Community health, most fit city promoted by Mayors’ Fitness Challenge

The 2022 Health First Mayors' Fitness Challenge, from the kickoff at Viera Regional Park Jan. 29 through March 26, will grant bragging rights to Brevard County’s “Most Fit City” but organizers say it’s the health of the community at large that benefits from the sixth annual event.

Participants register as part of a team and submit weekly minutes of exercise such as yoga, lifting weights, walking, running and biking. The team with the greatest average number of minutes and participation rate will win the challenge.

In another competitive aspect of the event, the Great Weight Off pits participants 18 and older vying for a $500 prize for losing the greatest percentage of total body weight during the challenge period. You can sign up anytime during the challenge for either competition, but t-shirt and the Great Weight Off registration will end Jan 3.

The state Department of Health launched the Healthiest Weight Florida initiative in January 2013. In 2017 Healthiest Weight Brevard was established as a United Way initiative and was renamed Get Healthy Brevard.

Past Most Fit City winners since 2017 have been split between the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral teams. The Cape Canaveral team won three times including in 2021. Rockledge has the early lead in registrations for the 2022 event with 125.

Once nearly all virtual as a result of the pandemic, more teams are planning group activities this year such as weekly walks, said Maggie Dickinson, of Running Zone, who has been involved in the challenge all six years.

“I think a lot of people are anxious to get out and do things as a community again. I think some people are looking to get active after being more sedentary during the pandemic. We’re trying to really appeal to people who otherwise would not get out and exercise. It’s anything you do above and beyond your normal daily activities that you do for the purpose of getting exercise,’’ she said. The challenge “was designed to be all in fun to get people engaged.”

The challenge has drawn about 2,500 participants logging 4.5 million minutes of exercise, said longtime organizer Keith Heinly with United Way.

“The whole idea is to get people moving and active and to get Brevard County to be one of the healthiest counties in the state,’’ he said.

For more information, call 321 635-8885 or visit the 2022 Health First Mayors’ Fitness Challenge Facebook page.