Move your way to well-being

December 8, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,


Active U, MHealthy’s 12-week physical activity challenge, provides the perfect opportunity to start the new year off right.

Each year, the program draws thousands in the U-M community who use the weekly exercise goal, team camaraderie and coveted t-shirt as motivation to get moving.

One such colleague is Mae Huynh, Ph.D. For Huynh, carving out time to exercise, practice yoga and make simple changes like eating more vegetables has helped her de-stress and feel more energized throughout her workday.

“Maintaining good health is important so that as I age, I can hopefully reduce physical ailments that may diminish my quality of life,” said Mae, an assistant professor of research in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical School. “I like Active U because it gives me a snapshot of how much exercise I’ve done in a week and serves as a reminder to do more when I see that I haven’t logged enough minutes.”

Now is the chance for you to reap the benefits of Active U. Registration for the winter program is now open!

When you register, you can set your weekly exercise goal by answering a few questions about your current amount of physical activity. You may also choose to remain an individual participant or to join or create a team. Then, starting Jan. 10, begin logging your exercise in the online tracker!

“On average, most people should try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least five days a week to improve fitness,” said Colleen Greene, MHealthy senior wellness coordinator. “Walking, yoga, strength training, swimming, yard work, shoveling snow and even playing tag with the kids all count toward reaching your exercise goal each week. Active U truly is a program for all fitness levels, ages and abilities.”

For David Young, a multimedia designer at the U-M School of Information, his commitment to moving more and making small, incremental changes helped him lose more than 100 pounds.

“The important thing for me was to always keep moving,” David said. “I started doing things like taking 10-minute walking breaks at work and parking at the back of the parking lot. It took me four or five months, but eventually reaching my goal of 10,000 steps each day wasn’t as daunting. Choosing to do that, combined with sensible eating and taking advantage of MHealthy programs like Active U, is how I stay the course.”

Among the program highlights for 2017 are:

  • More ways to log your exercise: In addition to logging via the website, text message or mobile app, you can now sync your Fitbit, Garmin or Jawbone wearable tracking device. Or, you may download and sync the free version of Runkeeper, an activity tracking app available for iPhone or Android smartphones
  • Earn an Active U t-shirt: Earn a 2017 t-shirt for successfully completing the program (free to any employee; available for a small fee for spouses and other qualified adults, students and retirees)
  • Charity donation: Participants can donate to raise money for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
  • $50 incentive: Active U qualifies for MHealthy Rewards 2017, which gives benefits-eligible faculty and staff the opportunity to earn up to $100 for completing two qualifying healthy activities in 2017

All U-M faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, retirees and employee spouses/other qualified adults can register for Active U now!

Logging exercise minutes starts Jan. 10 and continues through April 3.