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Independent Health and Buffalo Bills host pep rally to kick off Health and Wellness Challenge


The third round of "The Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge" kicked off Monday night with an exercise class and pep rally on the playing field at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo Bills Director of Alumni Marlon Kerner was on hand to help motivate participants with a pre-exercise pep talk. Independent Health President and CEO Michael W. Cropp, M.D. spoke to the Challenge's success to date along with the benefits of engaging in a healthy lifestyle.

The Health & Wellness Challenge was designed to motivate individuals to get healthier by meeting daily goals and completing "extra points" challenges for opportunities to win prizes. Participants in the next Challenge – to take place October 5 through November 15 – will be eligible for a variety of prizes, including a grand prize trip for four to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl on February 1, 2016. Those interested in signing up for this fall's Challenge can register at ****.

This evening's event was a larger-scale version of Independent Health's popular "Fitness in the Parks" outdoor fitness program, which was created with help from the YMCA Buffalo Niagara and takes place in parks throughout Western New York each summer. Fitness instructors from the YMCA led nearly 500 participants of all ages and levels of fitness through a variety of exercises.

Similar "Monday Night Fitness" programs will be held on Monday evenings at the stadium or in the ADPRO sports training facility, depending on the weather, throughout the six-week Challenge.

"Nearly 6,700 registered participants have accepted the invitation to embrace a healthier lifestyle during our first two Challenges and we look forward to increasing that number significantly this fall," said Dr. Cropp. "We are greatly encouraged by the tremendous feedback and many testimonials we have received. They provide affirmation our efforts are encouraging participants to eat better and exercise more. I want to thank Russ Brandon and his staff for hosting this event and for teaming up with Independent Health in an effort to create a culture of health here in Western New York and throughout 'Bills Nation.'"

"We are extremely proud of the Health & Wellness Challenge and its growth in the past year," said Bills Managing Partner and President Russ Brandon. "The Buffalo Bills and our tremendous partner Independent Health dedicate a great deal of time and resources to encourage Western New Yorkers to adopt healthier lifestyles. Early indications show us that the region is receptive to this initiative and we expect it to continue to grow."

Participants impressed with Health & Wellness Challenge

Engagement and feedback from participants in the first two Challenges has been extremely positive. According to a recent survey of 430 past participants:

  • 98 percent said they would participate in future Challenges
  • 98 percent said the daily goals were a good reminder to eat healthier, drink more water and exercise daily
  • 96 percent said the Challenge had a positive impact on their health
  • 96 percent said the Challenge motivated them to eat better and exercise more
  • 96 percent would recommend the Challenge to a friend/family member
  • 85 percent of participants exercised at least 3 times per week

How the Health & Wellness Challenge works

Participants in the Health & Wellness Challenge earn points by meeting three main daily goals:

1) 20 minutes of physical activity a day

2) Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day

3) Drink eight glasses of water each day

Participants can also complete one "extra points" challenge each day. As an added bonus, participants who refer their friends, family and co-workers can earn 10 extra points for each person who registers for the Challenge. The number of points earned throughout the Health & Wellness Challenge will determine the number of chances participants have in the prize drawings. In addition to the grand prize trip to Hawaii for the 2016 Pro Bowl, five participants will be selected at random each week to receive a prize, including autographed Bills memorabilia and gift cards for wearable activity trackers, workout apparel and sporting goods.

Participants can keep track of their progress and learn about that day's "extra points" challenge by logging-in at To be eligible to win a prize, participants must be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of New York State at the time of entry. 

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