The 2014 version of the Live Well Perris health initiative got off to a rousing start Jan. 11 as more than 200 people hit the scales for the biggest loser competition and took part in a sweat-building calorie-burning aerobic workout at Mercado Park.
Perris City Council members Mark Yarbrough and Julio Rodriguez came out to the park to lend their support for the kick-off of the Live Well campaign.
“Welcome to Perris-dise!” Yarbrough told the crowd at the conclusion of the one-hour workout. “We had a great workout today and we will have lots more great activities in the coming months. There is no better way to start the new year. We developed the program last year and we are now taking it to the next level. It’s all about living well.”
Rodriguez took the opportunity to encourage residents to eat healthier and exercise more in 2014. The theme of this year’s winter workouts—which run through April 26—is a “new you in 2014.” The next workout takes place Saturday at May Ranch Park, when biggest loser participants will be weigh-in once again. The workouts take place alternating Saturdays at Mercado and May Ranch parks.
Biggest loser contestants can also weigh-in from Jan. 13-16 during business hours at the Bob Glass Gym on the City Hall Campus.
“Please come out and take part in these events which are all intended to help you live better,” he said. “I am really excited to be here as we
start Live Well Perris in 2014.”
The parking area at Mercado Park was filled an hour before the opening workout began, as people lined up to weigh-in for the biggest loser competition. City staff members recorded each contestant’s weight. By day’s end, City representatives had signed up 145 people for the biggest loser contest. Most stayed around for the one-hour workout, which included stretching, jumping, running, push-ups and squats.
The day’s events also included an appearance by Perris animal control officers, who provided information about pet ownership, available vaccines and answered questions from the public. Animal control officers will be at all winter workouts, which end on April 26 with a community health fair at Perris City Hall.
Residents like Rachel Martinez and Peggy Watson couldn’t wait for Saturday’s workout to begin.
“This is perfect,” Watson said. “I’m so grateful for the City of Perris
to offering this program. It’s going to help people get into shape so
they can avoid high-blood pressure and diabetes. The City really
cares about its residents.”
Martinez said her goal is to shed 30 pounds. She will be taking advantage of the complimentary City gym pass to biggest loser participants who weigh-in regularly throughout the duration of the program.
“It’s a great motivation to get out and get into shape,” Martinez said. “I want to get to a healthy weight. Some of us need encouragement to exercise. This is great encouragement.”
Workout participants included several members of Compassion Church in Downtown Perris. Church pastor Jerome Clay invited Assistant City Manager Ron Carr and IT Supervisor Arturo Cervantes to address the congregation about the Live Well Perris program. The pair showed a City-produced video and answered questions from the group, explaining that in addition to the Saturday workouts, the Live Well initiative also will include a series of sports clinics (basketball,
boxing and soccer), walks, hikes, the Tour De Perris bicycle ride
and other activities.
Clay was impressed.
“Let’s all be part of Live Well Perris,” he said. “The City of Perris is attuned to the needs of our community and is leading the way to a better Perris—and I love that. They are leading by example. That’s what we should all be doing.”
Church member Save Stewart took part in Saturday’s opening workout.
“It was really difficult at first, but once I got warmed up, I liked it,” Stewart said. “This is an absolutely wonderful program.”
Michele Crater described the workout as “intense but fun.”
“I can feel the burn in my arms,” Crater said. “It’s fun to get people out to work out. I don’t know of any other city that helps its residents get
healthy and stay healthy.”
Resident Monica Chan agreed the workout left her arms sore. But it was fun because of the “spirit and energy” it created among the exercising participants.
“The City cares about the wellness of its people and is committed to bringing wellness programs so people can maintain and improve their overall health,” she said.