important.”

The program is now 6 months old and will continue in 2012. There is no cost associated with registration or membership. Participants also accumulate points on days they exercise which awards them different prizes from wristbands to tennis shoes to round trip tickets on Maya Island Air.

Ed Williams

“The concept, get up and run, it’s the same thing that gets us up everyday striving for something we want. Here is something else, we want health and wellness.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living encourages you to get up and run to stay fit this Christmas”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    Z IS STILL FAT…..call it baby fat.

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