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  • Welcome to the VT Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports

    Who We Are
    The Governor's Council is a physical activity promotion and advocacy group comprised of approximately 20 volunteers, appointed by the Governor and representing a broad spectrum of Vermonters.

    Our Mission
    To promote health and wellness through physical activity for all people living in Vermont at all fitness and ability levels.

Exercise is Medicine

The following is adapted from an article that appeared in the Rutland Herald and Times Argus on July 24, 2016.

by Janis Hall

When you think of health care and medicine, you probably think of doctors, hospitals and drug prescriptions. But there’s growing recognition that patients’ daily activities have a huge potential to support good health. For those who are able, getting outdoors

Kids Play at Boulder Beach State Park in Groton, Vermont.

Kids play at Boulder Beach State Park in Groton.

can be an effective boost. It is very important to get the body moving while

doing activities that reduce stress.

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports encourages health care professionals to talk with patients about the importance of exercise to prevent and treat chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and dementia. Janet Franz, representing the council, explained, “There are lots of studies showing that exercise, especially outdoors, has health benefits.”

The Governor’s Council offers the Vermont Parks Prescriptions Program in collaboration with Vermont State Parks. Health-care professionals are provided with pre-printed “prescriptions” for exercise, which are actually free day passes to Vermont state parks. These can be given to patients who will benefit from healthy outdoor activities.

The program is intended to encourage doctors to talk to patients about exercise, and patients cannot get the parks pass prescriptions directly from the council. Practitioners who don’t have the prescriptions may request them from the council at: vermontfitness@vermont.gov.

The council endorses Exercise is Medicine, an initiative by the American College of Sports Medicine focused on encouraging health-care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients. EIM is committed to the concept that physical activity is integral in the prevention and treatment of diseases, and should be regularly assessed as part of all health care.

There are more than 20 Vermont state parks in the southern half of Vermont, including lakes, picnic areas, historical sites and forests. All but two of these are advertised as having universal accessibility, which means the restrooms are fully accessible and some portion of the park is flat and firm enough for wheelchair and walker access. For more details about the parks, see www.vtstateparks.com , or contact parks@vermont.gov or 1-888-409-7579.

Janis Hall is the outreach development coordinator for Senior Solutions–Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont. 60 Plus is a collaboration between Senior Solutions and the Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging. Both can be reached by calling the Senior HelpLine at 800-642-5119.



Leaders of Worksite Wellness at the 2016 VT Worksite Wellness Conference

We’re proud to honor Vermont’s outstanding employers with the Most Excellent Worksite Wellness programs

These companies and organizations include:

Worksites with 11 to 50 employees:

  • Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning & HR Intelligence
  • OpenTempo
  • Springfield Area Parent Child Center
  • Trudell Consulting Engineers (TCE)
  • Umbrella
  • United Ways of Vermont
  • Vermont League of Cities and Towns

Worksites with 51 to 150 employees:

  • asicNorth
  • Cathedral Square
  • Chittenden Solid Waste District
  • Choice Strategies, a Division of WageWorks
  • Chroma Technology Corp
  • Co-operative Insurance
  • Engelberth Construction, Inc.
  • Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group
  • Lund
  • Passumpsic Savings Bank
  • Renewable NRG Systems
  • Town of Colchester
  • Vermont Electric Cooperative
  • Vermont Federal Credit Union

Worksites with 151 to 500 employees:

  • A.N. Deringer, Inc.
  • BioTek Instruments Inc.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
  • Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice
  • Champlain College
  • City of Rutland
  • Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region
  • Essex Town School District
  • Franklin County Home Health Agency
  • King Arthur Flour
  • Lamoille County Mental Health Services
  • Marathon Health
  • Mascoma Savings Bank
  • Mt Ascutney Hospital and Health Center
  • MyWebGrocer
  • North Country Hospital
  • Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Inc.
  • Northfield Savings Bank
  • The Vermont Country Store
  • United Counseling Service of Bennington County, Inc.
  • Vermont Precision Tools, Inc.
  • Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Worksites with 501 to 999 employees

  • Brattleboro Retreat
  • City of Burlington
  • Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont
  • Northwestern Medical Center
  • Omya Inc.
  • Porter Medical Center
  • Springfield Medical Care Systems, Inc
  • UTC Aerospace Systems
  • Washington County Mental Health Services

Worksites with 1000+ employees:

  • Central Vermont Medical Center
  • Dealer.com
  • GE Aviation
  • Howard Center
  • MVP Health Care
  • PC Construction Company
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center
  • State of Vermont
  • The University of Vermont Medical Center

Vermont’s 2016 Rising Stars in Worksite Wellness

A Worksite with 1 to 10 employees:  Thrive Center of the Green Mountains

A Worksites with 11 to 50 employees:  Town of Killington

A Worksites with 51 to 150 employees:  HALLAM-ICS

Worksites with 151 to 500 employees:

  • Copley Hospital
  • Hanover Consumer Cooperative

A Worksite with 1000+ employees:  The Orvis Company

Governor Shumlin Proclaims May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont


“I, Governor Peter Shumlin, proclaim the month of May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont and I ask everyone to move more every day.”

Montpelier, VT – On May 3, 2016, Governor Peter Shumlin declared May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont, encouraging Vermonters to be active this spring. Janet Franz, Chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and members of the council joined Shumlin in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the State House.

The Governor’s proclamation aligns with the national designation of May as Physical Fitness and Sports Month, an effort by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity.

In Vermont, 61% of adults and 26% of youth are overweight or obese, according to the state Department of Health, which cites lack of physical activity as the reason. More than three quarters (77%) of Vermont’s youth do not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and 20% of Vermont adults participate in no leisure time physical activity. The department estimates that medical expenses attributable to adult obesity in Vermont total $291 million annually.

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports promotes health and wellness through physical activity for people of all fitness and ability levels. It encourages mature Vermonters to participate in fitness and sports through the Vermont Senior Games Association, families to be active outdoors with Vermont Parks Prescriptions, and working Vermonters to walk and run with co-workers at the annual Corporate Cup Challenge & State Agency Race on May 12 in Montpelier.

“Physical activity is for everyone. No matter your age, ability or fitness level, you can find activities that fit your lifestyle and lead you to better health,” said Franz. “Everyone can find ways to move more. Together, let’s rise to the challenge and get more active this spring!”

 Pictured in photo, left to right: Corey Cenate, Council member; James Pepper, Council member; Governor Peter Shumlin; Janet Franz, Council President; Gary Eley, President of Vermont Senior Games; Dr. David Butsch, Council member; Sue Allen, Governor’sDeputy Chief of Staff.

Walk to help others

2015 Vermont Corporate Cup and State Agency Race

Like flowers, charity walks bloom this time of year. Millions of people walk to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, disease prevention, homeless shelters, and other worthy goals.

Join in to help fellow citizens while improving your own health. Get started:

  • Target a cause. Choose a charity that has meaning for you. Walk for someone you know who’s battling an illness, recovering from a natural disaster, or living with a crippling condition. Raise funds in their honor, and carry their photograph while you walk. You’ll feel the difference you’re making in your body and soul.
  • Train for the occasion. Prepare by exercising daily. Start with walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, gradually increasing your mileage to the distance of the event. Strength train 2-3 times/week to prevent injury and fatigue.
  • Recruit teammates. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers about your charity walk and invite them to join you. Buddy up on your training workouts for support and encouragement.

This month, walk with others to help others — and motivate yourself.

Exercising with Resistive Fitness Band

 Exercising with Resistive Fitness Band

Download this resource as a PDF: Council Resistive Fitness Band Exercises

Resistive fitness bands provide an economical and portable means for strengthening muscles and increasing endurance. They are versatile and easy to use. You can purchase bands at sporting goods stores or physical therapy suppliers.

To prolong the life of your band and protect yourself, please follow these precautions and guidelines.

Safety Precautions & Storage

  • Keep band away from sharp objects. Beware of sharp fingernails, jewelry and stones in bottoms of shoes.
  • Store band at room temperature in a dry environment, away from direct sunlight.
  • If the band has been tied, untie it before storing.
  • Before each use, examine the band for small tears or punctures that may cause it to break. If you find flaws, discard and replace the band.

Exercise Guidelines

  • Perform each exercise 2-3 times/week on non-consecutive days with 1-2 sets of 8-15 repetitions.
  • To make an exercise more difficult, increase tension in the band by grabbing it closer to the anchor point (foot, mid-back, etc.). To decrease resistance, reduce tension (add slack) by gripping further from the anchor point.
  • Train, don’t strain. Go easy for the first few weeks, gradually increasing repetitions and resistance. Stop if you feel pain or dizziness.
  • Keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath. Exhale on the exertion phase of an exercise.
  • Never pull band directly toward your face.
  • Maintain slight bends in elbows and knees.

Resistance Band Exercises

Hips & Outer Thighs

  • SEATED ABDUCTION: While sitting with legs close together, wrap the band firmly around your thighs and hold the loose ends in your hands. Keeping your feet together, move thighs outward from the hips, pushing against the band, then release. Repeat to complete set.

Fronts of Thighs

  • SEATED LEG PRESS: Sit upright and lift your right leg. Bend the right knee with your toes pointed away from you. Place the center of the band under the right foot and grasp both ends in each hand. Slowly straighten and bend the knee. Complete set, and repeat on the left leg.
  • SQUATS: Stand with both feet on center of the band hip-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Hold band ends in each hand. Bend your knees while keeping the ends of the band up, your chest lifted, back straight, and abs braced. Knees move forward over the middle of your feet, butt stops just about the knee line. Return to standing. Repeat to complete set.

Backs of Thighs

  • STANDING LEG CURLS: Loop middle of band around the back of the right ankle. Anchor by placing ends together and standing on them with left foot. Brace hands against a wall, desk or chair back. Lift right leg behind the left leg. Bend right knee to bring your heel up toward your rear-end, then straighten knee. Complete set on right leg then repeat on left.


  • CHEST PRESS: While standing or sitting, wrap the band behind mid-back, grasping it with both hands so there is slight tension on band when elbows are bent 90º. The band is under the armpits. Push arms forward, keeping shoulders down, and return to start. Repeat.
  • CHEST FLY: In same position as Chest Press, bring elbows together across the mid-chest. Try to touch elbows (not hands) together, release. Keep your arms high and hands and wrists over elbows. Repeat.

Upper Back

  • SEATED ROW: While seated, place center of band under both feet and grasp each end with palms inward and elbows close to the body. Sit up tall with chest lifted. Slowly pull the ends of the band toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause, then slowly straighten your arms. Repeat to complete set.
  • STANDING ROW: Stand with left leg forward, right leg behind. Loop middle of band under left foot and grasp ends in right hand. Pull the ends diagonally toward your right hip, without moving your body. Squeeze your right shoulder blade, as though you are wrapping your arm. around your back, then release. Complete set, then repeat on other side.

Low Back

  • FORWARD BEND: Stand with band centered under both feet in shoulder-width stance. Grasp ends of bands with your hands by your sides. Bend forward from the hips with a back flat, abdominals tight, and head up. Pause, then stand up while pushing shoulders back and pressing heels into the floor. Repeat to complete set.


  • BICEPS CURLS: Stand with one or two feet on one end of the band and grasp the other end in your hand. Turn your palm toward the ceiling. While keeping your upper arm pressed against your body, bend your elbow to bring your hand up toward your shoulder, pause, then release and straighten arm completely. Complete set and repeat with other arm.
  • TRICEPS KICK-BACK: Stand with one end of band under your left foot and the other end in your right hand. Bring right leg behind and lean forward from the hips with your head up and your left hand braced against your left thigh or a chair. Place knuckles of right hand on right hip with elbow bent at 90º. Straighten the elbow while keeping shoulder braced, pause, and then bend elbow to bring knuckles back to hip. Keep the action in the elbow, not shoulder.


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  • FRONT ARM RAISE: Stand with one or two feet on one end of the band and grasp the other end in your hand. Arm is straight at your side, thumb against your thigh. With elbow slightly bent, lift arm forward until your hand is just below shoulder height. Pause, then bring arm down to start position. Complete set and repeat on other arm.
  • SIDE ARM RAISE: In same starting position as Front Arm Raise, lift arm to side (90º) until hand is just below shoulder height. Pause, then bring arm down to start position. Repeat.


  • SIDE BENDS: Stand with one or two feet on one end of band and grasp the other end in your right hand. Lift your right arm up until the elbow is straight. Keep the arm close to your head as you lean directly sideways to the left, pause, then return to standing. Repeat. Keep abs braced and be sure to move directly sideways with no forward flexion from the hips or back.
  • CRUNCH: Wrap band around something stationary such as a pole, and stand or sit with the pole behind you, holding band ends in each hand over your head. Tilt upper body forward from the hips, bringing your chest toward your thighs. Pause, return to start position, repeat.

Copyright 2016 Janet Essman Franz  •  Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach •  vermontfitness@vermont.gov   •   (802) 238-8182  •   vermontfitness.org

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