SHELDON—Greta Giese said it’s important to support a program like Live Healthy Northwest Iowa that helps community members live their healthiest lives.
Giese, the director of the Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, said one of the main goals of NCC is to help further the communities it serves. That’s one of the reason it sponsors Live Healthy Northwest Iowa each year.
“Live Healthy Northwest Iowa is a great program that helps our communities and helps further the individuals that live in the communities we serve,” she said. “As a college, we think that’s important. Of course, the rec center has an obvious interest in an activity like Live Healthy Northwest Iowa. We keep it going because we think it helps inspire people to set fitness and wellness goals, and keep working for them.”
Live Healthy Northwest Iowa, an extension of the Live Healthy Iowa program, is a 10-week contest that’s also sponsored by Iowa Information Publishers and Printers based in Sheldon. Peter W. Wagner, the founder and publisher of Iowa Information, said sponsoring Live Healthy Northwest Iowa is an opportunity to give back to the community.
“Health is obviously the biggest problem we all have anymore,” he said. “I’ve experienced that three times now in the last two years, so I’m getting to be very aware of the fact that if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be around to be taken care of.”
Businesses that sponsor get to sign up a team for Live Healthy Northwest Iowa for free. Iowa State Bank is a sponsor and Kristin Kleinwolterink, the assistant vice president at the Sheldon location, captains Team Margarita.
“We love to do things to help support the college,” she said. “We’ve always believed in doing that. It’s just a good way to get our name out there and to show appreciation for the college and the program itself.”
Giese said the biggest response she gets from other businesses that have sponsored Live Healthy Northwest Iowa is that they say it is a fun wellness activity they can work on as an organization.
“The sense of competition is always a fun thing for people, so spending 10 weeks competing in a friendly way with your co-workers on things that not only are fun but also are just generally better for you and make you feel healthier, that’s a great way to spend 10 weeks in my opinion,” she said.
Wagner said accountability is one of the best things the contest provides. After heart surgery, Wagner said he was working out twice a day but stopped around Christmastime. Then his wife, Connie, told him he needed to start working out again.
“She said to me, ‘Hey, you’re not going to get any lunch until you exercise.’ Accountability is what it’s all about,” he said. “That’s really in anything. It’s in our newsroom and is in the sales office. If somebody is not accountable, pretty quickly they decide they’re going to go and do the easier route structure.”
Giese added that the 10-week contest can essentially work as a built-in employee wellness program for the first 10 weeks of the New Year.
“They get the support and access to LLRC staff, including myself and personal trainers and leaders in health and wellness, so it’s a great opportunity to jump-start a New Year with your employees if you’re a sponsoring organization,” she said.
Kleinwolterink said she would tell anyone considering whether they should sponsor the contest or not that it’s a great idea.
“It’s a really good program anyway, and I think it’s really good to get more people to go out to the college and to the LLRC and see what it’s all about,” she said.