Gulf Park Health Center

Gazebo Gazette

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Gulf Park Health Center’s (GPHC) staff invites members of the university community to become the best version of themselves this year through the Wellness Warriors Challenge beginning Jan. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gulf Park Health Center in Long Beach, Miss.

The Wellness Warriors Challenge is a nine-week program focused on building a stronger and healthier body, no matter the fitness journey. ActiveHealth Wellness Coach Jodi Ryder, along with GPHC staff, will provide instruction on the program’s education topics of nutrition, stress management, smart goal setting, workouts and effective sleep habits.

Jennifer Larson, Office Manager of the GPHC hopes the challenge will motivate participants to get involved and stay active.

“It’s a wellness challenge to get people motivated and show them different avenues and ways they can get healthy,” Larson said. “It’s not just a physical challenge, but a mental challenge.”

Every two weeks, the health center will send out mini challenges for participants to build on their health journey. An initial weigh-in and measurement will take place Jan. 18 and conclude with a final weigh-in and measurement March 21. Larson encourages the weigh-in and measurements to track progress and boost motivation. Many who start on a realistic health journey will experience positive health benefits and a boost in confidence, and clothes will begin fitting differently.

“You can’t rely 100 percent on the numbers on the scale,” said Larson.

A healthier lifestyle starts with proper nutrition, exercise, hydration and making simple life changes. Larson emphasized scheduling annual well checks at a primary care physician, a simple, daily 30-minute walk outside and reducing time in front of the television, computer, and cell phone screens before bedtime as among healthy habits that can make a difference in the long run.

“We are stronger than we think we are,” Larson said.

Larson also noted that while setbacks can occur and be discouraging, dwelling on them is not productive. She recommends finding a mentor and setting rewards as sources of encouragement throughout the wellness journey.

Be a part of the Wellness Warriors Challenge by registering online.

(Gabriela Shinskie contributed to the article)