COVENTRY — As the new year comes into swing and the pandemic drags on, a free initiative through Westwood YMCA is aiming to assist residents of Coventry and surrounding towns in taking charge of their health in 2021.

“The program is a six-week challenge that addresses the spirit, mind and body,” Jeff Smith, executive director of Westwood YMCA, explained last week of the RESET Challenge that kicks off Feb. 1. 

Having recently relocated to Westwood from Lincoln’s MacColl YMCA, where he served as the health and wellness director, Smith is eager to help people in Coventry reach their health and wellness goals. 

“A lot of people during this pandemic are either unable to leave the house, or they’re nervous to leave the house,” Smith said. “Your spirit, your body, your mind suffers, and one of the ways that people can stay healthy and build their immune system is to lead an active life.”

The program is “open to anybody and everybody in the community,” Smith added — there’s no requirement that participants be YMCA members. 

“We’re hoping to get people — not just Westwood members, but everybody in the Coventry community and surrounding communities — just to get them moving, get them happy and healthy,” he said.

Each week of the challenge will follow a theme, and participants will receive text messages every week containing inspirational videos, motivational quotes, tips for wellbeing and more. 

The goal is to be active for 20 minutes per day, five days per week, Smith said. That movement can involve any kind of physical activity, whether it’s a stroll down the bike path, an at-home workout or shooting hoops in the driveway.

“Just be active and get moving in any way that you’re able to,” Smith said.

The nationwide initiative originated over the summer with a STRONG Challenge at YMCA of Greater Cincinnati.

“It was geared toward helping people’s mental and spiritual wellbeing amidst the pandemic,” Smith said of the impetus behind the program. “It was for all community members, and it really, really, really took off.

In response to the initiative’s popularity, a second challenge ran in October.

This will be the first time that Westwood YMCA has participated in the initiative. MacColl YMCA took part in October’s STRONG Challenge, however, with some 150 people registering. Overall, Smith said, those participants found the program to be “extremely helpful.” 

“They urged us to continue to participate in these challenges,” he added. 

Participants also have the option of uploading videos of themselves doing their various activities to the RESET Challenge website, where they can connect virtually with their counterparts across the country.

“It’s really a great, positive support system for people to get off the couch, get out of the house, and be active,” Smith continued. 

Smith  anticipates the challenge going over well, he said, adding that he hopes to see Kent County residents accept this invitation to "hit the reset button."

“I hope the community takes advantage of this,” he said. “There’s a lot of negativity going around, and this is really designed to raise people’s spirits, and to bring some positivity into the world.”

To join the challenge, text “reset” to 855-520-6222. Participants will be given a calendar and water bottle, and those who complete the challenge will receive a T-shirt.


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