Feb 28, 2017

Anthem Foundation and USABA Partner to Inspire Fitness

By: Courtney Patterson, USABA Staff

Anthem Foundation has once again graciously awarded the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) grant funding for the National Fitness Challenge. This will be the fifth iteration of the USABA-Anthem National Fitness Challenge.

“The Anthem Foundation continues to empower and inspire youth and adults across the nation who are blind and visually impaired by supporting the National Fitness Challenge,” said USABA’s Executive Director, Mark Lucas. “We are honored and excited to once again partner with the Anthem Foundation to cultivate a healthier community.”

Established in 2011, the National Fitness Challenge has impacted the lives of more than 3,000 people who are blind and visually impaired across the U.S. The overall goal remains the same every year, to raise the physical activity levels of each participant to the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - 30 minutes of moderate physical activity and 10,000 steps per day.

Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, because of the numerous barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, more than half of those who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical fitness routine.

As it has in previous years’ National Fitness Challenge programs, technology will play a key role in motivating and tracking success. Grant funding from Anthem Foundation will provide a Fitbit Flex 2 wearable to each participant. The wearable technology provides an accessible way for National Fitness Challenge participants to set goals and monitor their progress. It also introduces a level of social interaction with other participants as the 13 agencies will be competing with their fellow participants on active minutes and number of steps each month. Top participants at each agency will be awarded prizes to further encourage healthy habits.

USABA will partner with 13 agencies across the nation to recruit participants and provide resources and sports and physical activity opportunities to reach their daily goals. To support participants in each city, partnering agencies will offer programming in activities like walking, tandem cycling, rowing, yoga and goalball, a Paralympic team sport for blind and visually impaired athletes. Some agencies will also be leading participants through a couch to 5k program for participation in a local 5k race during the challenge. During the 9-month program, USABA will also work with agencies to coordinate a USABA Paralympic Day in which members of the local communities will be invited to participate in sport programming specifically for people who are blind and visually impaired. Throughout the program, Anthem employees from local offices will have opportunities to engage with partnering agencies and participants by volunteering at various events and or planned programs.

As the year progresses, check usaba.org and social media (#NFChallenge2017) for agency highlights and individual success stories!

USABA is partnering with the following agencies on the 2017 National Fitness Challenge:

• Atlanta – Georgia Blind Sports Association
• Austin – Texas School for the Blind
• Cincinnati – Cincinnati Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired
• Cleveland –Cleveland Sight Center
• Denver – WE Fit Wellness
• Fort Wayne – Turnstone Center
• Indianapolis – USABA Indianapolis
• Knoxville – Club Vibes
• Los Angeles – Junior Blind of America
• Memphis – Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes-Memphis
• Sacramento – Sacramento Society for the Blind
• San Francisco – Lighthouse for the Blind
• St. Louis – National Federation for the Blind-Missouri

 


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