Healthy, active lifestyles sometimes are a struggle when many of us sit at computers, or stand in one place on a factory floor, or drive cross-country for a living.

Munson Healthcare has been part of various opportunities to promote active lifestyles in northern Michigan. For example, a decade ago we were part of Let’s Get Moving, an initiative that encouraged all kinds of activities from gardening, to biking, running, and swimming that participants logged in a healthy competition to become the most active city in northern Michigan.

These kind of competitions are fun and important. Sometimes, it’s the call to competition that can get us out from behind the desk, while others just need some inspiration to get motivated and going.

This year, Munson Healthcare is happy to join forces with the Traverse City Track Club and sponsor the annual Bayshore Marathon and associated races which involve both competition and inspiration. This event draws elite athletes to Traverse City and gives those interested in a challenging activity the opportunity to run a race.

Several Munson employees and physicians are taking on the challenges of this year’s marathon, half-marathon and 10K. We are pleased to help initiate a new opportunity for youngsters that can inspire them to set a goal, run after it, and reap the rewards at the finish line and beyond.

The kid’s marathon allows 7-12-year-olds to log 25 miles of running or walking leading up to race day. On race day, participants will complete the final mile and cross the finish line along with the 7,000 other racers.

Mary Free Bed at Munson Medical Center has agreed to help sponsor the city’s new Ironman competition that will bring in participants from around the world this August to take on a 70.3-mile course of swimming, cycling and running.

Our community health efforts won’t stop after the competitors cross the finish line. We are committed to encouraging, helping sustain and collaborating with others throughout the region for meaningful ways to make healthy weight, nutrition and activity a part of all of our routines.

Munson Healthcare staff have formed sports teams and activity-oriented groups that promote an active lifestyle. For the public, we have promoted our Choose to Be Well campaign that encourages healthy choices.

Other community health-related collaborations include our partnership with the GT Bay YMCA to offer the FitKids360 program to promote healthy lifestyles for the whole family, our Fruit & Vegetable Prescription program that focuses on nutrition and access to healthy foods, Shape Up North, the Northern Michigan Diabetes Initiative — and more.

Potential marathoners should register soon — only a few slots are left. Registration for the half-marathon and 10K are closed. Registration for the Munson Healthcare Bayshore Kids Marathon will be opening soon. For more information go to tctrackclub.com or bayshoremarathon.org.

Find more about Munson Healthcare’s Choose to Be Well efforts at munsonhealthcare.org/choose-to-be-well.

Ed Ness is president and chief executive officer of Munson Healthcare.