In an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle among his staff, Governor Rick Perry has introduced the “Texas Athletic Team, Governor’s Cup.”
On any given Tuesday or Thursday after work, you can catch as many as 80 staff members pounding the pavement of the Capitol grounds. It’s a way to help the staff get healthier; but even more so, it’s a way to save the state of Texas thousands of dollars in health care costs.
Perry's plan comes a month after Texas was announced at the bottom of the pack out of the 50 states on health care report cards and top of the list in rates of uninsured citizens. So why not start at home?
“Considering the wide range of illnesses and ailments directly linked to poor eating choices and a sedentary lifestyle, it’s up to each one of us to make the kinds of decisions now that can keep us healthier and happier in the years and decades to come,” says Governor Perry. "From an employer’s perspective, healthier employees take fewer sick days, are more productive, and require fewer trips to the doctor or, God forbid, the emergency room. That’s good for business, good for Texas and good for America."
The idea is based on RunTex
CEO Paul Carrozza’s successful ATX Training
program that can be altered to accommodate different groups with different goals.
Carrozza took that highly successful model and developed a program for the Governor’s staff that combines life changing seminars every Tuesday during staffers' lunch with athletic training after work.
The Texas Athletic Team is now running, walking and building muscle tone for their ultimate goal: The Texas Grand Prix. It’s a 5K race on Nov 3 at the new Formula 1 race track, which will take runners once around the track.
If you're not familiar with them, the ATX100 started the September prior and is a program designed for folks wanting to lose 100 pounds each. They met every week as many as three times for running, walking or hill training.
Most of them could never imagine completing 6.2 miles in a 10K. But on that morning they were looking and feeling good, inspiring us all.
Joe Bacon had been the spokesperson for team ATX100, and he has not strayed from his mission to get fit. His goal was to not finish last in the race. And he didn’t. Now he’s working towards next year’s half marathon.
Bacon and the rest of ATX100 inspired other ATX programs, and Carrozza couldn’t be more thrilled with the success.
"If you can make a person feel like they’re an athlete, they’ll act like one,” says Carrozza. “I found what I am going to do for the next decade." His goal is to, “create purpose, create structure and create a dream.”
The hope is to keep the model growing every year. By January 2013, Carrozza wants to offer all state employees the chance to be a part of the “Texas Athletic Department.” And then once in place, he'll take the program to every city in the state, challenging each Mayor to get their own town moving.
Hopefully, Carrozza and the Texas Athletic Team can send Texas to the top of a rankings list we can be proud of, as the Healthiest State in the country.
Go, Texas, Go!