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Local News

January 20, 2014

Join the Healthy Appanoose Challenge

CENTERVILLE — For anyone that has already made and maybe broken a new year’s resolution to get healthy, a new health and wellness initiative is beginning tomorrow for all Appanoose County residents.

The Healthy Appanoose Challenge will run for the rest of 2014 and the free program can be joined at any time going forward during the year. The program will publish a week’s worth of health and wellness challenges each Tuesday somewhere in the Daily Iowegian. That week’s challenges will also be listed under the Healthy Appanoose Challenge tab on the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s website at

“We still want people to participate in events and activities like Live Healthy Iowa and do those things they’ve been doing, but we’re going to initiate some activities on our own here in Appanoose County,” said Chamber Executive Director Joyce Bieber.

Anyone participating in the challenge should go to the Chamber’s website to mark off each challenge as they complete it. Participants will also answer questions about how much water and how many fruits and vegetables they have consumed that day as well as rating the day’s challenge. Participants can also track their activity minutes and pounds lost, get recipes and sign up for e-mail reminders of each day’s challenge.

According to Bieber, Phase 1 of the challenge will run until April 18. At the end of Phase 1, 50 participants that have logged in the most, will be entered to win $100 in Chamber gift certificates.

The Healthy Appanoose Challenge is sponsored by the Appanoose County Wellness Coalition. The Coalition’s goal with the program is to encourage people to think more about their health and to get more of the community engaged in a healthier lifestyle.

“Wellness is not something that just can happen overnight,” said Bieber. “It’s got to be a continued sustained effort to make our county healthier…but we have a really committed group of people in our Wellness Coalition.”

Businesses can also participate in the program and can create their own guidelines for workers. Daily logs are also available for businesses and can be ordered from the Chamber of Commerce.

“We want our businesses to have…better productivity, we want our businesses to have less absenteeism, we want lower insurance rates and all of those things are very mush connected to wellness,” said Bieber.

Centerville Mayor Jan Spurgeon signed a proclamation during the Jan. 6 Centerville City Council meeting declaring 2014 the year of health and wellness in Centerville. Bieber said that was a first step, but encouraged other public entities, like cities, the county and the schools to get involved as well.

“We’ll be looking for opportunities to have wellness events and educational events,” said Bieber.

The Wellness Coalition also hopes to incorporate more group events and community events throughout the year. Sarah Fynaardt, the new health promotions manager at Mercy Medical Center in Centerville, is working as part of the Wellness Coalition to help provide tips, challenges and recipes for the program.

“One of the things that attracted me to this hospital was…they’re really in the community, they’re really being able to implement all these things and being successful at it, that was amazing to me,” said Fynaardt.

The Wellness Coalition is open to the public and anyone is invited to attend meetings. The group is encouraging new members to become involved as the Healthy Appanoose Challenge is launched. Bieber said they are looking for feedback and suggestions as the program rolls out so they can adjust it and incorporate new ideas. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at noon at Mercy Medical Center.

“This is something that every single person can get involved in and make a difference,” said Bieber. “I just really feel like this is one statistic we are going to beat.”

Week 1 Jan. 15-Jan. 21

Day 1 — Find your wellness buddy. Benefits to having a buddy: Accountability, motivation, it makes it easier to join a class, it’s a fun way to catch up and you can try new things.

Day 2 — Plan to try Quinoa in the next two weeks. Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah” is broadly referred to as a grain, it’s actually in the same family as beets, Swiss chard and spinach. Benefits of Quinoa: reducing diabetes risk, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood pressure and support weight loss or maintenance of weight.

Day 3 — Toe touches (complete 10 or get as far as you can). Toe touch exercise is very good for toning the abdominal organs and also helps treat problems like indigestion, constipation, bloating and other stomach issues. Circulation within the body is improved and even the back muscles are strengthened.

Day 4 — Wash your fruits and vegetables. Washing your vegetables is an extra measure that prevents food-borne illnesses, including those caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli can eliminate any residue left by harmful pesticides.

Day 5 — Make a list of three songs that boost your energy. Music is proven to have a bearing on our mood and upbeat tunes in particular can help put a smile on your face.

Day 6 — Mountain climbers, 10 reps. Assume a push-up position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Without changing the posture of your lower back (it should be arched), raise your right knee toward your chest. Pause, return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep. Alternate until you’ve completed all your reps.

Day 7 — Read about signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Visit the website of the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders at and read about the common signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It’s more common in women and can affect anyone at any age. Because the illness may be unpredictable and is marked by symptoms that many may be embarrassed to talk about, people who have it often suffer in silence unnecessarily.

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