Our office staff just returned from our annual holiday team-building retreat.

In the early years of my career, our retreat usually consisted of a delicious pot luck dinner, some Christmas music and an occasional game of Rook.

If there was snow on the ground, a few us would go outside and make an attempt to ride a sled made of an old cafeteria tray.

Although we certainly enjoyed the good food and company we were not very active.

 Over the years, as the staff has changed, so have our retreats. First we tried bowling, which was not only fun, but brought out the competitive spirit in the staff.

This year the planning committee came up with idea of playing laser tag. I have to admit, some of us were a little reluctant, but we finally agreed to spend an hour at Richmond Underground Gaming Center shooting at each other and having a blast.  

 We all had different styles. Some were very aggressive and advanced on the other team with no fear. Others held back and tried to pick off the opposing team as they ventured into our territory. It did not really matter what our strategy was, we all had a good time and got a great work out.

 The games of laser tag re-inforced two of the basic principles of sustainable physical activity.  First, find something you enjoy. Although some of our staff were not enthused by the idea of playing laser tag, we all gave it a try.

 It turned out to be fun and a great team-building activity, which brings me to the second principle of enjoying physical activity. Develop a support system to encourage your activity.

Some of us were “killed” early in the games. But even while sitting on the side lines, we were able to encourage our teammates and warn them when an opposing team player was moving in.

Research shows that those who are encouraged and have some kind of buddy system are more motivated. You don’t want to let your friends down, and you are helping another person just as much as you are getting help.

 Many people make a New Year’s resolution to change their lifestyle, eat better, and exercise more. If those are resolutions you have been considering, remember to have fun and find a friend for encouragement and camaraderie.  

 The Richmond Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring its third fitness challenge from Jan. 2 through April 1.

The Madison County Cooperative Extension Service staff has won the first two challenges, we dare any chamber member to try and take us down!

The challenge begins just in time to be a motivator for your health related New Year’s resolutions. We already have our team in place. Good luck and bring it on!

 For more information on the Chamber Challenge, contact the Chamber staff at 623-1720, or visit their website at www.richmondchamber.com and find the event, Chamber Challenge III, “The Ultimate New Year’s Challenge” and click the “Register Now” tab.

Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.

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