Online Services

Our Government

News and Events

Maps, Facts & Stats

State & Federal

Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


April 2015

STEP 4: Get Fit with Community

There are so many ways to get fit in your community – join a group fitness class, run a 5K, or play on a sports team. Make some new friends who are on the same path to better health!

Making Healthy Strides

  • Give Back:Volunteer at a community event. For local Fairfax County opportunities, visit www.volunteerfairfax.org.
  • Go Green: Visit your local RECenter to use the Woodway Curve treadmill – you power it with your movement, no electricity needed!
  • Get Active: Walk or run in a road race. Find one that suits your ability, and go for it!

New Choices for Fitness

One goal: fitness. Countless ways of achieving it. And every year, they change. Annually, the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) surveys more than 3,800 fitness professionals in Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and North and South America to identify fitness trends. Here’s a look at what’s on top.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). These exercise programs typically involve short bursts of high-intensity activity, followed by a short period of rest or recovery – think P90X or CrossFit. Experts recommend that only people already in good shape even consider this kind of training.

Body Weight Training. Body weight training requires only your own weight, used as a form of resistance training – think pushups and pull-ups. It’s an inexpensive, effective way to work out. These regimens can help you gain strength, build muscle, boost your heart health, increase flexibility and burn fat.

Functional Fitness. Anyone can benefit from strength-training regimens that imitate daily activities. Instructors create strength training programs mimicking the motions required for living – such as mowing the lawn or carrying grocery bags. This type of training is especially useful for older adults or those recovering from injury.

Group Personal Training. Personal trainers can offer group options – training two or three people at a time. The group setting typically doesn’t take away from the personal attention clients need and want. It’s affordable, fun, and can also be a great way to be motivated and held accountable for reaching your fitness goals.

Source: U.S. News and World Report

10 Tips for Getting Ready to Run Your First 5K

Taking on your first 5K can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. These tips will help you maximize the enjoyment out there—and make your first 5K fun, fast and stress-free.

  1. Get sleep two nights before. Pre-race jitters tend to strike the night before the race, and can interrupt your sleep. This is normal. Prepare yourself by getting quality sleep two nights before the race and taking that day completely off from any activity.
  2. Keep it light. During race week, your running mileage should decrease. At this point, your training is really about "storing up" rest so your legs are ready on race day.
  3. Fill the tank. On race morning, aim to eat about 2 hours prior to the race. Keep it simple—a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit, a sports bar, bagel with peanut butter. Eat something high energy and easily digestible. Be sure to include water or sports drink if it's warm outside, and coffee if that's part of your normal routine.
  4. Get there early. There's a lot to be done on race morning including parking, packet pick-up, waiting in line for the restroom, warming up. Arrive at the race site 60 minutes prior to the start—knowing where you can park, what time packet pick-up closes (if you couldn't do it the day before) and where to go for the starting line.
  5. Warm it up. About 25 minutes prior to the race, get warmed up. Start with an easy jog, and then gently stretch any tight muscles after your warm up.
  6. Get in line. The starting line can be crowded and confusing with so many people and different paces. Starting in the middle to back of the pack is safe for most beginners. You will start with those around your pace and you will have many more ahead of you to chase down.
  7. Pace yourself. Start conservatively and build your effort throughout the run. When you start out too fast, your body works too hard too soon and fizzles after the first mile, making your overall time slower, not faster. In the last quarter mile, kick it in to the finish line to finish strong.
  8. Keep positive. Have a positive mantra for the race—such as "I can do it" or "Fast feet to the finish line” that will distract you from any pain and keep you focused. Practice these affirmations during your harder training sessions so they become automatic on race day.
  9. Breathe. On race day, let go of any comparisons to other runners and release any worries or doubts. You've done the training and if you have the desire to get to the finish line, you will arrive. At the starting line, take a few deep breaths and assure yourself that you have what it takes to cover 3.1 miles.
  10. Capitalize on the high. The post-race high can be exhilarating. Capitalize on it to keep your momentum going and set new goals for the next finish line, wherever that might be. Sign up for another run race a few weeks later to keep yourself motivated to continue with your new habits, to test your progress or just to have fun.

Source: Active.com

Team Sports: Good for Adults

Thousands of adults across the country are learning to make exercise fun. Volleyball, softball, bowling, kickball, basketball — you name it; there’s probably a local league that you can join.

Q: Why bother fitting another activity into an already busy schedule?

  • A: Built-in activity. Government experts who promote the Let’s Move! initiative believe that adults need to move at least 30 minutes a day to maintain a healthy level of activity. Even if your softball league’s games are restricted to an hour each, imagine the movement you’re getting simply from warming up, in addition to the actual game. It’s much easier to get that 30 minutes in if your team is scheduled to play a couple of times a week — you have no excuse but to show up and get physical!
  • A: Increased desire to be more fit. So it might be years since you strapped on your volleyball knee pads or practiced your three-point shots. That’s OK! You can work to get in better shape for your chosen sport by exercising other days of the week. You’ll find that once you increase your physical activity on your own, you’ll be a better team member, too.
  • A: A chance to meet new people. There’s no better camaraderie than what you build with your teammates. Joining an adult sports league will provide a network of support and growing friendships.
  • A: Teamwork among coworkers. You don’t have to join an adult sports league all by yourself — recruit your coworkers! Having an out-of-the-office activity can make you learn to work better with one another. You’ll learn more about your coworkers, and them about you, forming bonds that will spill over into work situations, hopefully showing off to your bosses your new teamwork skills.
  • A: It’s simply fun! Playing sports and belonging to a team, no matter how good or bad your team is, is a ton of fun. It provides much needed stress relief and a way to escape from the usual routine of the workweek. You’ll learn to improve your athletic skills but also laugh at your mistakes and encourage your teammates. All that fuels great self-esteem and pumps good energy into your life.

Source: hellawella.com




Take 12 Steps for Community Health

Download Your

Take 12 Steps for Community Health in 2015 Calendar

Download 2015 Calendar

Download 2014 Calendar

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great community wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!
2015 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015

2015 Healthy Strides Community 5K/10K
Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015, 7:30 a.m.

2015 Healthy Strides Community Expo, Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015

2015 Healthy Strides Expo
South Run RECenter, April 24, 2015, 4-7:30 p.m.

We are seeking support from local businesses and organizations for Take 12! Steps for Community Health in 2015. Our participants are the same people your business is looking to attract. Take advantage of this opportunity.



Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Take 12 Newsletter
Please complete the form below to activate your subscription.
Required Fields


Email: Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov
Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/take12/ is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2015

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Return to Graphic Version