Focus on Fitness

September 22nd is Falls Prevention Awareness Day

September 6th, 2017

Do something to help promote the awareness of Falls Prevention!

The National Council on Aging has many resources to help you be effective in spreading the awareness that falls can be prevented and they are not a normal part of aging.  Check out the link to their Tool Kit below.

For a variety of resources to help promote Falls Prevention Awareness Day, visit:

You can . . .

  • Schedule an event to mark the day – presentation at a senior center, a walk event, an exercise class, a dance, etc.
  • Post a photo sharing what you do to help prevent falls (NCOA has some stock photos to use).
  • Share an informational video (see website above). Or make your own video to share.
  • Share an Infographic (see website above).
  • You can invite individuals to attend a falls prevention exercise class (visit for classes in A Matter of Balance and Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance – offered in MNRAAA’s 27 counties).
  • You can speak to a loved one about falls prevention.
  • You can sign up yourself for a falls prevention workshop.
  • You can sign up to become a Leader/Coach to teach a Falls Prevention workshop (see for training dates).

Let the MNRAAA Program Developers help you.

Betty Christensen…………….. 507.508.5496……………………. [email protected]

Big Stone, Swift, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, and Renville Counties

Jamie Enger-Lanners……….. 507.327.2980……………………. [email protected]

Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Pipestone, Murray and Rock Counties

Diana Madsen…………………… 507.327.0841……………………. [email protected]

Brown, Cottonwood, Watonwan, Nobles, Jackson, Martin, and Faribault Counties

Elaine Spain……………………… 507.387.1256 x 106…………… [email protected]

Meeker, McLeod, Sibley, Nicollet, Le Sueur, Blue Earth, and Waseca Counties

Thank you for doing your part to reduce falls, save money, and save lives. We can all reach more when we stand together.


Don’t wait til Family Health and Fitness Day to be active with your family!

September 28th, 2015

Couple Walking on the Beach with Their Three Daughters and DogWhat is Family Health & Fitness Day USA®?

Family Health & Fitness Day USA is a nationwide health and fitness event for families, always held the last Saturday in September. The purpose of this unique national program — with the participation of localorganizations throughout the U.S.— is to increase good health awareness and promotefamily involvement in physical activity.

But you don’t need to wait for a National Fitness Day to get active with your family!  Here are some easy, fun ideas to keep your family healthy and entertained!


Compete in an Obstacle Course:

On your mark, get set, go! Obstacle courses are pure fun and can easily be set up in your backyard or your local park using items found around the home. You can use just about anything to create a fun obstacle course in the yard: hula-hoops, tires, ladders, pool noodles, string, rope, buckets, cones, boards…. you name it! Who says physical activity has to feel like a chore?

Visit an Indoor Rock Climbing Gym:

Kids are always jumping on furniture and climbing trees, so why not put that energy into a family-fun activity? Rock climbing will teach kids concentration skills, build confidence and give your family a great workout!

Go Apple Picking:

Visit the apple orchard for a perfect fall day family outing. Apple picking may not seem like a typical workout, but you’d be surprised how many steps you take while walking around an orchard. Plus, it’s surprisingly strenuous, especially for little arms and legs. And even better – the health benefits continue after you go home! Fresh picked apples make a great snack and there’s tons of healthy treats you and your little ones can make together.

Play a Game:

Instead of sitting home and watching football, go outside and play your own! Get all the family together and organize a touch football game. This is a really fun way to fight the lazy weekend slump and get in some physical activity too!

Organize an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt:

Every child (even adults) love the thrill of finding hidden treasures, and what better way to get the family moving than with a scavenger hunt! Turn the activity into an educational experience by hosting it at a zoo or local nature park. Compose a list of challenges, such as finding an oak leaf, split your family into teams, then head off and see who can complete the most tasks. That’s family fitness at its finest!

Get Lost in a Corn Maze:

Another great family fitness activity is navigation your ways through a corn maze! What could be more fun than getting lost in the middle of a cornfield and working together, as a family, to find your way out? With a little problem solving, you’ll walk across the finish line with a sense of accomplishment—and walk quite a few miles in the process.

Ride a Bicycle:

There’s a special bond between kids and bicycles that can never be broken. Bicycles represent fun, freedom, and fresh air — everything that’s good about being a kid. Spend the day biking around town or head to the nearest bike path. It’s a fun and healthy activity that everyone in the family can enjoy.

Pumpkin Picking:

Take a trip to the pumpkin patch and enjoy a day of family fitness and fun! With petting zoos, playgrounds, bounce houses and other activities, there is something for every member of the family to enjoy. When you’re done petting farm animals, hitch a hayride to the pumpkin patch, or better yet walk, and have fun hunting for the perfect pumpkin to carve. While it may seem like all fun and games, there’s actually quite a bit of heavy lifting involved.

Play Laser Tag:

We all know how much kids love playing video games, but what if they could actually participate in real life? One afternoon of laser tag can help exercise both the mind and body, not to mention you and your kids will have a blast. Now that’s what we call a win-win!

Visit a Park:

Weather permitting, hiking and scenic walks in local parks are fantastic and inexpensive ways to exercise with your kids and teach them to appreciate Mother Nature up close and personal. Get outside and get your blood pumping together — you may create some lasting memories as well as a lifelong habit of staying in shape.

See more at:

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September 16th, 2015

childhood obesity inforgraphicDuring the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups, increasing more than fourfold among children ages six to 11. More than 23 million children and teenagers (31.8 percent) ages two to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic for which they recommend using fat burner supplements like Resurge.

“The growing rate of childhood obesity in our country is alarming,” said Kerry Ward, Healthy Communities Team Member. “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Meeker McLeod Sibley Healthy Communities recognizes the serious threat obesity poses to the health of America’s children and the importance of decreasing its prevalence not only in insert city name, but across the entire United States.”

Obese young people have an 80-percent chance of becoming obese adults and are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults. As a result, they are more at risk for associated adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, several types of cancer like bladder cancer and osteoarthritis.

The financial implications add up to a sobering $14 billion per year in direct health care costs alone. Americans spend approximately nine percent of their total medical costs on obesity-related illnesses. Additionally, there are psychosocial consequences that can hinder academic and social functioning and persist into adulthood.

“These severe consequences underscore the critical importance of children and teens to participate in physical activity and to engage in healthy eating habits,” said Ward. “Childhood obesity is entirely preventable. It’s up to adults to encourage these healthy habits.”

September 2010 was the first National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, established by presidential and congressional proclamations. “Nothing can be more important than protecting the health and wellbeing of our children for years to come. With a strong unity of purpose, we can make a difference for our kids,” said Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, who co-sponsored the House resolution. “I look forward to parents, health care providers, educators, civic leaders and organizations joining the effort to end childhood obesity.”

“Childhood obesity is a public health crisis,” said Congresswoman Kay Granger, a co-sponsor. “Children need information and guidance to make informed decisions about food and exercise. Childhood Obesity Awareness Month supports the goals of families, schools, and communities who are working to ensure we raise a healthier generation. If we keep our kids healthy now it will alleviate a major burden on our health care system while giving millions of young people the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives.” Ward goes on to say that “Healthy Communities encompasses the factors that lead to advancing healthy living within our three counties.” ” With the Collaboration’s focus on mental health, obesity prevention and promoting wellness and prevention, we will look to make changes in our communities that are lasting and sustaining, helping to lower health care costs and lead residents in healthy behavior.”

In observance of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month this September, organizations, advocates and families nationwide are again planning events and activities to build awareness of childhood obesity and ways to combat it. Information and resources are available online at

Playground Workout – A Family Affair!

May 29th, 2014

It’s beautiful outside these days, isn’t it?  Sunshine, fresh air, and the kids are almost out of school.  It is the perfect time of year to take your family to the park in the evenings after dinner.  I know how it goes as a parent, it’s easy to sit on the park bench and read a book or scroll through your smartphone for updates and email checks while your kids play, but try to leave your phone at home!  Use a park date with your family as an opportunity to unplug and re-connect with your loved ones.  Oh yes, and get a family workout in!

Here is a sample park workout for you to try with your entire family!

1) Find an open area of grass and run from one end to the other.  Make it a race.  When you get to the end, stop for a second to catch your breath, and then immediately turn around and either walk or crawl like your favorite animal back to where you started.

2) Find a park bench and step up onto it with your left leg ten times.  Then step up with your right leg ten times.  If the step is a little high for the little kids, have them jump like a frog while you are doing your step-ups.

3) Find a set of monkey bars and do your best to hang from them, or swing across the set.  Help your kids along the way too.  See who can get the farthest.

4) Head back to the open grass and run from one end to the other.  Stop, catch your breath, and walk or bear crawl back to the beginning.

5) Head back to the park bench and complete ten push-ups at an incline on the bench.  Help your kids complete these as well.

6) Take a step away from the bench and complete ten squats and help your kids do the same.

7) Head back to the grass and run one more length and jog or walk back.

Rest!  You have just completed a playground workout circuit!  Start with one round, and build your way up to two or three.

Need some more inspiration?  Here is a very nice guide from Nerd Fitness on building and progressing your playground workouts.



Focus On Fitness: Strength Workout!

March 24th, 2014

We have spent the last couple months learning on a few exercises in this “Focus On” series.  Let’s take what we have learned and actually turn it into a beginner strength training workout template, shall we?

First, some guidance.  Always be safe and check with your medial professional to be sure these exercises are appropriate for you.  Also, when you begin any new program, it is generally best to begin slowly, and increase frequency or intensity at a gradual pace.  You will see some exercises with an ‘a’ or ‘b’ next to them.  This means to perform these exercises as a ‘superset,’ or complete the ‘a’ exercise first, immediately followed by the ‘b’ exercise.  The bigger, lower body exercises are typically done on their own.

So, here we go!  Our strength training program is split into two workouts.  Complete each workout on non-consecutive days, working up to three training days per week.  Alternate back and forth between Workout A and Workout B.

Workout A

Begin with a proper warm-up

1) Hip Thrust – 3 sets of 15 reps, resting approximately 60 seconds between sets

2a) Knee Push-Up – 3 sets of 8 reps, gradually working up to 10

2b) Band Row – 3 sets of 10 reps, gradually working up to 12

3) Plank – 2 holds as long as possible, resting approximately 60 seconds between sets


Workout B

Begin with a proper warm-up

1) Squat – 3 sets of 15 reps, resting approximately 60 seconds between sets

2a) Knee Push-Up – 3 sets of 8 reps, gradually working up to 10

2b) Band Row – 3 sets of 10 reps, gradually working up to 12

3) Bird Dog – 2 sets of 10 reps, resting approximately 30 seconds between sets


So, take some time and try out this strength workout.  Let us know what you think!