GREENFIELD — Walk into Hancock Wellness Center this month, and you’ll likely see lots of yellow.
You’ll see members working out in yellow shirts, carrying yellow smiley-face balloons and donning funky yellow sunglasses.
The eye-catching campaign is part of an effort to raise awareness about childhood obesity as well as help a local school get new fitness equipment to fight the epidemic.
For the second time, the wellness center is participating in Let’s Move for a Better World Challenge.
Fitness manufacturer Technogym puts on the annual contest that inspires participants to be more physically active.
Participants track their physical movements (called MOVEs) at their fitness center through a cloud-based app. The facility in each country that records the most MOVEs will receive a donation of $40,000 of fitness equipment to be installed at a local school.
More than 350 fitness centers across the world are participating, but directors at Hancock Wellness said they believe the local center has a chance to win top honors.
Last year, Hancock Wellness was first runner-up for the United States, falling second only to a fitness facility in Oklahoma. Hancock Wellness placed third in the world last year.
The competition started Monday and runs through March 22, and its goal is to encourage schools around the world to fully incorporate fitness and wellness into early education settings.
On the local level, the wellness center is hoping to involve anyone with an interest in getting healthy in the campaign. Those who wish to participate don’t have to be fitness center members.
Nonmembers will have three opportunities this month to use the facility’s equipment free of charge to add to its total MOVEs.
The first opportunity is from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday at a special event aimed at bringing families together. Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen will be at the fitness center encouraging children and adults to be active.
On March 13, local firefighters will be at the gym racking up MOVEs and encouraging children to compete with them.
A 24-hour challenge takes place March 20 to 21. The facility will be open to the community from 5:30 a.m. March 20 through 4 p.m. March 21. The goal is to keep one of the facility’s treadmills running for all 24 hours.
Directors at the wellness center said they believe this is the year to take top honors. Last year, they lost to the fitness center in Oklahoma by fewer than 150,000 MOVEs.
To put the number in perspective, Hancock Wellness racked up more than 250,000 MOVEs on the challenge’s first day.
“We will definitely win,” director David Flench said. “We’re a No. 1 facility.”
And the enthusiasm is building.
As of Monday, 446 members had signed up to take part in the challenge, up from 325 total participants last year.
Wellness center members can continue to sign up throughout the challenge to participate.
Flench said he hopes the initiative is one the entire community can be involved in.
“Childhood obesity has become more and more of a problem,” he said. “It seems like there’s less and less opportunities for kids to be active. I think the whole community can get behind this.”
Participating in the challenge is a good time for everyone, fitness director Kellie McBride said. Last year, as the challenge’s end drew near, local competitors ramped up their efforts to attempt to make Hancock Wellness the winner.
“It’s just plain old fun to compete with everyone else, especially across the country,” she said.
And the challenge is a win-win for everyone involved, McBride said. Participants are encouraged to be more physically active, and a local school has the opportunity to win fitness equipment.
John Peach, a Greenfield resident and Indianapolis firefighter, is participating in the challenge for the first time. He said choosing to participate was an easy decision because he’s at the wellness center each day anyway.
“It’s fun,” he said of the challenge. And he hopes it inspires others to make healthy lifestyle changes.
He walks 12 to 15 miles a day and will use those MOVEs to contribute to the wellness center’s total.
Throughout the challenge, participants will be able to win prizes, such as free oil changes and massages.
And since the county has four school districts, the center is conducting a penny war to determine which school would get the fitness equipment if Hancock Wellness wins.
All money raised through the penny war will be donated to the Hancock Regional Hospital Foundation.
Hancock Wellness Center, 888 W. New Road, will be open to all community members for free three times this month as part of the Let’s Move for a Better World Challenge.
The challenge pits fitness center across the world against one another in a friendly competition aimed at spreading awareness of childhood obesity. The winning center will get $40,000 of fitness equipment to donate to a local school.
Here are the dates and times anyone can work out at the center for free:
- 8 p.m. to midnight Friday
- 8 p.m. to midnight March 13
- 5:30 a.m. March 20 to 4 p.m. March 21