Extension motivates local residents to stay fit with new, eight-week exercise program

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 25, 2009 – A new, eight-week fitness program will help Virginians improve their exercise habits, diet, and overall quality of life in a fun and challenging way.

Virginia Cooperative Extension invites members of the Virginia Tech community and local residents to participate by creating or joining a FIT Extension team.

Lasting from March 29 to May 23, FIT Extension encourages participants in select Virginia localities to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking, running, yoga, or biking on five or more days of the week.

“This adds up to at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, the amount of aerobic physical activity recommended for adults by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” said Joan Wages, associate Extension specialist for health and nutrition.

Although FIT Extension is not a competition, co-workers, friends, and family members join together in teams of six. Each team has a captain who helps the group set goals for its personal achievement. “If each member of a six-person team does the recommended amount of physical activity, the team would walk the equivalent of 480 miles, the length of Virginia,” Wages added.

Anyone age 5 and up willing and able to participate in eight weeks of physical activity may sign up for FIT Extension. The program also promotes increased fruit and vegetable consumption through a nutrition component.

Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff and residents of Montgomery and Floyd counties who are interested in FIT Extension or have questions about the program should contact Dawn Barnes at (540) 745-9307. March 26 is the early registration deadline, but team registrations will be accepted until April 9.