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School's treadmill challenge takes steps toward healthier lifestyles

CHAZY - As a way of getting people into shape, teacher Laurie Parsons is encouraging others to "work out" across the country ... so to speak.

Just before Christmas vacation, Parsons, the computer teacher and technology coordinator at Chazy Central Rural School, sent a memo to school staff, hoping they would join in what would become "The Great Chazy Treadmill Challenge."

Although "treadmill" is in the challenge's name, Parsons explained people can really work out in any way.

"People do like the fact that basically everything counts," she said. "So, that if I'm going to do a Tae Bo tape, that works. If you're going to do aerobics; if you're going to do a bicycle; if you're going to swim; if you're going to do hockey -it all counts."

The way the challenge works, is at the end of every week - with the challenge currently in its fourth week - participants simply let Parsons know how much exercise they did. If they are doing an exercise other than walking or running and are unable to convert the exercise into mileage, Parsons will figure it out.

For example, people who choose to exercise on the Nintendo Wii will earn points based on how much work they did. Parsons considers 20 points to be about a mile.

"It's exact enough for our little mileage across the country," she said.

Currently, the challenge has 32 participants, mostly adults, although the students are encouraged to participate as well.

"There are a few students, but very few in numbers," Parsons explained. "They sometimes are kind of busy for that, with the sports they're already doing. So, they are exercising, [and] they can count that."

Parsons also wants people to know that they don't have to be a staff member at the school, or even a member of the community, to participate.

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