SSM Health’s “Fitness Forward” challenge tapped into Judy Marshall’s competitive instincts.
Judy, of Cottleville, responded to it by working out for 13,372 minutes during the six-week period of Sept. 14-Oct. 26, tops among the 395 people who registered for the event.
“I loved the challenge of it. It was a good motivational tool,” said Judy, a St. Peters Rec-Plex Dynamic Training Center (DTC) member who walked about 10 miles every day and worked out five to six times a week at the DTC.
The challenge asked participants from St. Charles County to be active for 30 minutes for each of the 42 days. It measured minutes rather than steps to ensure a level playing field for everyone, regardless of age. Activity was tracked in MoveSpring, a platform that links into a smartphone, Fitbit or other device.
Judy outpaced Carole Stangle (12,331 minutes), Don Speis (11,222), Mike Stangle (10,548) and John Cody (10,394) to earn the top spot for active minutes. Carole Stangle and her husband, Mike, also are Rec-Plex patrons.
Awards for participating in the contest were chosen randomly, and participants improved their chances of winning by participating in the challenge on a regular basis. Rec-Plex member Mari Elliott and Mike Stangle were both active and lucky, being drawn for the top two prizes in the contest. (Read more about Mari below.)
For Judy, the goal was to be the most active and No. 1 on the leaderboard.
“It was my own personal goal,” Judy said. “There were like three or four of us (battling). I would go down to second, I would go down to third. It flip-flopped. Those people that were right there kept me pushing myself a little bit harder.”
Judy had other motivation, too. She had recently learned her cholesterol level was “a little bit high” and it was recommended she exercise even more.
“I’m thinking, ‘You don’t realize how much I do already,’” Judy said. “But I was l like, ‘OK, well, maybe I’ll use that as my challenge, my motivator, to push myself a little bit more.’”
During the challenge, Judy would walk with her husband, Edward, and their three dogs on the trail at St. Peters’ Woodlands Sports Park. When Edward and the dogs went home, Judy remained on the trail, then walked home.
“Right there, for me to even do that, was about 10 miles,” said Judy, who also mixed up her scenery by walking at Legacy Park in Cottleville. “The parks are so beautiful to enjoy, and we’ve got so many nice trails.”
Judy also worked out with Edward or her sister at the DTC, or she would attend one of her personal-trainer workouts. On inclement days, Judy used her treadmill at home.
“It wasn’t hard,” Judy said. “I’m active anyway; I always have been. I’m retired, so I can go out every day and do what I want to do. I just did more (during the challenge). … And when you have someone to go with you, it helps.”
Judy said she and Edward also are avid hikers who enjoy bicycling. They often visit the parks along Highway 94 between St. Peters and Defiance.
Judy purchased a membership to the DTC after she retired two years ago. The DTC, which is attached to Rec-Plex South, has 10,000 square feet of workout space, including 8,000 square feet of Astro Turf, a three-lane sprint track, plenty of dynamic workout equipment and heavy lifting/weight equipment.
The Rec-Plex also offers a Total Body Camp program and small group training classes at the DTC.
“I love the gym there and working out with the trainers,” she said. “It’s just a good place. There’s no judging on how anyone looks. You can just go do your thing. Just because (the Challenge) is over, my lifestyle will stay the same. I’ll always work out. That’s what I like to do the most.”
Elliott gets grand prize
Mari, an O’Fallon resident, was the winner of the grand prize in the challenge, receiving a fitness mirror that includes a one-year subscription to a personal trainer.
Mari, 82, finished in 50th place with 3,349 minutes, but she was active during each day of the challenge, which earned her seven entries in the drawing for the fitness mirror.
Mari’s time in the challenge was spent walking 10,000 steps per day and participating twice a week in longtime trainer Christia Jones’ aqua aerobics classes at the Rec-Plex. A total of 37 people from Christia’s aqua aerobics and DTC group training classes participated in SSM Health’s “Fitness Forward” challenge.
“All I accomplished is what I usually do,” Mari said of her activity, which helps her fight the symptoms of arthritis. “I need to stay active because of the arthritis that’s trying to take over my body. I don’t want to be like those other 80-, 90-year-olds that are (hunched). Even though I’ve got (arthritis), I’m still trying to work through it.”
Winning the grand prize came as a shock to Mari.
“The feeling I got was euphoria,” Mari said. “I’m excited to start using the membership.”
Mari gains satisfaction from the aqua aerobics classes, where she is joined by one of her daughters.
“Christia is a great teacher,” Mari said. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have even entered the SSM challenge. She gave pamphlets to everybody in her classes. I thought, ‘Why not?’ I walk every day and go to her classes. I just did what I usually do every day. You had to stay active for 30 minutes. That’s easy.”
Mari has lived an active lifestyle, and the Rec-Plex enables her to remain on that path.
“The Rec-Plex has been a great place,” Mari said. “I love the water.”