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Monday, September 27, 2021

UCD Retiree Center aims to improve campus health

With the rates of obesity in the United States on the rise, the UC Davis Retiree Center is challenging students, staff, faculty and retirees of the Davis community to increase their health and wellness.

The “Healthy ’til 100 and Beyond” wellness challenge is a competition for students and faculty to adopt a healthier habit for 100 days. Students and staff can find a list of habits that range from the physical, such as improving posture, to the spiritual, like meditating every day, on the Retiree Center’s web site.

Sue Barnes, program manager at the UC Davis Retiree Center, said the philosophy behind the challenge is if someone can adopt a healthier habit for over 100 days, they will be more likely to keep the habit for the rest of their lives.

The challenge began last year from the inspiration of UC Davis’ centennial celebration.

“We came up with this challenge because we are always trying to promote health and wellness in retirement,” Barnes said.

The Retiree Center decided to bring back the program because of last year’s success. The challenge has spread from Davis and is now being adopted by retiree centers at Berkeley, Irvine and Los Angeles.

Barnes said almost 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition that affects their ability to lead active lives. It is for this reason that the Retiree Center chose to continue promoting Healthy ’til 100.

“We see, unfortunately, that by the time people reach their retirement age, they have had such unhealthy lifestyle habits,” Barnes said. “And when they want to enjoy the things they want to do, they can’t because of their health.”

The competition starts officially on Jan. 22 and will continue until May 3. In order to stay on track, participants can print out a tracking sheet on the retiree center’s web site.

Jennifer Rutherford, a staff member of the Office of the University Registrar, participated in the wellness challenge last year by meditating 10 minutes every day.

“The physical benefits of it were great,” she said in an e-mail interview. “I started feeling calmer after 30 days of doing it.”

Rutherford said that she has since stopped meditating.

“Make sure you pick what you want to do well,” she said. “Stick to doing something small right away because on some days you will feel some resistance to doing it than others.”

Prina Patel, a junior exercise biology major, said she will participate in the challenge because it aligns with her new year’s resolution.

“My new year’s resolution was to be more regular with working out,” Patel said. “This is the perfect way to keep me on track.”

Staff, faculty and retirees who register to participate will be entered into a drawing for prizes, as long as they can show they kept up their habit for at least 80 of the 100 days. Prizes include passes to the Activities and Recreation Center, the UC Davis Health System Fitness Center, among others.

Students and faculty can sign up for the challenge on the UC Davis Retiree Center’s web site. Although students are not eligible to receive prizes, they are urged to promote healthier living.

“We do encourage everyone to participate even if they are not eligible for the incentive prizes,” Barnes said. “The prize of better health is something that everyone can benefit from.”

NICK MARKWITH can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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