Health effort: 2010 Wellness Challenge beginsJamestown residents may have an extra hop in their steps this week — or maybe they’re just taking more steps. That’s because 500 of them are participating in Jamestown Hospital’s Wellness Challenge, which began Monday.
Jamestown residents may have an extra hop in their steps this week — or maybe they’re just taking more steps.
That’s because 500 of them are participating in Jamestown Hospital’s Wellness Challenge, which began Monday.
Wellness Challenge participants earn points by working out, eating fruits and vegetables and learning to better their well-being. The goal is to lose or maintain weight as well as improve overall health, said Marla Walter, exercise physiologist and cardiac rehabilitation and wellness coordinator at Jamestown Hospital.
Walter writes a Wellness Challenge column in The Jamestown Sun on Thursdays throughout the Challenge.
Forty teams are participating in the eight-week event, including 31 business teams and nine teams consisting of friends and family members.
One of those friends-and-family teams is the Third Avenue Fitness Coalition. Five couples, who live along Third Avenue in northeast Jamestown, organized a team to make getting healthy fun, rather than a chore, said Lori Love. Love and her husband, Mark, are the team’s co-captains.
The neighbors already picnic, hold holiday parties and walk together in summer, Love said, but in the winter, busy schedules hamper those healthy habits.
“We’re a pretty close neighborhood. We do lots of stuff together,” she said.
Love said she plans to send encouraging e-mails once or twice a week, plus she and her husband started a food journal and measure their progress. They’ve challenged their neighbors to do the same, Love said.
Food journals and measuring weight loss are ways to track goals.
Walter said many participants struggle with the eating healthy aspect of the wellness challenge most.
“The diet tends to be the hardest part for most of us. …unhealthy food choices are everywhere,” she said.
Walter recommended watching portion sizes and not skipping meals. Skipping meals only makes a person more hungry later, she said.
“By 3 or 4 o’clock they’re famished,” she said. “So everything in the fridge looks good.”
For Walter, the Wellness Challenge isn’t just about weight. It’s also about a healthy heart.
“If we invest in our health now, you know, we’re going to save on our health in the future,” she said.
Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in North Dakota. It claims the lives of more North Dakotas than every cancer combined, said Joan Enderle, director of Go Red for Women for the American Hearth Association.
Many people don’t know they may have heart disease, Enderle said. Heart disease without treatment could result not only in a heart attack or other conditions, but also can affect the eyes and kidneys.
“You can have a block that’s happening, but you’re not aware of it,” she said.
To check your cardiovascular health, Enderle recommended asking a physician for blood pressure and cholesterol tests.
The Wellness Challenge continues through the first week of March.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at email@example.com