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25th annual Health Trip Health Fair encourages healthy living

Shoppers at the Grand Cities Mall on Saturday morning were in for a healthy surprise -- free apples and bananas, door prizes and a group of people doing "piyo" -- a hybrid of pilates and yoga.

Luke Collard, 3, passes out bananas Saturday morning at the 2015 Health Trip Health Fair. Collard's mother, Deb, and his sister, Joceylnn, were running the Hugo's stand at the fair to encourage healthy eating choices.

Shoppers at the Grand Cities Mall on Saturday morning were in for a healthy surprise -- free apples and bananas, door prizes and a group of people doing “piyo” -- a hybrid of pilates and yoga.

The mall was the scene of a health fair for the 25th annual Health Trip, a wellness program designed to help people kick-start their New Year’s Resolutions.

The program has been put on by the Altru Family YMCA , Altru Health System , Grand Forks Public Schools and other partners since 1990 in order to encourage people to lead healthy and balanced lives, especially in accordance with their New Year’s Resolutions.

“It’s not just about getting on a treadmill,” said YMCA Chief Operations Officer Bob McWilliams, who has been chairman of Health Trip since 1997.

He said Health Trip, which runs from Jan. 10 to April 29, aims to encourage people to make healthier choices in all areas of their lives -- choosing an apple over a bag of chips, or a book over an hour of television or spending time relaxing with family and friends instead of on the computer.


The program allows participants to register for $15 (children can sign up for $7) and map out their exercise progress while also logging nutritional, stress management and habit choices in a log book. The program includes incentive prizes and a T-shirt upon completion of the Health Trip mileage map.

Health on display To help illustrate healthy choices, there were a number of exercise demonstrations held throughout the morning to show different types of fun exercise.

A group of about a half-dozen adults did yoga early in the morning before the more energetic Piyo. Finally, a few teams from Red River Valley Gymnastics performed some acrobatic gymnastics routines.

In addition to the fitness demonstrations, various companies and organizations had tables set up for Health Fair-goers to peruse. There were tables advertising health products such as essential oils and pH-adjusted water, as well as tables with information about the Altru Family YMCA and nutrition programs within the schools.

YMCA Youth Development Director Deb Collard ran a table with free apples and bananas from Hugo’s, which were handed out by her daughter Jocelynn, 7, and Luke, 3, who wanted everyone to know that he can spell his name quite well.

Grand Forks Public Schools also had a booth offering granola and yogurt

“Schools have a great opportunity to let our students eat healthy,” said Julie Tunseth, director of Child Nutrition Programs with Grand Forks Public Schools.

She mentioned the availability of breakfast at all the district’s schools, as well as a free midday snack at 10 of the schools.


The district also had a booth run by the district’s nurses where people could check their blood pressure.

People can sign up for Health Trip through Jan. 31.

An earlier version of this story spelled Deb Collard's name incorrectly. The copy has been corrected to reflect the right spelling.

Jess Alameda participates in a demonstration of piyo -- a cross between pilates and yoga -- Saturday morning at the Grand Cities Mall as part of the 2015 Health Trip Health Fair. Health Trip is a 110-day health initiative sponsored by Altru Health System, the Altru Family YMCA, Grand Forks Public Schools and other partners.

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