The City of Perris’ 6th Annual Health Fair April 21 was all about meeting—and beating--physical challenges and improving overall health.
There were health-screening stations, set up to check for high-blood pressure, glucose levels, vision, dental and body-mass.
There was a rock-climbing wall, challenging young and old to scale to the top. Martial-arts demonstrations displayed the dexterity and discipline required to master taekwondo.
Perris City officials took on challenges of their own. Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona and City Councilman David Rabb took part in the 5-K “Fun Run” that kicked off the festivities and both completed the 3.2-mile course in about 25 minutes.
City Councilwoman Tonya Burke led a class through a 10-minute calorie-scorching Zumba lesson. City Clerk Nancy Salazar put herself through the paces during a “tone zone” workout, a regimen that included lots squatting, lifting and pushing over truck tires.
The Health Fair and 5-K run, which together drew about 2,000 people to the City Hall Campus, continues the ongoing Live Well Perris initiative which encourages people to exercise and make healthy food choices.
The Romaine challenge
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas answered his own challenge: judging a Romaine lettuce salad concocted by four teams of Perris school students. Romaine lettuce is the Mayor’s favorite salad but he prefers carrots to Parmesan cheese and ranch dressing to Caesar. Vargas, who has attended every one of the City’s seven community gardens issues the challenge at each site.
Four schools—May Ranch Elementary, Triple Crown Elementary, Sierra Vista Elementary and Heritage High School—answered the challenge, which took place at the City’s community garden, known officially as the Perris Green City Farm Program.
“May the best salad win!” Vargas said as the teams went to work, wrapping up their recipe in about 20 minutes.
Vargas sampled each entry before deciding the winner: Triple Crown Elementary School.
“All the teams did a great job,” he said. “It was a really difficult choice, it really was. The main lesson is that these students are learning how to plant and eat healthy foods.
Triple Crown Principal Demi Seagrave was ecstatic. The winning recipe included three kinds of lettuce, chives, broccoli, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, croutons and ranch dressing. The school team took home plant growing towers for its win.
“This will motivate the kids to keep gardening,” Seagrave said. “I have never seen a City that works so hard to improve the lives of its residents.”
Councilwoman Burke credits Zumba with saving her life. A decade ago, she weighed 310 pounds, was pre-diabetic, suffered from high-blood pressure, her knees ached constantly and her doctor advised her she might not live to her 50th birthday.
She turned to Zumba, an exercise that incorporates music with dance moves, alternative slow and fast rhythms along with resistance training. Burke said the exercise, along with better eating habits, helped her shed more than 160 pounds.
So when she took to the stage to lead the Zumba lesson, Burke said it was a labor of love.
“It’s Zumba time!” she said. “Zumba helped save my life. This is a great way to burn calories, have fun and get into shape. It’s a great way to bring people together.”
Working out with friends
City Clerk Salazar said her tone-zone workouts keep her in shape and burn stress as much as calories. The exercise routine that combined many elements—jumping, dropping to the ground, running, lifting objects and squatting. High-energy exercises with brief seconds of rest.
“There’s excitement in getting a great workout,” Salazar said. “I’m going to exercise with the people I exercise with regularly. It’s like being in the gym!”
Salazar said she is proud of the City for its commitment to improving lives through exercises geared from kids to seniors.
The Health Fair began early for Mayor Pro-Tem Corona and City Councilman Rabb, who ran in the 5-K event that drew hundreds of participants from the hard-core to those interested in a morning stroll. Corona, who coaches track at Perris High School, said the Health Fair is his favorite event because it encourages better living through exercise, proper nutrition while providing health screenings to discover potential illnesses.
“It’s great to see our City promote healthy lifestyles in a fun way,” he said. “Our City staff does a great job at organizing these events and I want to thank them for their efforts.”Rabb said he suffered from shin splints while running the course, and said he would take measures like stretching more before the run and soaking in a pool to relax muscles.
Like his elected colleagues, Rabb expressed his support for continuing the annual Health Fair and other Live Well Perris programs.
“This event grows every year,” he said. “It helps a lot of people get healthy. People of all ages and races and sizes are trying to get and stay in shape.”