A group of students from a local school make up one of nearly 200 teams participating in a nationwide fitness challenge.

The Rena Rockets, a group of Rena Elementary School staff headed by teacher and coach Angela Blake, are taking part in the 2017 Blue and You Fitness Challenge that continues through May 31.

“We’re just trying to encourage a more healthy environment at the school all the way around,” Blake said. “This is one way to encourage the staff to establish a healthy exercise routine and lifestyle.”

Founded by the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the challenge asks participating groups to log exercises and activities at blueandyoufitnesschallenge-ark.com.

Working within an honor system, individuals earn up to three points a day for their team by logging exercises and activities, Blake said.

Teams are categorized by the number of people participating in each group, and compete against similar sized teams, Blake said.

Businesses can use the free, three-month event as part of their wellness programs, while community groups, friends and family can use the contest as a chance to stay or get in shape, remain connected and have fun.

Blake called the competition, which began March 1, a “motivational tool.”

“We just signed up for fun, to try to hold ourselves accountable,” Blake said.

According to a press release, the competition has grown to include groups in Arkansas and from across the country. Also participating from Crawford County is a group from Mid-South Steam Boiler and Engineering Co. in Van Buren.

To add a little friendly competition to the contest, the founding groups challenged each other to a “fitness throwdown” via a virtual kickoff video.

Other participants are encouraged to follow suit and issue their own challenges online by using the hashtags #BYFitChallenge and #FitnessThrowdown.

A leaderboard on the Blue and You Fitness Challenge website will post group points to showcase progress, and winners will be announced after the competition ends May 31.