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Oak Harbor goes on a fitness kick

Physical fitness is a good start toward a successful life, but it’s not enough in this day and age.

A new group within the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce created the Oh Fit! program that’s geared toward the physical, mental, financial and spiritual well-being of the community.

Lori Rhodenbaugh, the creator of Oh fit!, assembled a board in April. From there, the group designed an all-inclusive, community-wide program to improve Oak Harborite’s quality of life.

“Especially with the economic downturn, we have a lot of resources here to live well and live better,” she said.

The program is designed to encourage a healthier lifestyle by offering tools and resources for healthy living and encouraging participation in existing programs that are available through the community, she said.

Tuesday night’s Chamber of Commerce and Wal-Mart Oh fit! Expo served as a springboard for the program, she said. The group’s next goal is to work with local restaurants to create Oh fit menu offerings.

Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway is currently the only restaurant on board, Rhodenbaugh said, but others have expressed interest in the program.

Restaurant owner Scott Fraser is currently working with a registered dietitian who’s volunteering time to help him add a healthy option to his decadent menu.

“It’s been a challenge,” she said. “The dietitians’ guidelines are pretty strict.”

The Expo featured the offerings of 30 chamber members, ranging from Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation to Whidbey General Hospital.

Pets provide health benefits beyond the ability to get their owners out for a walk around the block, said longtime WAIF volunteers Gail Kirschbaum and Sharon Sloan. A furry, four-legged friend can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Not sure if your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are within a healthy range? Whidbey General Hospital offers a “Heartwise” screening program that’ll provide a complete cholesterol test, fasting blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate, body mass index and a 10-year estimated risk-projection of developing heart disease. The 10-minute test costs $65 and requires a 12-hour fast and a finger-prick drop of blood.

Physical and mental fitness is especially important during tough times, said Jill Johnson, chamber executive director.

“The one thing you can control in this economy is the time and effort you put into yourself,” she said.

As part of the ongoing program, the Chamber of Commerce will include nutrition tips, general fitness and well-being advice in its weekly email alerts, in addition to a monthly insert in its Business Voice newsletter that will includes more tips, a trail of the month and list of wellness resources provided by our its members.

Contact the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce at 675-3755 to receive the weekly tips and monthly articles.

Neighborhood Fitness

Get walking: Mt. Baker Crossfit is starting a walking program, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3, every Tuesday at 6 a.m., Thursday at 10 a.m., Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Meet in front of the gazebo at Windjammer Park. Call Skip Chase at Mt. Baker Crossfit, 675-6306, for more information.

Be in the know: Whidbey General Hospital’s “Heartwise” screening program provides a complete cholesterol test, fasting blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate, body mass index and a 10-year estimated risk-projection of developing heart disease for $65. Call 678-7656 ext. 2130.

Find a furry friend: WAIF has hundreds of animals for adoption, and plenty of opportunities to volunteer with the shelter dogs and cats. Call 321-9243, for more information.

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