1,000 Pound Challenge: Petersburg offers free YMCA membership in health initiative

Petersburg offering free YMCA membership in heath initiative

PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - There’s an organized effort underway to improve the health of people who live, work, or attend church in Petersburg.

You can call it their version of The Biggest Loser. The city is providing people with a free, temporary membership to the YMCA as part of a 30-day fitness challenge. It comes as Petersburg was once again named the worst city in Virginia when it comes to health.

Within just three days of announcing this initiative, 300 people have signed up and it’s only growing. There are so many distractions to keep you from getting up and getting moving.

"Technology and everybody’s busy,” Angalyc Merrifield said.

Sometimes, we’re motivated by life’s tough blows.

"It kind of scared me, you know?” Ann Hearney said.

After surviving cancer, she decided to take control.

"I’m more conscious of my body and my health,” she said while riding an exercise bike.

That’s what Petersburg is working to get more people doing. It’s called the 1,000 Pound Challenge. The city is offering a free membership to the YMCA for people and groups who sign up to shed some pounds. There’s something in it for the biggest winner.

“We have an awesome competition trophy for the group that loses the most weight, and we also have a free three-month YMCA membership for the individual that loses the most pounds," city spokesperson Folakemi Osoba said. "Then we also have a grand prize gift basket for the person that earns the most points.”

Participants earn points by attending exercise and wellness events the city is offering all around town.

"I feel like that’s a great idea,” Merrifield said.

For years, Petersburg has ranked at the bottom of a statewide list of the most healthy cities in the commonwealth. The message behind this challenge is if you want to get healthy, there’s no excuse not to.

"We’re giving the time, we’re giving the resources, we’re giving the encouragement and the support to really get started,” Osoba said.

A message not lost on 6-year-old Vincent Bracey. Not only is he a pro at jumping jacks ...

"I eat healthy ... salad and green beans,” he said.

Add that to a little exercise, and we may have a winner.

"It adds that healthy piece of competition to really get people in the spirit of doing it and doing it well,” Osoba said.

There is still time left if you want to get in on the action. You’ve got a little under a week to do it.

For more information and to sign up, CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.