Brittany Autry, a freshman psychology major from Houston, Texas, climbs the rock wall at Eastern’s Fitness and Wellness Center. (Ben Kleppinger)

By Jessica Spencer

With the holidays over and the new year beginning, Eastern employees are encouraged to start it off in a healthy way. On March 1, 2007, Eastern began its second annual Healthy You Challenge.

Different programs every month engage employees and their family members in an exciting and challenging environment.

“This isn’t just a way for employees to lose weight, it’s more than that,” said Adrienne Bauer, the assistant director of human resources at Eastern. “It is designed to look at your health from a more holistic standpoint.”

The goal of the five-week program is to accumulate points through various activities, such as attending events and participating in various challenges.

The more points a person accumulates, the more wellness credits that person receives. One wellness credit is equal to 80 points.

At the end of the challenge, the participants’ wellness credits are totaled and will translate into their choice of valuable rewards.

Rewards are divided into gold, silver and sronze levels, with prizes ranging from a $25 gift certificate for a bronze place, to a $200 credit toward Healthcare Premium for a gold place, as well as many other prizes in between.

To receive a bronze level reward, participants must accumulate a total of 30 wellness credits, 50 wellness credits to receive a silver level and 70 wellness credits to receive a gold level reward.

Beginning Jan. 14 and continuing through Feb. 10, The Healthy You Challenge of the month is the New Year New You Challenge.

The goal of the month is to accumulate at least 80 points by doing physical activities, such as getting at least 15 minutes of moderate physical activity; eating at least five servings of fruit and/or vegetables; and getting at least seven hours of sleep.

Those who meet the 80-point goal will earn 10 wellness credits, a free t-shirt and a free pedometer.

Keeping track of points is just as easy as gaining them. Just go to www.healthyyouatEKU.com, set up a profile and start adding up your points.

The Web site is easy to use and designed to make it easier for you to take charge of your health and do your best throughout the challenge.

Record all of your points before Feb. 17 to add 10 wellness credits to your total that goes toward your rewards.

So, if you want to lean how to better care for yourself, have more energy or just have overall better health, the tools are available and waiting for you to sign up.