Did You Know:

Canton was originally Cherokee Indian Territory. A post office first opened here in 1837 and the community at the time was named Pigeon River.


A Fitness Opportunity

For the Whole Family!


If you need just a little push to help you get serious about improving your health, Healthy Haywood’s annual Fitness Challenge may offer just the ticket.


Beginning Monday, March 15, participants can experience a variety of local fitness centers and private businesses offering activity classes up to 24 times over the following eight weeks, all for a registration fee of $10.  Participants can mix and match which centers they want to go to or they can exercise at one place.  It’s their choice.  Free prizes will be given to the first 100 who attend the Kickoff festivities on March 17 at Waynesville Recreation Center from 6-7pm.


Watch Fitness Challenge Video

Fitness Challenge Flyer
Fitness Challenge Flyer (Spanish) 


This year, participants are strongly encouraged to attend the kickoff, and midpoint festivities, because when they attend these events, this increases their chances to win prizes at the grand finale.  Prizes include gym memberships, classes from participating sponsors, ipods, gift certificates from local restaurants who offer healthy options and much more.



For our Midpoint festivities this year, we will hold the third annual Healthy Taste of Haywood at the Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center.  All Fitness Challenge participants are invited.  Come and sample a wide variety of vendors from restaurants and grocery stores.  During this event, we will demonstrate that it is possible to make healthy choices when dining out at local restaurants and when shopping at the grocery.  Must show Fitness Challenge card to participate in this event.


Those fitness centers and private business offering activities for this year’s challenge include:  Access Dance WNC, Basulto Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Body Lyrics Belly Dancing, Club 56 - Frog Level, Curves - Waynesville, Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center, Junaluska Driving Range, Old Mountain Health Center - Kung Fu & Tai Chi, Raqs Beledi - Belly Dancing, The Fitness Connection, Waynesville Recreation Center & Armory, World Gym – Canton.


The Fitness Challenge is a project of Healthy Haywood’s Healthy Living Action Team.  The program has received two statewide awards: the Golden Project award from the NC Public Health Association Wellness and Prevention Section and the Outstanding County Program Award from the NC Commissioners Association because of the successful model it has created for collaboration between county agencies, businesses and the community.


“Last year, we had 2400 people sign up for the challenge!  Our biggest turnout ever!” said Steffie Duginske, Healthy Haywood coordinator. “It would be great to have that many and more participate in 2010!  Every year we try to make the challenge even better. This year we continued to strive for a wide range of fitness and nutrition opportunities including fitness centers and private businesses who offer activities like martial arts and dance. Don’t forget to check out our website, www.healthyhaywood.org for more information about the challenge of the other exciting programs and projects the partnership is working on.  Check the site often as it is updated regularly.  Help us get the word out so more people will know about this amazing opportunity to exercise at a very low cost. 


Also new this year, Healthy Haywood has a Facebook page and invites you to become a fan.  You can use this as way to be current with Fitness Challenge events and be connected with a network of people who can be a source of motivation and support towards a healthy life.  Additionally, the Fitness Challenge is connecting with Lighten up for Life, a community weight loss program that offers a way to eat healthier, become more active, and compete as a team to win prizes.  You can learn more by visiting www.lightenupforlife.com .  Lighten up for life is encouraging everyone to sign up for the pound for pound challenge.  For every pound you pledge, General Mills will donate 14  cents to MANNA food bank. 


“Overall, it’s the support of those facilities offering their services, equipment and staff as well as the coordination of the Healthy Living Action Team that make this challenge possible.  Hopefully the low cost allows more people in the community to take advantage of the abundance of fitness opportunities available in Haywood County.”


Duginske pointed out that the in addition to prizes and promotion, proceeds from the registration fees are used to offer a mini grant to anyone who has a program or idea  they would like to implement in the county that would encourage healthy habits such as physical activity and healthy eating.  Community organizations and individuals are open to apply for the grant.  Guidelines and application are on the website:  www.healthyhaywood.org
Last year’s mini grants funded the following projects:

  • Aspire - Equipment for experiential learning
  • Racquetball Equipment  for youth programs at Waynesville Recreation Center and Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center
  • Senior Green Thumb Gardening Gang – Daydreamz Project for Seniors/Youth with special needs to work in gardens
  • Haywood Community College – Disc golf equipment
  • Friends of Rough Creek Watershed – Trail Map
  • Haywood County WIC Program – Nursing Covers for WIC mothers
  • Meadowbrook/Bethel Elementary – Camp Daniel Boone/5th grade
  • Haywood County Senior Games – NC Senior Games/State Finals transportation and lodging support
  • 5th grade students of Clyde Elementary – Classroom set of 25 stability balls to be used instead of chairs
  • Pisgah Promenaders – Square Dance lessons

Registration for the 2010 Fitness Challenge is March 15, 16, 17 and 18 for a cost of $10. There is an additional late registration on March 19 for $20.  All registration days takes place at the following locations and times:


Monday, March 15 - World Gym-Canton……..8am-7pm

Tuesday, March 16 - Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center…….8am-7pm

Wednesday, March 17 – Waynesville Recreation Center (kickoff festivities from 6pm-7pm)

Thursday, March 18 – Cooperative Extension……….8am-7pm

Friday, March 19 – Fitness Connection…….8am-7pm


The Mid-Point festivities will take place on April 20 at Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center from 6-8pm and the Grand Finale will take place on May 11 from 6-8pm at Allen’s Creek Park where participants can enjoy prizes, fellowship, food, and fun! 


Healthy Haywood is a program of the Haywood County Health Department in collaboration with numerous partners in the county.  For more information about the Fitness Challenge and/or Healthy Haywood, contact Duginske at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , go to www.healthyhaywood.org, or call 452-6675, ext. 2272.