If you’ve ever watched a Red Sox-Yankees baseball game, you know that New England and New York take that rivalry seriously.
A friendlier competition between the two regions begins January 16 when the New England Hemophilia Association (NEHA) and the New York City Hemophilia Chapter (NYCHC) launch a 100-day fitness challenge. About 50 participants signed up to track their steps, motivate each other and tally up the results to see which group gets the bragging rights.
On Facebook, the New York Chapter described the competition as “a chance to connect with other fitness minded community members, and the opportunity to prove once and for all that New Yorkers are toughest folks around!”
Exercise is recommended for just about everyone, including people who have bleeding disorders like hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Activities like walking, swimming and golf are among the lowest risk sports, according to the National Hemophilia Foundation’s “Playing It Safe” guide. The Get Moving 100-Day Fitness Challenge aims to highlight the importance of exercise to combat obesity and to help people with bleeding disorders get active.
A 2018 study found significant levels of overweight and obesity among people who have hemophilia and live in North America and Europe, not unlike the general population. For someone who has a bleeding disorder, extra weight could cause additional problems and further complicate the person’s health, the study said.
“We hope the 100-Day Fitness Challenge increases people’s individual fitness levels and provides motivation for others to have a more active lifestyle well past the 100-day mark,” says Heather Case, Program Director for NEHA.
The challenge also gives participants a chance to connect with one other, NYCHC Programs and Events Manager Marc Pangilinan said.
“This challenge is designed to help build community and unite people with bleeding disorders in a positive and meaningful way,” he said. “You get to feel part of a community within a community.”
The bleeding disorder associations are part of a larger trend to “game-ify” fitness. Participants received a personal fitness tracker and both regional groups partnered with Virgin Pulse, an online interactive platform.
A recent Journal of the American Heart Association study found encouraging results for some of its 146 participants when sedentary workers wore Fitbit devices and tracked their steps using an online platform. Those who did took an additional 2,000 steps a day. The tricky part though is keeping up those habits after the competition is over. The New York-New England challenge continues through April 25.