A higher than expected number of people are taking action to improve their health by taking the Beat The Santa Bulge challenge offered by Central Avenue Physiotherapy.
Over 70 participants have weighed in and are taking steps to lose weight over the Christmas holiday season, often a time when sweets add pounds and family gatherings limit exercise time.
"I'm so impressed with the people and residents of Swift Current and surrounding area for looking at this challenge and thinking 'I'm not going to wait til January 1 to make my New Year's Resolution, I'm going to start right now with it!' I know December is a really busy, busy time for people, between trying to get organized for Christmas, lots of extra activities going on - Christmas concerts, Christmas parties," noted Cindy Stechyshyn from Central Avenue Physiotherapy.
Participants in the challenge started with a pre-challenge body composition, and following two months of weight loss will undergo a second body composition measurement to determine the winner. Participants have access to the Central Avenue Physiotherapy gym facility over the eight weeks of the contest to assist them in their weight loss goals.
"We know what we need to do in regards to the healthy eating, the healthy lifestyles, staying physically active. But we allow ourselves to kind of focus on all those other things and we just don't take the time, or make the time, put it in the schedule to actually stay on top of all those other healthy things that we need to do for ourselves."
Stechyshyn said the popularity of the challenge is a realization from people that they need to make some lifestyle choices.
"I think there's just a lot of people who know they need to get out and do something. That they're not feeling well about what their health is doing, not feeling well about how their body physically feels, how it looks," she said.
Even people who are not participating in the challenge can takes simple steps to live a healthier lifestyle.
"The focus that we really just wanted to do is just to make physical activity and healthy lifestyle a part of everyday, no matter how crazy each and every day gets, that still needs to be priority in each and everyone's life."
"Lots of times what we see from a physiotherapy perspective is because people don't have the strength, don't have the movement, don't have the flexibility, and then something happens and then they get injured because of that. So it's just getting back to the basics and just making sure that is top priority each and every day."
Fortunately, people looking to lose weight do not have to forgo every glass of egg nog or butter tart offered to them over the holidays.
Stechyshyn points out the key word is moderation.
"It's not that you can't. Go ahead and enjoy those things. It's one thing if you're actually staying active through that, we just tend to lose the activity, and then we're adding all those other things on top."