Mayo offering wellness trophy

FAIRMONT — If you’re one of those people who shies away from wellness programs because you don’t want to count calories or dedicate time to a fitness center, Mayo Clinic Health System is offering a month-long program in October to help get area residents moving toward a healthier lifestyle.

Called the Community Wellness Challenge, the program couples 30 minutes of physical activity each day with enjoyable activities to enhance your mental well-being.

More than 10 teams from area businesses already have signed up squads of four to six members to participate, but there is room for more.

“There are some organizations that have their own wellness programs, but this has the opportunity to be much more broad and include anybody and everybody,” said Dr. Marie Morris, medical director at Mayo in Fairmont.

Morris and Darla Nelson-Philipp, community relations representative at Mayo in Fairmont, are spearheading the community-wide challenge. When it ends Oct. 31, the winning team with the highest average of points will receive a traveling trophy and bragging rights for a year.

“We’d love to have 50 teams,” said Nelson-Philipp. “We made the trophy to cover 16 years. We want this to grow every year.”

They are inviting neighborhoods, church groups, book clubs, coffee groups, civic organizations, businesses and friends to participate.

“That’s the fun thing. It doesn’t have to be a formal recognized group,” Morris said.

Mayo in Fairmont worked with its counterpart in New Prague, where there is a wellness center, to develop a 30-day program that is easy to follow. Each day, participants who exercise 30 minutes in an activity of their choice, such as volleyball, walking, running or yoga, will receive 30 points. An additional 30 points is awarded each day for completing an activity on the wellness challenge calendar. In order to promote mental as well as physical wellness, these daily calendar activities include enjoying an electronics-free meal or greeting as many people as possible whom you pass.

“When we think of a wellness challenge, it’s easy to focus on the physical activity, but this is so much more. It will appeal to any and all. There are so many positives,” Morris said.

At 6 p.m. each Tuesday in October, participants will do a community walk at Five Lakes Centre to score a 60-point bonus for that day. This community walk is open to anyone who would like to join in the event and meet old and new friends while strolling around the mall.

Once a week, each team’s leader will submit its members’ scores to Mayo, which will tabulate the results. The challenge runs from Oct. 2-31, and the winning team will be announced Nov. 2.

“Exercising for 30 minutes a day, five days a week is very standard for health, wellness, prevention of diabetes, cardiac health,” Morris said. “The more we can promote wellness as being a community-wide activity, if our whole community is focused on wellness, we would be so much better off, health-wise.”

One way to earn bonus points in the challenge is to plan and prepare meals and snacks for the week.

“It really helps people have healthy meals,” Nelson-Philipp said. “If you have a plan, you’ll be less likely to eat something unhealthy or go somewhere and grab something unhealthy.”

“Being healthy starts with a plan. That is so critical,” Morris said.

For more information or to sign up a team for the challenge, contact Nelson-Philipp at (507) 238-8177 or email her at The deadline for registration is Sept. 29 to allow teams to acquire the necessary information and simple forms to report points.