Live Healthy Live United 365 Challenge winner announced

The 2013 Live Healthy Live United 365 Challenge recently came to a conclusion in Northern Michigan and celebrated both the community’s success as a whole and the top winner. The event wrapped up an eight-week challenge that encouraged workplace wellness for businesses in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. The final celebration, called Fit For You, included fitness tips (especially for winter months), vendor activities, an award ceremony, food and giveaways.

United Way of Northwest Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan partnered up to invite employees to track and report their physical activity and healthy behaviors with Walking Works. At the culmination of the challenge, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan donated $3,000 to the United Way of Northwest Michigan in the name of the winning business. Those funds will help grow the United Way’s mission to “effectively raise and efficiently distribute financial and volunteer resources to support community-determined initiatives that improve the lives of our community members.”

The 2013 Challenge winner was the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, which tallied up almost 7,000 points by recording nutrition, exercise, community volunteering and healthy behaviors.

While most people know what to do to be healthy, it can be tough to find the willpower to stick to your goals. That’s where this challenge helped.“Tracking and having to report helped keep me focused,” says Vicky Arlt, Child Care Programs Manager of the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency. “I became more mindful of the amount of time I spend on vigorous activities, as well as the nutritional value of foods.”

One of the goals of the Challenge is to create lasting healthy behaviors for participating employees and community members. The eight weeks allows for enough time to firm up a healthy habit and to see small changes and improvements. The best part: Many participants keep their new behaviors going long after the completion of the Challenge.

“I was inspired to join a CSA through 9 Bean Rows farm,” says AmeriCorps VISTA at the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, Katharine Zurek. “I picked up a fresh bag of vegetables, bread, and eggs every week in Traverse City. Buying most of my food outside of a grocery store has helped me reduce the amount of processed food I’m eating. In order to receive 5-9 fruits and vegetables [per day] during the Challenge, I started most mornings with a green smoothie full of flax seed, spinach, banana, frozen fruit, Macha powder, and almond milk. I’m still hooked on them as a morning energizer.”

For more information about the Live Healthy Live United 365 Challenge, and to find out how to be involved in the future, visit United Way of Northwest Michigan.

DSCN0820[1](Pictured to the left accepting the Challenge check from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Director of Community Responsibility, Suzanne Miller-Allen, United Way Executive Director, Ranae McCauley, and Team Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency Member, John Stephenson).









How do you stay motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes?


Photo credit: United Way of Northwest Michigan


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