Teachers doing the ‘My Heart Challenge’ weigh in on simple lifestyle changes

14 high school teachers from throughout the Salt Lake Valley who are striving to become more heart healthy are competing in the 2018 My Heart Challenge, a 100-day contest to help them strengthen their heart health by improving lifestyles and reducing their risk of developing heart disease.

Dan McLay from Herriman High and Pepper Poulsen from Bingham High are in week 10 of the challenge, and they stopped by to share their experience.

They're trying to improve their overall heart health and wellness during the 100-day competition, which is sponsored by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. During the 100-day challenge, teachers are receiving individual coaching and counseling from heart experts at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute - including exercise specialists, dietitians, counselors and cardiologists - to help them make positive, long-lasting healthy changes to their lives. They compete by earning points from making enhancements to their health, as well as developing wellness programs to improve their students' lives, as well!

Teachers have undergone health assessments and testing. Those same tests will be repeated at the end of the 100-day challenge to measure their improvement.

Participants in the 2018 My Heart Challenge: Teachers Edition include: Kristina Kimble, Alta High School; Pepper Poulsen, Bingham High School; Pace Gardner, Brighton High School; Mindy Wilder, Corner Canyon High School; Nikki Dinas, East High School; Dan McLay, Herriman High School; Jordan Hulet, Hillcrest High School; Nicole Manwaring, Jordan High School; Bobbi Morgan, Judge Memorial Catholic High School; Keeko Georgelas, Murray High School; Robert Rooley, Riverton High School; Julia O`Driscoll, Skyline High School; Kevin Harward, Taylorsville High School; and Jenna Meeks, Ascent Academy.

Viet Le, PA-C at Intermountain Medical Center's Heart Institute, weighed in on the importance of the challenge. He said that it's good to think about your healthcare as preventative, rather than waiting till you get sick to go to the doctor. He said when people watch what they eat and move their bodies, they are more prone to a healthier lifestyle, that then leads to better emotional health and other benefits.

You can find out more at myheartchallenge.com.