MIDLOTHIAN — Igniting an exciting health initiative, the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce has partnered with First United Methodist Church to host a communitywide campaign to strengthen the body, mind, and spirit. The challenge has taken on the name, “Live Well Midlothian."

“It’s not just about working out, but it’s really about becoming healthier,” began Cammy Jackson, president of the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce. “So if you need to start exercising, eating healthier, stop smoking, or spend more quality time outside with your family - then now’s a good time to start.”

“When we talk about health we’re talking about emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health. We want to build a strong, healthy community to live a healthier lifestyle,” she added.

What started as a snowball idea at a coincidental Rotary meeting between Jackson and healthcare expert, Mary Ellen Humphreys, soon avalanched into instant community support over the course of three months.

“It’s grown into this amazing communitywide event that’s blossomed so much interest from the community,” acknowledged Mary Ellen Humphreys, First United Methodist Church health and wholeness program director and chairman of Live Well Midlothian.

“Midlothian is so good about working with each other and doing things as a community that we thought a community challenge would be a perfect fit for us,” Jackson agreed.

Long enough to make a difference and short enough to have an attainable goal, the eight-week challenge will extend from Sept. 25 through Nov. 19.

“One of the mottos we’re going by is ‘It takes 21 days to change a habit, 90 days to change a lifestyle,’” Jackson acknowledged.

“I think people are realizing that healthy living is more important today than ever before, and I think they are really wanting to live healthier,” Humphreys jumped in.

In an event that combines fun with expert advice, and community fellowship and accountability, Jackson and Humphreys go on to note what’s to be expected for the kickoff event on Sept. 16.

“At the kickoff, there will be a registration fee of $10, and we’ll have an ‘ask the expert’ type of style event where you can come up to each booth and ask questions to different professionals, whether it’s workout or diet related,” Jackson explained.

“We’ll have a tracking sheet that has been developed by Methodist, and they will be doing all the tallies for everybody that participates in the event,” Humphreys added. “And we’re also offering accountability coaches for anybody that wants an accountability coach.”

“Each of us on the planning committee have signed up to be an accountability partner, so we’ll have a group of five or six people that we can do a group text every morning of encouragement to help motivate people and keep up with their progress,” Jackson articulated further.

In addition to the registration perks, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Baylor Scott and White Hospital, United Way of Ellis County, and Roger Kemp, CPA, CP, have provided everything from “Live Well” t-shirts to all access pass wrist bands, pedometers and water bottles for those who sign up.

With prize incentives and motivational accountability teams, participants can also receive bonus points for surpassing their original objectives.

“There will be a 30-day mark we’ll have a check-in and offer door prizes based on your points,” Humphreys simplified.

“The points will be a self-assessment,” Jackson affirmed. “It’s a really simple point system, and we don’t want to make it difficult for anybody, so you’ll have a sheet that you have your goals on, and if you meet that goal, then you’ll get points for it. And if you exceed that goal you get an extra star, so it makes it exciting and fun for people.”

To spice up the festivities, Jackson adds that the challenge will also provide a program that’s included with registration called, “Fitness in the Park.”

“We’re going to have a community calendar, and all of the fitness studios are going to do ‘Fitness in the Park,’” Jackson confirmed. “So these classes will be offered for free to those who register for the event. The wrist bands from registration will allow participants to get into these lessons at the park for free.”

“Right now we have 49 free classes in the parks of Midlothian every week,” Humphreys recognized. “And those classes go from yoga, line dancing, hip-hop, boot camp, self-defense, and so much more.”

As Live Well Midlothian’s commencement nears in next week’s sight, Jackson and Humphreys encourage the community to join in and take the challenge.

“I think what I’m excited about the most is that everybody just came together and said, ‘Yes, this is really cool, let’s do it,’” Jackson chuckled. “I think that everybody likes to be apart of something and this is such a big part of what Midlothian is all about and building that community, so I hope people will come and join us.”

“I hope people realize that when you say ‘live well’ that this brings awareness to the fact that you don’t have to run marathons or be a fitness geek, but you can eat better, stop old habits, or go outside more,” Humphreys encouraged. “Living well is all aspects of life.”

The Live Well Midlothian kickoff celebration begins on Sept. 16, at First United Methodist Church of Midlothian on 800 South Ninth Street from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration for adults over the age of 16 is $10 (cash only), and kids under the age of 16 are free. For more information, visit facebook.com/LiveWellMidlothian or connect with the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce at midlothianchamber.org or call (972)-723-8600.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450