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Motivation to move with the original ‘Forrest Gump’

May 4, 2008
By MARILYN J. SMITH, For The Leader-Herald
On Thursday, the Healthy Living Partnership of Fulton and Montgomery Counties will bring Robert Sweetgall to town.

Often called the original “Forrest Gump,” Robert has walked across America seven times including an 11,208-mile walk in 365 consecutive days.

He will share his story with employers, educators, health care professionals, seniors as well as the general public at a variety of settings in Fulton and Montgomery counties.

The day will begin with a joint breakfast by the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College Student Union where attendees will learn that it is possible to implement a worksite wellness program on a zero budget and how to make that a reality.

Managers for large and small businesses alike are finding out improved employee wellness can have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Sweetgall will show area employers how a healthy workforce can lower medical costs, reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and more. Attendees will also receive a high quality pedometer and log book, a kit valued at $35 as a gift from the Partnership.

Following the worksite wellness presentation, Sweetgall will meet with senior citizens to explore the five best physical activities to reduce weight, and decrease risk factors such as stress, diabetes, cardiovascular and low-back pain.

The workshop and luncheon will be conducted at the Perthshire.

Sweetgall’s marathon day will continue when he meets with educators and health professionals in a train-the-trainer session at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services facility.

The day will end at 6 p.m. at Fonda-Fultonville High School, where Sweetgall will lead a 45-minutes sunset stride, followed by a concluding workshop.

His comments will focus on fitting 6,000 footsteps into a frantic New York day, as well as tips to stay on track.

To reinforce Sweetgall’s message, the Healthy Living Partnership will launch a 60-day Community Activity Challenge. Make this summer the beginning of a healthy lifetime habit.

For a period of 12 weeks, your goal is to be physically active for 60 days.

How does the challenge work?

• Get moving for at least 30 minutes each day.

• The 30 minutes needs to be in addition to your normal daily activity, but it doesn’t have to be all at once.

Doing three 10-minute activity breaks throughout the day also can help you reach your goal.

• Use a tracking sheet to keep track of the days you have been active.

Mark each day you have reached the 30-minute goal. Tracking sheets are available online at, at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Johnstown or by calling 762-3909.

• The best way to reach the goal of 60 days of activity is to do something five days a week for the 12 weeks, but feel free to fit in the 60 days in whatever way suits your life best.

At the end of 12 weeks, submit your completed tracking sheet to: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Fulton and Montgomery Counties, 55 E. Main St., #210, Johnstown, NY 12095.

To register for the prize drawing, submit your tracking sheet by Aug. 27. The drawing will take place Sept. 1 at noon at the Fonda Fair. Winners need not be present to win.

The Motivation to Move day-long marathon is being sponsored by the Healthy Living Partnership of Fulton, Montgomery, Otsego and Schoharie counties, a coalition of agencies and organizations working together to help prevent and control diabetes.

For more information or to register for any of these workshops, or the activity challenge, call Cornell Cooperative Extension at 762-3909 or HealthLink at 736-1120.


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