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Step Up to Wellness Fair
UAB Campus Recreation Center asked the Birmingham community to “Live well. Eat well. Be well” last Friday at its 10th Annual Step Up to Wellness Fair. Over 500 UAB students, faculty and community members were offered free health screenings, various services, a performance from former Biggest Loser winner Robert Shultz, and samples and information from 96 healthy vendors.
“This fair offers the Birmingham community information and resources that are available to them. There are so many resources on the UAB campus and in the community. They don’t have to travel the country to find a top-notch doctor. It’s all right here in Birmingham,” Coordinator of Fitness & Wellness, Sarah Andreski said.
Vendors included Mountain High Outfitters, Bodhisala Botanicals, The Pampered Chef, Birmingham Vet Center, Birmingham Shambhala Meditation Center, Girl Trek, UAB Medicine, CahaBones, Rumpshaker, Tiger Study, Earth Fare, Birmingham Juice Project, UAB Nutrition Services, Balance Chiropractic, Healthy Connections, Natural Awakenings Magazine, The Trak Shak, and more.
Guest speakers Mayor William Bell and Miss UAB fired up the crowd by emphasizing the importance of health and wellness and guiding them towards various resources available at the Rec Center and in Birmingham. Mayor Bell asked attendees to have an active approach and be mindful in their actions to make more health-conscious decisions.
Former Biggest Loser winner Robert Schultz made an appearance and gave advice from his personal experience: instead of making a goal to cut weight, focus on a lifestyle change to overall improve wellness.
Bodhisala Botanicals is one of several vendors that offered all-natural yet affordable products. “We have to stop poisoning ourselves, our children, our animals, and Mother Earth. We can safely, effectively use botanical oils to kill germs, all other pathogens, repel pets, and heal our own environment,” owner and founder Leon Bowsky said. “The oils we sell are super concentrated and affordable at $10 per bottle. Plus the essential oil blends have multiple uses.”
Bodhisala Botanicals offers its plant-based products Fridays at Golden Temple and Saturdays at Pepper Place.
CahaBones, a local company that specializes in homemade dog treats, gave out bone-shaped samples to pet owners. The treats are made with local ingredients and are healthy enough for humans to eat. CahaBones also sells homemade dog collars, toys, shampoos, and sprays on its Etsy shop.
Birmingham Juice Project set up a mini juice bar sampler with juices made from organic and mostly locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. The “Juice Ninjas” as they refer to themselves, offer concentrated juices that satisfy even a liquid diet. Juices are available for individual purchase or as a package.
Mountain High Outfitters (MHO) gave out free t-shirts, water bottles and stickers to promote its mission statement, “Get out. Get active. Live your passion.” The company offers a large selection of outdoor apparel and gear to outdoors lovers and adventurers. “Mountain High Outfitters provides products to inspire the Birmingham community to get out and be active,” MHO Management Team Member Emily Elstner said.
The Step Up to Wellness Fair is usually in February, American Heart Month. Last year the Fair was on National Fitness Day, according to Andreski. The Fair promotes different adjustments people can make to work towards a healthier lifestyle, whether it’s through purchasing outdoors equipment, creating an exercise schedule, taking a juicing cleanse, or switching to all-natural products.
“It’s not just being physically active every day. It’s about what you eat, the amount of sleep you’re getting, just everything. At the Rec Center, we want to let students know that we are here for them. The CRCT [Rec Center] is free for them to use. You don’t have to be on the treadmill 60 minutes every day; it’s about doing something you enjoy. Just get out there and be active,” Andreski said.
UAB Rec Center currently offers personal training, a registered dietitian and massage therapy. These services will be offered under Wellness Catering starting in March. Under this service, the Rec Center will offer monthly Lunch-N-Learn session, one-on-one health coaching, body fat testing, fitness testing and small group presentations around community and on-campus by request.