Participants reflect at midway point of program

MARQUETTE – As The Healthy Lifestyle Journal: Community Wellness Challenge 2013 reaches the midway point, a few participants weigh in on their experiences so far.

“I was getting a little lazy,” Peggy Leach laughed. Leach, a resident of Marquette, said after two surgeries in October slowed her down, she was looking for something to motivate her through the winter months. After reading about the challenge in The Mining Journal, she decided to give it a try.

“I’ve found it to be very helpful… each week is something different and refreshing,” Leach said.

She recalled being surprised at how much activity was involved with the program, and she highlighted some of the exercises she has enjoyed, which include Zumba, yoga and cross-country skiing.

“Take the time to go to the meeting,” Leach encouraged. “It’s one hour out of the week and it has such a big impact.”

Cecelia Korpi, an Ishpeming resident, first felt the impact of the wellness challenge when she joined the Ishpeming group three years ago when the program first started.

“The challenge makes it fun to put your personal fitness goals at the top of your to-do list,” Korpi said via an email interview.

She, like Leach, first learned about the program through The Mining Journal. Korpi said she decided to do it because she likes challenging herself to do better.

“My favorite part is getting together with the groups and trying different types of exercise both indoor and out,” Korpi said. “We got together one evening for snowshoeing and it was wonderful… being with a group made it feel like a party.”

Korpi said through the challenge she has lost a few pounds and gained energy. She is also more able to focus on taking care of herself.

“By being involved in this challenge, I am reminded that I have choices every day that may affect my future ability to stay active and participate in life,” Korpi said.

The Healthy Lifestyle Journal is the outcome of a local coalition known as ACHIEVE, which stands for Action Communities For Health, Innovation and Environmental Change. According to George Sedlacek, a Negaunee resident and ACHIEVE Leader, 18 different organizations collaborate to promote wellness in Marquette County. Sedlacek, who recently retired from the Marquette Health Department, has been a participant/leader of the Healthy Lifestyle Journal all three years.

“The nice thing about this program is that it brings the components that are known to help people manage their weight and increase their nutrition through a combination of coaching and keeping a regular diary,” Sedlacek said.

He said most people know that they need to exercise and eat their fruits and vegetables, but that doesn’t mean it’s always being put into practice. According to him, the challenge offers the tools and resources to get people on track.

On a personal level, Sedlacek said the challenge has helped him eat more fruits and vegetables, something he always struggled with.

“Taking that first step is always the hardest, but it’s worth it,” Sedlacek said.

The meetings are being held in the four regions of Gwinn, Marquette, Ishpeming and Negaunee. Gwinn meets from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays in the Gwinn Clubhouse, Marquette meets from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the Nelberg Building-3rd Floor Gym of Marquette General Hospital, Ishpeming meets from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays in the Empire Room of Bell Hospital and Negaunee meets from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the West End YMCA. Individuals can join at any time. The challenge ends on March 31. To learn more, call Deb Sergey at MGH at 225-3221.

Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.