On your mark, get set, exercise!
It's crunch time for four Lower Mainland mayors who have embarked on a 12-week fitness program to encourage healthy living in their communities.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart is competing against Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman in the race toward a healthier lifestyle in the Healthy Community Challenge, which began on March 12.
Stewart was involved in a car accident in 2003 and a pedestrian accident during the 2011 municipal election campaign, when he damaged his neck and suffered a crushed vertebra.
"It took me a long time to get back on the bike, mostly because I had to figure out which technology could help me," he said in an interview with The NOW.
"Exercise equipment will help you move beyond your limitations."
Despite his injuries and physical limitations, Stewart remains positive that he will be able to get back to a regular exercise routine.
"Everyone has their own challenges. Mine have been my back injuries - I feel like fitness has helped me back onto my feet and back into the kinds of activities that I used to do," he said.
"I think all of us can do a little bit better when we put some effort into it. Sometimes we focus on what we can't do and it's important to figure out what you can do - I want to make sure that I push the envelope a little bit."
While he hasn't decided on a fitness routine yet, Stewart wants to include low impact work on the elliptical machine, swimming and walking up to three times a week.
At the end of the 90-day challenge, he hopes to make it up the Coquitlam Crunch.
"I've done a little bit of it on numerous occasions," he said. "It's a local amenity that I would love to conquer."
Leading a healthy lifestyle will benefit the community in the long run, he added.
"We're an aging society, and as we age we're going to have a much better quality of life if we're fit. There are some real opportunities to take charge of the quality of our own lives."
Stewart hopes other Coquitlam residents will join him in the challenge.
"It's going to be good for us as a community and I would love to see members of our community jump on the bandwagon and see what we can do together," he said.
Registration is open until Wednesday, April 25, and interested participants can have their body mass index measured between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Innovative Fitness, located at 11-400 Capilano Rd. in Port Moody.