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Walk it out: Grand Forks tries to walk a million miles in 2015

Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks kicked off 2015 with a pretty ambitious goal: walking 1 million miles in one year. The coalition's 2015 Walking Challenge is leading an initiative to reduce obesity in Greater Grand Forks, and so far, the miles...


Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks  kicked off 2015 with a pretty ambitious goal: walking 1 million miles in one year.

The coalition’s 2015 Walking Challenge is leading an initiative to reduce obesity in Greater Grand Forks, and so far, the miles have been piling up.

“As of now we have just over 450 people signed up and have logged just over 24,000 miles,” said communications committee chair Annie Berge. “So we’re doing pretty good so far. We’re definitely learning to get more people involved to make sure we get the million (miles).”

Berge hopes the committee will be able to get more employers involved in the challenge to encourage healthy living in the workplace.

Jenny Estad, manager of the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics, said Altru Health System has been getting its own staff involved in the challenge.


“Altru is a very large supporter of Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks and we’re just really encouraging our staff to all partake in the walking challenge,” she said.

Signs and other reminders about walking and healthy choices hang in Altru’s buildings, and employees are being rewarded for their efforts to walk and improve their health.

Estad said Altru is also offering incentives for employees such as free fitness gear or funds for entering races.

So far, Altru employees have logged more than 5,000 miles since the beginning of the challenge, Estad said.

“That’s exciting that people are getting on the website and logging their miles,” she said.

Walk and win In addition to the health benefits of walking , participants in the walking challenge have other ways to benefit.

The first 250 people to sign up for the walking challenge received free pedometers courtesy of Scheels. The store partnered with Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks to assist in the quest for weight loss by giving out free pedometers to the first 250 participants to register.

“We’re all about ‘gear, passion, sports’ here at Scheels,” assistant store leader Bryan Ambuehl said. “They told us their goal of trying to attack obesity and doing the million mile walk, and anything that’s active in promoting health, we definitely want to have a strong hold in the community in supporting that.”


Ambuehl said feedback about the pedometers has been great.

“We’re getting all sorts of feedback,” he said. “Some people are going on trips and are anxious to walk at Disney World, and other people are just excited being involved and being more active.”

For those eligible participants who still haven’t picked up their pedometers, they can be picked up in the shoe department at Scheels.

Scheels also teamed up with Asics to give out a free pair of shoes to one participant every month of 2015.

Aside from free shoes, there’s another way to win by walking just 5 miles. Anyone who does so between now and the end of January will be entered into a drawing for a gift card from the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics, which can be used for things such as consultations, classes or fitness gear.

To join the walking challenge, visit http://healthychoicesggf.org/walking-challenge/ . For updates on the walking challenge, new prizes and other news, visit the Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HCGGF .


Related Topics: SCHEELS
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