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Be active, compete for prizes

Walk Around the Clock is the latest community-wide Wellness Counts challenge presented by JA Counter, The Vitality Initiative and HealthPartners.

The competition is an online, team-based challenge that pushes participants to get moving and be active for at least 150 minutes each week for six weeks. The challenge kicks off on Aug. 11 and continues through Sept. 21. There is a $15 entry fee, due upon registration, to participate in the challenge.

According to Shannon Mehls, brokerage manager at JA Counter, the focus of the challenge is to show that any activity people do is beneficial to their health.

"It doesn't take a gym membership or exercise class to be active and live a healthy lifestyle," she said.

Last year's challenge focused strictly on walking, Mehls said, but this year's spring-fall competition is a bit more broad based.

"This year's challenge takes all activity into consideration, it's not limited to walking," Mehls explained. "So no matter what your interest is, be it swimming, walking, canoeing, biking, whatever it is ... it's all part of being active and healthy. We want this to be as appealing to as many people as possible, and I think this challenge does that."

The timing of the challenge is also important, Mehls said, as people are able to get outside in the late summer and early fall to get active.

"This is a great time of year to up your activity level and explore the great paths, parks and resources that New Richmond has to offer," she said.

Mehls said people can enjoy friendly competition with fellow coworkers, friends or family by joining the challenge. Participants create a team of four and track daily activity online - attempting to reach the individual goal of 150 minutes of weekly activity.

Individuals who meet the weekly goal will earn chances to win a $75 weekly prize drawing. The teams that meet the overall goal of 3,600 minutes will earn a chance at the final prize drawing of $300.

The registration deadline is July 24 - no exceptions - so sign up now at and click on events.

Representatives with JA Counter assist clients in the areas of employee benefit planning, retirement planning, investment planning, as well as insurance and estate planning.

"Internally, JA Counter supports active, healthy, and balanced lifestyles," Mehls said. "It's worked well for us as an organization, and activities like this are too beneficial not to share."

The New Richmond Vitality Initiative is a long-term effort to improve the health and well-being of the community. The organization is a grassroots organization of community volunteers that is devoted to making the New Richmond area one of the healthiest places in Wisconsin.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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