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Tim Madigan of Harper Woods has lost 100 pounds in the last year. He said he gradually built up his workouts as his strength increased. photo by Renee Landuyt.

January 30, 2014
Editor's note: This is the final story in a four-part series on improving health and life styles.

A healthy lifestyle has to start at some point.

Today is that day for Grosse Pointers to embrace "60 Days of Health."

"Sixty Days of Health has been designed for the community to live a healthy lifestyle," said Andrea Beebe, the Neighborhood Club's fitness program coordinator.

"The purpose of the 60 Days of Health program is to celebrate everyone's health and well being; to promote awareness to being healthy, be active and to promote fitness for people in the community," said Stu Alderman, the Neighborhood Club's executive director.

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With programs to benefit all ages, the 60 Days of Health offers opportunities to enroll in a new exercise class, sit in on lectures presenting new ideas to enhance healthy thinking options, seek out places to socialize and tips to improve your life.

In a nutshell, 60 Days of Health suggests simple ways to change thinking, step out of the box and try something new.

"Ultimately it starts with thinking, making choices, at the grocery store or time," said Lucy Sternburgh, Beaumont's manager of employee and community health promotion of how to establish a healthy lifestyle. "Make sustainable choices, things that will last. Take small enough steps with community support. Find the right people, keep healthy company."

She goes on to say the human body was not built to sit 10 hours a day. Rather it is designed to be active and one way to achieve that is to get 30 minutes of exercise a day. It can be broken up into 10 minute segments, participating in light activities, standing and walking more.

For example, place the recycling bin or the printer in another room, park the car at the end of the parking lot or walk the dog.

"A lot of people are invested in taking care of others — family, work and the elderly. Self care takes a back seat. We are a product of our environment. We believe we must build an island of health. Find that sacred chunk of time. (For example) Those people with dogs have an accountability partner," Sternburgh said.

Once the lifestyle begins to change — no more grabbing a snack from the vending machine — the culture around us changes because, "Our behavior is contagious. We can't wait for the government to say 'get healthy.' It's a personal choice," Sternburgh said.

Beebe added 60 Days of Health feeds right into that.

"The program that we have been working on is designed for the community to live a healthy lifestyle," she said.

Whether it's a diet change or a change in an exercise routine, it is a conscious choice.

"You have to see this as a positive experience," Sternburgh said. "Viewing it as a personal reward rather than a daunting task. Change the lens of the way we view this personal topic."

The Neighborhood Club has more than 40 exercise classes geared to youngsters through seniors and at a variety of times. Early morning and later afternoon classes are popular with working adults, Beebe said. Retirees come during the day.

"The pool is very well used," she said.

For those reluctant to change, Beebe said, "Try something different and mix up a routine."

Maybe revising your exercise routine isn't up for discussion. Many Beaumont-sponsored speakers discuss current topics, such as how parents can reduce their stress levels. How to make a home more green is a topic to be addressed during 60 Days of Health by LocalMotionGreen @ Ecology Center.

Today is a good day to learn what the Grosse Pointes have to offer as lifestyles are adjusted to the healthy side of the street.

Sixty Days of Health is in collaboration with the Neighborhood Club, its recreation and wellness center, Beaumont Community Health Coalition and Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe and the Grosse Pointe Public School System.

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