Saddleback Church's Fitness Program Gets 1,200 People Running

Saddleback Church’s first-ever Daniel Plan Fun Walk & Run got more than 1,200 people to put on their running shoes this past Saturday.

Adult participants were able to select walking or running in a 10K or 5K, while children had their own Fun Run event, according to the Orange County Register.

As promised, Austin Andrews of the reality show “Biggest Loser” joined the Daniel Plan Fun Walk & Run. He took part in the 5K and then presented awards to church members who lost the most weight and to those who won the different races.

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The event is part of Saddleback’s year-long Daniel Plan, a 52-week health program to encourage congregants to make healthier lifestyle choices. Since the program began, founding Pastor Rick Warren has lost nearly 40 pounds out of the 90-pound weight loss goal he has for this year. Saddleback church members have collectively lost more than 200,000 pounds.

The Daniel Plan, based on the prophet Daniel who chose healthy eating instead of the king’s rich food, is developed by Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiac surgeon and host of The Dr. Oz show; Dr. Mark Hyman, a metabolism expert; and Dr. Daniel Amen, bestselling author and psychiatrist.

Participants in the plan are taught to eat vegetables and fruits, foods containing Omega 3 fats and fibers, and to drink green tea, skim milk and water. They are advised to avoid consuming processed food, high-fat meals, or drinking sodas and high-calorie juices.

The Daniel Plan is part of the church’s Decade of Destiny campaign, in which Pastor Rick Warren will lead the church members to improve seven key areas of their life: spiritual, physical, financial, relational, vocational, emotional and mental.

Earlier this year, Warren said Christians should be good stewards of their bodies “because Jesus died for your body and the Holy Spirit lives in your body.”

About 11,000 people are currently participating in the Daniel Plan. Warren plans to help replicate the healthy living program in other churches around the world after test-trying it at Saddleback.

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