After playing a spirited game of touch football, half-court basketball, and a pickup volleyball game at a family reunion this past surprisingly warm Sunday … well … let’s just say it has taken me this long to recover.

Shame on me.

No doubt about it. I am going to have to get more exercise - as we all should. (OK, I’ll lay off the beer, too.)

More than a month ago I noted here Meier Supply Co.’s attempt to help its employees lose weight. I am happy to report that the HVACR wholesale distributor’s eight-week “Biggest Loser” contest concluded recently, and all 41 participants are better off. Just ask each.

Wonder if there are still some aches and pains from one and all? After all, collectively the “losers” dropped a total of 556 pounds, an average of 13.5 pounds per person. Not bad for eight weeks. (Can you do that? Do you need to do that?)

Such a feat is not possible without some real workouts. According to contest officials, these participants logged 7,460 miles of walking in just four weeks - “the equivalent of 30 percent of the earth’s circumference.”

Meier Supply partnered with Live Fit Training of Vestal, N.Y., to run the competition. Both sides meant business. All participants received online personal training to assist each in reaching his/her weight loss and fitness goals.

“The top three individuals lost between 14 percent to 16.5 percent of their starting weight over eight weeks,” commented Traci Meier, owner of Live Fit Training.

What’s great about this strictly voluntary program was that it included rewards for winning weekly individual and team challenges. The overall winner received a $250 American Express gift card, plus an extra night and dinner at Turning Stone Casino Resort, where Meier hosts its annual holiday party in December. Meanwhile, the grand prize for the “biggest loser” team included a $50 American Express gift card for each participant, plus an extra night and dinner at the resort.

My hat goes off to president and CEO Frank Meier Jr., who helped put together the awards and had the guts to introduce this contest to his employees. (After all, do you work for a company that pushes a wellness program? Of course, if you do, please post your comments here or e-mail me accordingly. I’d like to know all about it.)

“When we announced this program, I was confident that we’d have a good level of participation, but I was impressed with the way the idea took off,” admitted Frank Meier. “The enthusiasm and energy in our company is amazing. This was truly a win-win for everyone.”

Hmmm. Makes me want to have a “Biggest Loser” challenge here at The NEWS. Then again, knowing how my boss likes to run, and how much I dislike it….

Hell, I’m still hurting….