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  • Welcome to the VT Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports

    Who We Are
    The Governor's Council is a physical activity promotion and advocacy group comprised of approximately 20 volunteers, appointed by the Governor and representing a broad spectrum of Vermonters.

    Our Mission
    To promote health and wellness through physical activity for all people living in Vermont at all fitness and ability levels.

Governor Shumlin Proclaims May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont


“I, Governor Peter Shumlin, proclaim the month of May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont and I ask everyone to move more every day.”

Montpelier, VT – On May 3, 2016, Governor Peter Shumlin declared May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont, encouraging Vermonters to be active this spring. Janet Franz, Chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and members of the council joined Shumlin in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the State House.

The Governor’s proclamation aligns with the national designation of May as Physical Fitness and Sports Month, an effort by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity.

In Vermont, 61% of adults and 26% of youth are overweight or obese, according to the state Department of Health, which cites lack of physical activity as the reason. More than three quarters (77%) of Vermont’s youth do not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and 20% of Vermont adults participate in no leisure time physical activity. The department estimates that medical expenses attributable to adult obesity in Vermont total $291 million annually.

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports promotes health and wellness through physical activity for people of all fitness and ability levels. It encourages mature Vermonters to participate in fitness and sports through the Vermont Senior Games Association, families to be active outdoors with Vermont Parks Prescriptions, and working Vermonters to walk and run with co-workers at the annual Corporate Cup Challenge & State Agency Race on May 12 in Montpelier.

“Physical activity is for everyone. No matter your age, ability or fitness level, you can find activities that fit your lifestyle and lead you to better health,” said Franz. “Everyone can find ways to move more. Together, let’s rise to the challenge and get more active this spring!”

 Pictured in photo, left to right: Corey Cenate, Council member; James Pepper, Council member; Governor Peter Shumlin; Janet Franz, Council President; Gary Eley, President of Vermont Senior Games; Dr. David Butsch, Council member; Sue Allen, Governor’sDeputy Chief of Staff.

Walk to help others

2015 Vermont Corporate Cup and State Agency Race

Like flowers, charity walks bloom this time of year. Millions of people walk to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, disease prevention, homeless shelters, and other worthy goals.

Join in to help fellow citizens while improving your own health. Get started:

  • Target a cause. Choose a charity that has meaning for you. Walk for someone you know who’s battling an illness, recovering from a natural disaster, or living with a crippling condition. Raise funds in their honor, and carry their photograph while you walk. You’ll feel the difference you’re making in your body and soul.
  • Train for the occasion. Prepare by exercising daily. Start with walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, gradually increasing your mileage to the distance of the event. Strength train 2-3 times/week to prevent injury and fatigue.
  • Recruit teammates. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers about your charity walk and invite them to join you. Buddy up on your training workouts for support and encouragement.

This month, walk with others to help others — and motivate yourself.

Exercising with Resistive Fitness Band

 Exercising with Resistive Fitness Band

Download this resource as a PDF: Council Resistive Fitness Band Exercises

Resistive fitness bands provide an economical and portable means for strengthening muscles and increasing endurance. They are versatile and easy to use. You can purchase bands at sporting goods stores or physical therapy suppliers.

To prolong the life of your band and protect yourself, please follow these precautions and guidelines.

Safety Precautions & Storage

  • Keep band away from sharp objects. Beware of sharp fingernails, jewelry and stones in bottoms of shoes.
  • Store band at room temperature in a dry environment, away from direct sunlight.
  • If the band has been tied, untie it before storing.
  • Before each use, examine the band for small tears or punctures that may cause it to break. If you find flaws, discard and replace the band.

Exercise Guidelines

  • Perform each exercise 2-3 times/week on non-consecutive days with 1-2 sets of 8-15 repetitions.
  • To make an exercise more difficult, increase tension in the band by grabbing it closer to the anchor point (foot, mid-back, etc.). To decrease resistance, reduce tension (add slack) by gripping further from the anchor point.
  • Train, don’t strain. Go easy for the first few weeks, gradually increasing repetitions and resistance. Stop if you feel pain or dizziness.
  • Keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath. Exhale on the exertion phase of an exercise.
  • Never pull band directly toward your face.
  • Maintain slight bends in elbows and knees.

Resistance Band Exercises

Hips & Outer Thighs

  • SEATED ABDUCTION: While sitting with legs close together, wrap the band firmly around your thighs and hold the loose ends in your hands. Keeping your feet together, move thighs outward from the hips, pushing against the band, then release. Repeat to complete set.

Fronts of Thighs

  • SEATED LEG PRESS: Sit upright and lift your right leg. Bend the right knee with your toes pointed away from you. Place the center of the band under the right foot and grasp both ends in each hand. Slowly straighten and bend the knee. Complete set, and repeat on the left leg.
  • SQUATS: Stand with both feet on center of the band hip-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Hold band ends in each hand. Bend your knees while keeping the ends of the band up, your chest lifted, back straight, and abs braced. Knees move forward over the middle of your feet, butt stops just about the knee line. Return to standing. Repeat to complete set.

Backs of Thighs

  • STANDING LEG CURLS: Loop middle of band around the back of the right ankle. Anchor by placing ends together and standing on them with left foot. Brace hands against a wall, desk or chair back. Lift right leg behind the left leg. Bend right knee to bring your heel up toward your rear-end, then straighten knee. Complete set on right leg then repeat on left.


  • CHEST PRESS: While standing or sitting, wrap the band behind mid-back, grasping it with both hands so there is slight tension on band when elbows are bent 90º. The band is under the armpits. Push arms forward, keeping shoulders down, and return to start. Repeat.
  • CHEST FLY: In same position as Chest Press, bring elbows together across the mid-chest. Try to touch elbows (not hands) together, release. Keep your arms high and hands and wrists over elbows. Repeat.

Upper Back

  • SEATED ROW: While seated, place center of band under both feet and grasp each end with palms inward and elbows close to the body. Sit up tall with chest lifted. Slowly pull the ends of the band toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause, then slowly straighten your arms. Repeat to complete set.
  • STANDING ROW: Stand with left leg forward, right leg behind. Loop middle of band under left foot and grasp ends in right hand. Pull the ends diagonally toward your right hip, without moving your body. Squeeze your right shoulder blade, as though you are wrapping your arm. around your back, then release. Complete set, then repeat on other side.

Low Back

  • FORWARD BEND: Stand with band centered under both feet in shoulder-width stance. Grasp ends of bands with your hands by your sides. Bend forward from the hips with a back flat, abdominals tight, and head up. Pause, then stand up while pushing shoulders back and pressing heels into the floor. Repeat to complete set.


  • BICEPS CURLS: Stand with one or two feet on one end of the band and grasp the other end in your hand. Turn your palm toward the ceiling. While keeping your upper arm pressed against your body, bend your elbow to bring your hand up toward your shoulder, pause, then release and straighten arm completely. Complete set and repeat with other arm.
  • TRICEPS KICK-BACK: Stand with one end of band under your left foot and the other end in your right hand. Bring right leg behind and lean forward from the hips with your head up and your left hand braced against your left thigh or a chair. Place knuckles of right hand on right hip with elbow bent at 90º. Straighten the elbow while keeping shoulder braced, pause, and then bend elbow to bring knuckles back to hip. Keep the action in the elbow, not shoulder.


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  • FRONT ARM RAISE: Stand with one or two feet on one end of the band and grasp the other end in your hand. Arm is straight at your side, thumb against your thigh. With elbow slightly bent, lift arm forward until your hand is just below shoulder height. Pause, then bring arm down to start position. Complete set and repeat on other arm.
  • SIDE ARM RAISE: In same starting position as Front Arm Raise, lift arm to side (90º) until hand is just below shoulder height. Pause, then bring arm down to start position. Repeat.


  • SIDE BENDS: Stand with one or two feet on one end of band and grasp the other end in your right hand. Lift your right arm up until the elbow is straight. Keep the arm close to your head as you lean directly sideways to the left, pause, then return to standing. Repeat. Keep abs braced and be sure to move directly sideways with no forward flexion from the hips or back.
  • CRUNCH: Wrap band around something stationary such as a pole, and stand or sit with the pole behind you, holding band ends in each hand over your head. Tilt upper body forward from the hips, bringing your chest toward your thighs. Pause, return to start position, repeat.

Copyright 2016 Janet Essman Franz  •  Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach •  vermontfitness@vermont.gov   •   (802) 238-8182  •   vermontfitness.org

Integrating Wellness On and Off the Job: Worksite Wellness Conference March 30, 2016

BURLINGTON – Employers throughout Vermont are invited to attend the Vermont Worksite Wellness Conference on March 30, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in Burlington. Vermont business leaders, human resources professionals, and wellness specialists will share ideas for inspiring employees to make healthy choices on and off the job.

Governor Peter Shumlin, Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD, and the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports will present awards to 70 employers for their efforts to create a culture of wellness at their worksites.

Worksite wellness programs play an important role in promoting the health of employees, while yielding significant financial benefits for employers, in lowered health care costs, enhanced productivity, and reduced absenteeism. The benefits of worksite wellness programs often carry over, positively impacting employees even when they are off the job.

Evelyn Sikorski, manager of EFAP and Health Management at the University of Vermont Medical Center has seen the many ways a worksite wellness program benefit an organization and its employees. “Cultivating a healthy workplace where employees can feel and perform at their best is at the heart of employee wellness at the University of Vermont Medical Center. We receive testimonials from employees who have been able to make significant changes which impact home, work, and improved quality of life.”

Keynote speaker David Katz, MD, author of several books including ‘Disease Proof,’ and director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, will discuss what makes a healthy organization, the culture of such organizations, and how to get individuals engaged in wellness. During afternoon workshops, conference goers will delve deeper into a variety of subjects, such as incorporating physical activity and nutrition in the workplace, secular meditation and mindfulness for stress reduction, and corporate volunteering for worksite and community wellness.

The $104 registration fee includes a healthy lunch and a day with multiple physical activity breaks. Deadline to register is March 16. For more information call 802-859-5916.

Register online at:  http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=q9bdxwqab&oeidk=a07eborku1a0e677806

Conference co-sponsors are the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Vermont Department of Health, BlueCross and BlueShield of Vermont, Cigna, MVP Health Care, Northwestern Medical Center, University of Vermont Medical Center, INVEST EAP and The Edge.

To learn more about Worksite Wellness in Vermont, visit: http://healthvermont.gov/family/fit/worksitewellness.aspx

Dressing for Winter Running in Vermont

Vermont winters are long and unpredictable; yet running in the elements can be joyful and rewarding for your body and your spirit. Here are 9 tips to help you to stay warm and enjoy it!

1.       Wear layers  

Dressing in wool or synthetic base layers is essential.  These materials will wick the sweat away and keep you warm. I would avoid cotton all together – not even cotton socks!  Fleece layers are great and a wind layer on the outside. It can often be the wind that bites!   Better too many layers than not enough. You can always remove one.

2.       Hat and Gloves 

Always wear hat and mittens/gloves. The hat holds the heat in and the gloves keep your digits warm. You can always remove them, but having flexibility is good.

3.       Scarf, Neck Warmer, Buff

When it’s really cold and windy, covering the face is helpful to avoid Jack Frost’s nip. You can also apply Vaseline, Dermatone, or any skin protector to exposed skin.

4.       Footwear  

Proper running footwear is critical! Some running shoes have enough traction for the snow however most shoes will not grip on the ice. You can add screws to the bottom of your shoes, invest in Ice Bugs, or other ice equipped add-ons to your footwear.

5.       Reflective Vest 

We know daylight is a precious Vermont winter commodity. If you’re heading out when daylight can be compromised, wear a reflective vest and headlamp. They make you visible and help you see – a win win!

6.       Drink Water  

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Even in the cold, hydration is important. Stay hydrated with water.

7.       Check the Weather  

It’s good to know the predicted forecast, so you’re prepared. Everyone has a threshold!  If you’re prepared, the chances of increasing your pleasure with outside exercise is increased.

8.       Plan a Route

Your typical routes might be impassable in the winter. Plan a route that you know is safe and let someone know where you’re going.

9.   Start Toasty

If you want to start warm, throw your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes before you start, assuring a toasty beginning.


Author: Joy Grossman, RunVermont

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