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“Wisconsin Idle” Challenge: Get Up, Have Fun, Fight Cancer

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May 20, 2008

Wausau, WI – Memorial Day weekend kicks off a season of outdoor activities for a lot of Wisconsinites, and the state's many couch potatoes are being challenged to join in the fun, get active, and get healthier. It's part of the "Great American Get Active Challenge," an American Cancer Society effort to encourage people to reduce their cancer risk by doing more physical activity.

Judy Burrows with the Marathon County Health Department says the best way to get that activity is to make sure you're having a good time doing it.

"Being active needs to be fun, you need to enjoy it. If it feels like a job, you're not going to enjoy it, you're not going to stick to it. So, you need to choose activities that you enjoy, choose times of day that you feel comfortable doing them, do them with people that you like."

Burrows says the warmer months are a good time to replace the carpool to work with a bike-pool or walking-pool.

"Using walking as a transportation method, if you need to get to school or if you need to get to work, sometimes having that little stroll together with someone else makes the stroll go a little faster and gets a little bit of additional activity time in your day."

Beth Brunner with the American Cancer Society in Wisconsin says getting active and having fun can have a serious benefit.

"In a recent study they said more than half of Wisconsin adults have a sedentary lifestyle that includes little or no physical activity. If you have that, you're really increasing your risk of diseases like cancer, and it can impact heart disease."

Schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces are organizing walking groups, recreational sports, and other outdoor activities as part of the challenge. "Get Active" suggestions for communities, families, and businesses are available at
www.cancer.org/GreatAmericans.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WI