Living life on two wheels

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Being physically active is so important for both physical and mental health. Finding an activity or sport that suits you can be tough. For me, mountain biking has been an activity that allows me to enjoy being outside in nature, keeping my body active, is easy on joints and So fun! Living life on two wheels is great for me and perhaps you too!

I started mountain biking in 2013. When I was young, I biked around town a lot, but was first exposed to mountain biking in Colorado on a family vacation as a teen. Who would have known that a couple decades later it would become a passion of mine! We visited friends in Montana during the summer of 2012. They were mountain biking enthusiasts and showed us their bikes. My husband and I were hooked. By the next year, we had bikes for ourselves. Since then, many of our evenings, weekends, and travels have been centered around biking.

A family on the trails

Living life on two wheels is about family.

Shortly after embracing the sport, we got to know a group of local riders at Black’s Grove park. In a few short months, we were racing on a mountain bike team associated with Maplelag Resort in Callaway, Minnesota. We have raced the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series races as a family. We compete in our respective category according to age and skill level. We’ve also expanded to races in other areas of the country. I still don’t claim to be super-fast or excellent in technical areas, but I truly enjoy being in the woods. Overcoming obstacles that I previously struggled with is a constant motivator for me.


In addition, I help as an assistant coach for the Northwest Composite Wolves, a local team made up of middle and high school students. The Minnesota Cycling Association aims to get more kids on bikes and is now over 2,600 kids strong! We practice as a team multiple times per week from July through October with the option to race. Each team has five races each year, with our local race in Detroit Lakes. Introducing children to this sport makes me happy and on practice days, I look forward to riding the trails with the kids! We have so much fun tackling the trails with friends and teammates.

Living life on two wheels might be right for you

Living life must involve bikes.

Take it easy to start. Don’t hesitate to hop off and walk or run areas that are uncomfortable until skill levels and stamina improve. Challenge yourself, but don’t take on too much. Reach out to others with similar interests and make sure your bike works well. Ensure that you have a helmet to reduce risk of head injuries.

Mobility is so important and tied to many areas of health. Cycling is just one way to help keep your body moving. Its also easier on the joints that some sports. Consider which sport or activity you might enjoy. Improved health is just one the many benefits!

Have an open mind and start living life to the fullest!

Heidi Olson, MD

Tri-County Health Care

Meyer: Motherhood and movement

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Over the summer, I gave birth to my fourth child. As a healthcare professional, I’m fortunate to have easy access to care almost all the time. However, this doesn’t make childbirth any less intense. I had a great team that worked with me every step of the way by helping me feel empowered. This experience has me thinking about my life and motherhood a lot. From my perspective, having children is one of the great joys of life, but it can be scary and come with many sleepless nights. Even with all the challenges it brings, it’s worth it in the end.

I know many expecting mothers out there are going through the not-so-fun phases of pregnancy. The sore back, the kicking, and nausea can be a tough, debilitating time. As a provider and a mother that has gone through this several times, I would like to offer some advice. Every child is different. Things that work for one child might not work for the other. You will know your child best, but you need the help of others to get to that magical day of birth. You’ll also need a support system before and after the baby finally arrives. Even the best moms need help, don’t be afraid to ask.

Secondly, get up and move! Whatever kind of exercise you can do, do it! It will give you strength and energy. It’s also a good habit to continue after the baby is born. It’s good for you and sets an example for your son or daughter as they get older.

Health first

Alison Meyer, APRN, FNP

Alison Meyer, APRN, FNP

My last bit of advice is to rest when you need to. Pregnancy is emotionally and physically strenuous, so listen to your body and get a full night’s rest. I know cutting down on late-night TV can be challenging, but it will make pregnancy much easier.

Remember to build your support system, sleep and get moving! Also, motherhood is much easier with a care team in your corner, so check in often.


Alison Meyer, APRN, FNP 

Tri-County Health Care

Yoga and the quest for pregnancy calm

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The benefits of regular yoga are well known and well documented. This fun exercise method has grown in popularity over the years by offering a simple way to condition the body and mind without expensive exercise equipment or gym memberships.

Calm the mind and body

Pam Doebbeling, RN, has made yoga a regular part of her fitness routine for over 30 years. Pam discovered yoga while in college, long before its explosion in popularity. She immediately loved it and now teaches regular pre/postnatal yoga classes at Tri-County Health Care. She is a certified yoga instructor and is accustomed to working with a wide range of skill levels.

“Most people think yoga is just stretching, but it really brings mind and body together.” – Pam Doebbeling

Yoga and its benefits

A yoga session with Pam is a fantastic workout. It doesn’t take long to work up a sweat, but more importantly, it calms the mind. Yoga is an opportunity to separate yourself from the hustle and bustle of the world and center yourself in tranquility. People often leave a session with Pam feeling the calming effects of yoga.

Classes with Pam are fun and beginner-friendly. Participants won’t find themselves on the floor struggling to contort their bodies. According to Pam, sessions center on what you can do. Moves can be modified to fit your skill level.

Getting ready for birth

Yoga is an excellent tool for preparing the body for birth. Yoga helps with the physical aspect of stretching the ligaments associated with childbirth. Overall, it keeps the body nimble while introducing important breathing techniques that aid with relaxation. It’s also an opportunity to meet other moms eagerly awaiting their due date.

Pam’s favorite pose

The tree is Pam's favorite yoga pose.

Maintaining balance is tough but it is one of the most exhilarating poses.

After 30 years of attempting nearly every pose in the book, Pam’s favorite move is the tree pose. She explained that it is challenging to balance, but you feel a rush of power over your surroundings when the pose is achieved. She also enjoys the pigeon because it stretches the hips.

Signing up

Pre/postnatal classes are completely free. They take place in the Browne Family Board Room at Tri-County Health Care in Wadena. Class sizes are typically small and may have COVID occupancy limits. Dates are listed below.

  • Sep 15, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Oct 6, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Oct 20, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Nov 3, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Nov 17, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Dec 1, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Dec 15, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

September is National Yoga Month, so if you’re pregnant and looking for a way to maintain your health, please register with Pam by calling 218-639-3689.

Exercise routines for beating the winter cold

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Living in Minnesota brings a bounty of weather of conditions, some good, some not so good. We can all agree that the crippling cold of December, January and February has many retreating indoors. This prolonged hibernation often wreaks havoc on our bodies. The pounds start creeping on while or skin dulls to a pale white. Our health doesn’t have to be put on the back burner and we can create exercise routines for battling the winter cold.

The obstacles to our success

The changes in daylight along with the cold weather are typically what drives people indoors. Finding time to exercise before or after work becomes a massive task. Not to mention those brave enough to venture out for that jog around the block have to deal with icy sidewalks and biting wind. To make it even tougher, we have seasonal depression which is usually brought on by a lack of sunlight.

Learn to love the cold!

It is possible to maintain your body indoors. Get creative and use the things around you.

I love winter! It is my absolute favorite season. My winter exercise routine involves tons of cross-country skiing and ice skating. I also take advantage of the beautiful trails in our area. If you’re looking for me during the winter, there are three places you will most likely find me. Blacks Grove right here in Wadena, Maplelag Ski Resort in Callaway, MN or at Soaring Eagle Ski Trails in Park Rapids, MN. People forget about the plethora of winter activities available. Instead, we hibernate inside. I challenge you to go out and enjoy the winter cold at least once a week.  Along with skiing, you have kick sledding, snowshoeing and ice skating. We as a family get together a couple of times a month to play pond hockey. It’s fun and a great physical activity.

Workouts at home

​If the cold is just a little too much, I get it. There are lots of exercise routines you can do inside. Use your imagination, look around your home and you will find weights, you will find benches, the possibilities are endless. Use soup cans as weights to do bicep curls and tricep extensions. You can hold filled water jugs when doing squats and lunges. If you have a bench in your house you can do step-ups or tricep dips. I also like using YouTube for no equipment workouts. A simple search will yield dozens of 20-minute at-home exercise routines. Just make sure it’s a workout you can handle, I’ve started plenty of videos and then realized they were too hard.

Just getting started…

If you’ve decided to take the plunge this winter, my advice is to start slow and take advantage of the outdoors. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out. There are plenty of beautiful days where the wind subsides and the blizzards are in check. Look for local trails in the area for skiing and snowshoeing. Build a snowman, go for a winter walk or play some hockey. You live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, go out and enjoy it, just bundle up first.

Remember to practice good judgment before venturing out to exercise in the winter. Wear the appropriate snow gear, don’t go out in extremely cold temperatures and stay home during blizzards or ice storms. Use the information provided by the Minnesota Department of Health for safety guidelines during the winter months. Learn about our Sports Medicine program.

Athletic Trainer, Sarah Maninga, sits at her desk behind her computer and smiles for the camera.

About the Author: Sarah Maninga has been an athletic trainer at TCHC since January 2015. She works with athletes at three area schools: Wadena-Deer Creek, Sebeka and Menahga. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter on their small farm and doing anything that involves being outside, especially hunting and running.

Ready. Set. Run!

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Whenever you start something new, especially something as demanding as exercising, it’s helpful to find someone to take that journey with you to keep you accountable and motivated.

Sisters-in-law Amber and Kayla Boen learned just how important it is to have a companion when they began running together. They conquered small distances at first and, through encouragement and determination, have now set their sights on long-distance goals.Running buddies Amber and Kayla smiling with sunglasses on.


Amber: I started my running journey in January of 2018. I was looking for a way to better my health and be more active. It started out with running on the elliptical at home in our basement. Once it warmed up, I took my running outside and started the Couch 2 5K program.

In April, I learned about Susan Kreklau’s C25K running group, so I signed up for that to keep up the motivation. I was lucky enough to have Kayla join the group as well. We kept each other motivated and accountable for our runs.


Kayla: Before the C25K, I ran one 5K with my oldest sister. I remember saying, “Never again will I run a 5K,” but here I am five years later having run several 5Ks last summer and enjoying every minute.

Amber and I were able to get through the C25K and keep each other on our toes, encouraging each other to do our best. Then we ran our first 5K together, the Sunnybrook Stomp. It was kind of scary. I ran the course before race day and felt like it was taking me forever, but I learned it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to finish the race. It’s that I cross the finish line. Those were Amber’s famous words. Eventually, it stuck in my head that, yeah, she’s right. That’s all that counts.


Amber: I remember being super nervous about the Sunnybrook Stomp. It was a really warm morning, and the sun was hot. The only goal I had set was to cross the finish line, and I think that is a really important part when running 5Ks.

You can’t get hung up on the length of time it took you to run it, but be proud of yourself for running it.


Kayla: After the Sunnybrook Stomp, Amber and I decided to get in as many 5Ks as we could that summer, so we did. We were able to run the Deer Creek Smokin’ Hot 5K, Bertha 5K, and Bluffton running buddies Amber and Kayla running with tutus on.Days 5K together. I also ran the Someplace Safe 5K, which was a last-minute decision made the morning of the race.


Amber: After running the 5Ks, we both set goals that we wanted to run a half marathon in 2019! I searched for upcoming half marathons that would give us time to train and found the 2018 Monster Dash in St. Paul. It looked like a great course, so I talked to Kayla about registering. She was hesitant at first, but I knew we could do it, and I knew she knew it too. I told her that I registered for it and that I would love for her to join.


Kayla: When she told me that, I’m pretty sure I said to her, “You’re crazy.” I told her there’s no way I can run a half this year, but I gave in and signed up.

I decided to put myself to the test and run from my parents’ house to mine. It was a little over 12 miles one way. I ran it in two hours, which I though was pretty darn good. Amber then wanted to take me out on a course she had planned, so we set out early Saturday morning and started running.


Amber: We took off on our run and ended up taking the wrong road and ran down a minimum maintenance road. It was all muddy. There were gunshots in the vicinity as it was duck season. It was terrible, but it was also great at the same time. We joked about it, made it through the mud, stomped off our shoes, and finished our 13.1 miles.

We were ready for our half marathon.


Kayla: Ready, set, go!! It’s October 28, and it’s the BIG race day for us both. I remember being so nervous I wanted to puke, but we lined up, had our water, backpacks, and ear buds playing some tunes. We both did amazing. I couldn’t be prouder of this huge accomplishment that we crushed. I hope to run even more 5Ks and half marathons with Amber this summer. My own personal goal is to run two half marathons this summer, and I’ve signed up to run a full marathon in December in Hawaii.


Amber: The day of our half marathon is truly something I will always cherish. It’s a journey that we worked so hard for, and when we crossed that finish line, the feeling is unexplainable. I was so Running buddies Amber and Kayla pose in front of the Sunnybrook Stomp sign.incredibly proud of how far we had come. I went from never running to running 13.1 miles in 10 months. Even looking back, it is still unbelievable. I look forward to many more 5Ks this summer and maybe another half marathon.


Kayla: Amber and I have run together countless times. We are great running buddies and that’s a must-have. I needed Amber’s encouraging words at times and as a good running buddy. I hope that I did the same for her as well.

Running has taught me a few things. The biggest one is finding a person that’s going to motivate you and a good pair of shoes.


Amber: My favorite part about running is running with Kayla. Having someone to run with keeps you motivated. They push you to do your best, and it isn’t boring. You can have a conversation, and time just flies by. Kayla always pushes me to do my best. It isn’t a competition between who is the fastest or who can go the farthest; it’s making sure we both reach our goals.

If you are interested in running, my suggestion is to find a running partner. You can motivate each other and hold each other accountable. Also, having the right pair of shoes makes a huge difference! I’m pretty sure I bought at least four pairs last summer before I found the right ones. The benefits of running are incredible. It increases your energy, you feel better emotionally and physically, and you sleep better.


Sunnybrook Stomp

The upcoming Sunnybrook Stomp gives area runners and their families a chance to participate in a 5K or children’s 1K. It will be held this Friday, June 14, at Sunnybrook Park in Wadena. Proceeds go to the pediatric rehabilitation program at Tri-County Health Care. For more information click here.

The reasons why I run

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By Pam Doebbeling, Registered Nurse


As I sit here writing this, I’m trying to brainstorm the reasons why I exercise and keep active, so let me first fill you in a little bit about myself. I have worked at TCHC for 25 years. I started when my kids, Alison and Brett, were 5 and 10 years old. My husband worked out of town, so I was essentially a single mom most of the time. I worked full time.

I used to consistently exercise, walk and run in the early days, but with two kids, it became a little harder. Walking was OK with the kids but kind of slow. So I went back to running. I could get done quicker. Ha!

Pam and her friend Rachel pose for a photo after finishing a run together. I took classes like Jazzercise and loved the group classes. They kept me accountable. When we moved and there were no classes, I got certified and started teaching. No, I did not have leg warmers, but we did all wear leotards!

I taught for 20 years. So many things have changed and yet remained the same. When I go to classes now, I think, “We use to do that.”

Over the past 15 years, I have gone back to running as my main source of exercise. I know a lot of people think that they can’t run. I felt that way myself, having been a walker for many years.

I started out slowly, which is the key if you want to condition your body for running. I would walk a while, then would find a street sign and run to it. Eventually, I worked my way up to just running.

Running for me has been more than exercise. For instance, if I have a really bad day at work, I will go for a short run, and it is amazing how much just three miles lowers my stress. My kids always teased me that I would leave ready to kick the dog, but when I got home, I was in a much better mood.

I have also joined a running group. I love the people and the different levels of running represented. Our love of running keeps us a tight-knit group, and that makes the time go by so fast.

However, I also prefer to run alone. No music. Just me and the pavement.

Last summer, I experienced a setback with a torn meniscus. Not being able to exercise was devastating to me. I did do more biking after surgery, but it just wasn’t the same.

After my injury, I learned a lot. I now stretch before and after each run and have changed my running form. I choose specially fitted shoes and take it slower. I use a foam roller after long runs.

Now, I am totally back to running and am doing Grandmas Half Marathon this year.Pam Doebbeling poses by the Sunnybrook Stomp sign with co-workers.

Another reason why I prioritize exercising is that my dad died at age 61 of cardiac arrest. Three of his sisters had strokes. I didn’t want to have health issues later in life.

But the main reason I exercise is so that I can be there and be active with my grandkids. I took my granddaughter hiking the other day, and she called her mom and said, “Grandma has me hiking another mountain!” I want to be that kind of grandma, to enjoy life and share my love of fitness.


You can run (or walk) too!

Next Saturday, June 23, you have an opportunity to try some walking or running with the Sunnybrook Stomp hosted by Tri-County Health Care. It’s a 5K walk/run that starts out at Sunnybrook Park in Wadena. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., and the race starts at 8:30 a.m. I ran my first Sunnybrook Stomp in 1988!

It’s a great opportunity to get outside, spend time with friends (and meet some new ones), and see the sights of Wadena.

For more information or to register, click here.


About the Author: Pam Doebbeling is a registered nurse at Tri-County Health Care. She has six grandchildren: Mya, Jack, Abby, Emily, Laynee and James. Besides running, she loves kayaking, paddle boarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing with her grandchildren. She also enjoys reading and took up knitting last winter.

Keep your kids active this summer

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By Sarah Maninga, TCHC Athletic Trainer


Mother and daughters hula hooping outdoorsSummer. The season we all patiently wait for in Minnesota is here! Now that it’s finally upon us, you may be asking yourself, “How can I keep my kids active and fit while they are out of school for the summer?”

If you enjoy community activities, check out your local Chamber of Commerce, city website or school district for possible ideas.

Tri-County also hosts area events. Our Bertha Area Wellness Center 5K Fun Run/Walk is July 7. It includes a 5K and a youth 1K. We’re also hosting our annual Block Party on July 18. There will be free food, music, kids’ games, a bike rodeo and more.

You can find more information about these events and more here.

If you think organized events may not be for you and your kiddos, or maybe you’re spending your summer at the lake, don’t worry. There are plenty of activities you can do yourself. Most of them don’t require any supplies either!

Here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Plan a scavenger hunt in the yard. Give the kids a time limit and have the kids look for caterpillars, ants, leaves, rocks.
  • Play hopscotch
  • Water balloon baseball
  • Hula hoop
  • Make activity dice
  • Play activities such as wiggle like a worm, crab walk and hop like a frog.

The above are great ideas for younger kids, but what about the older kids and teenagers? Mother and kids hiking through a forest.

One great summer activity is hiking. Itasca State Park is just a short drive away and provides miles of hiking trails, as well as biking trails.

Another great option is geocaching, which is a large scavenger hunt for adults and kids that utilizes a GPS. It’s as easy as downloading the app on your phone, and then you’re ready to start searching.

You can also have them check out the local parks that have Frisbee golf. The only thing you need is a Frisbee to enjoy a whole afternoon of fun.

Now that your kids are out and about and staying active, don’t forget about the sunscreen, bug spray and keeping them hydrated.

Have a great summer, and I hope you get a chance to try some of these ideas to keep everyone active this summer!


Sarah ManingaAbout the Author: Sarah Maninga has been an athletic trainer at TCHC since January 2015. She works with athletes at three area schools: Wadena Deer Creek, Sebeka and Menahga. During her time off, she enjoys spending her time with her husband on their small farm and doing anything that involves being outside, especially hunting and running.

I CAN Prevent Diabetes Participants Lost an Average of 16% of Their Body Weight!

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Last spring, I had the wonderful opportunity to facilitate a I CAN prevent diabetes class for Tri-County Health Care. This is a lifestyle change program focusing on losing about 7% of current body weight and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes. The program meets weekly for 16 weeks, then monthly thereafter until a full year is completed.

I am happy to announce these three wonderful ladies have successfully completed one year of the I CAN prevent diabetes program. They lost an average of 16% of their body weight! And increased their physical activity to 150 minutes or more each week!

So I asked these ladies during our last meeting together…What’s Your Story?

Left-Right: Berni, Linda and Jancie are recent graduates of the I CAN Prevent Diabetes Program.

What words of wisdom can you share with other who learn they are at risk for type 2 diabetes?

  • “Be honest and accountable”
  • “It takes both food and activity to be successful”
  • “Eat smaller portions”
  • “Eat more fruits and vegetables”

What did you find most helpful during those moments in the program when you felt discouraged?

  • “Keep going, stay motivated”
  • “Seeing your progress on paper”
  • “Coming to class and talking with other”

Write a message to your future self. What do you want to tell yourself about this experience and the importance of continuing the lifestyle changes you have made?

  • “It was worthwhile”
  • “Remember how much better you feel now”
  • “Don’t go backwards”

For questions about future classes or pre-diabetes contact Shelby Hunke at 218-632-7115 or

About the Author: Shelby Hunke is a Registered Dietitian working at Tri-County Health Care in the hospital and clinic. She has a degree in Exercise Science and Dietetics with a passion for helping patients live a healthy lifestyle. She lives in Wadena with her husband Paul and two kids, Madison and Jackson. In her spare time she enjoys family time, running with her dog Bela and cooking!

Shelby and her family.

Holiday Wellness Guide – 5 Tips for Surviving the Bulge

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By: Shelby Hunke, RD, LD

I know that a lot of people get concerned about holiday weight gain. Here are my 5 tips for managing your health during the busy holiday season:

  1. Don’t Drink Your Caloriesholidaydrinks
  • Alcoholic drinks really add up! It’s easy to drink 500-1000 calories.
  • Other caloric holiday drinks:
    • Hot chocolate
    • Eggnog
    • Punch
    • Cider

Work on limiting your intake of these items. Hot chocolate or specialty coffee drinks that are out this time of year can be really high in calories. They usually contain 2 percent or whole milk and whipped cream on top! Ask for skim milk, sugar free flavoring, and/or no whipped cream!

Christmas Table Arrangement

  1. Moderation is Key
  • The holidays only happen once per year and that mean some foods you only get one time a year!
  • So go ahead and have it – but be mindful of how much you have.
  • Everyone has that one item that they look forward to every holiday. Start out small though, you will be still be satisfied without stuffing yourself. My item is my Grandma’s fudge.
  1. How to Avoid Overeating
  • Don’t go to a holiday party or family gathering starving.
  • Don’t make it your only meal of the day.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Fill up on fiber.

If your family gathering or parties are like mine – there is always too much food! To avoid overeating – I just dish up a little bit (couple bites) of everything I want to try.  This way I can have it all without overdoing it. The items that I don’t limit my intake on are the vegetable tray, salads, and fresh fruit. These items help fill me up and keep my meal well balanced. I also try to avoid the bread or buns. If I don’t put it on my plate I usually forget about it and don’t even miss it!

Fruit Christmas tree with different berries, fruits and mint.

Fruit Christmas tree with different berries, fruits and mint.

I don’t add extra butter or gravy to my meal items. Remember that moderation is key and while I ALWAYS have vegetables on my plate, I also never skip dessert – because it’s my favorite part!

  1. Beat the Bloat
  • Drink plenty of water!
  • Exercise
  • Watch your sodium intake
  • Mixed nuts
  • Stay away from the relish tray (olives, pickles, dips, etc.).
  • Ham
  • Sugary Drinks
  • Snack mixes

It’s important to still drink water on the holidays. Often times when we’re out of our normal routines, we drink less water. This along with a food hangover can leave you feeling pretty awful the next day. So, remember to sip on water all day long!

Family Ice-Skating on Pond


  1. Exercise
  • It will burn calories and help with bloating.
  • Boost your mood (endorphins).
  • Think outside the box:
  • Build a snowman
  • Shoveling
    • 125 lb person, ½ hour – 180 calories
    • 155 lb person, ½ hour – 223 calories
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
    • 130 lb person, 1 hour – 472 calories
    • 180 lb person, 1 hour – 650 calories
  • Sledding
  • Ice Skating
    • 130 lb person, 1 hour – 325 calories
    • 180 lb person, 1 hour – 450 calories
  • Cross Country Skiing
    • 130 lb person, 1 hour – 413-472 calories
    • 180 lb person, 1 hour – 572-654 calories

I know that a lot of people get concerned about holiday weight gain. Although the average person only gains about a pound during the holidays, this accumulates over the years. If you don’t change your lifestyle the weight will just keep going up. Make a commitment to your health, and decide to make small steps towards your best self, prior to the New Year!

Shelby and her family.

Shelby and her family.

About the Author: Shelby Hunke is a Registered Dietitian working at Tri-County Health Care in the hospital and clinic. She has a degree in Exercise Science and Dietetics with a passion for helping patients live a healthy lifestyle. She lives in Wadena with her husband Paul and two kids, Madison and Jackson. In her spare time she enjoys family time, running with her dog Bela and cooking!


Try out this great recipe to bring to any holiday party!

Sunnybrook Stomp – how I went from being a spectator to winning a 5k!

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By Kris Anderson – Quality & Privacy Manager

Growing up I was a member of my track team, but only competed in short-to- medium distance races. After I finished school, I got married and had three children. I went from competing in sports to now sitting in the bleachers cheering for my children at their sporting events. When I saw an e-mail about a program that our wellness committee, Healthy by Choice, was beginning, it peaked my interest because I had been thinking about getting back into running. It was a  running program called, “Couch to 5K”. At the end of the nine-week training program we could all race in the Sunnybrook Stomp 5K. I thought it would be a great opportunity to challenge my current exercise routine (which includes “Blaine’s Boot Camp” at the Bertha Area Wellness Center) and myself! A 5K is something I never thought I would do. Though I consider myself an active person, I had never challenged myself like this before.

The group started in mid-April and was led by Rachel Amiot, the wellness coordinator at the Bertha Area Wellness

Kris receiving her award for winning her age group at the Sunnybrook Stomp 5K.

Kris receiving her award for winning her age group at the Sunnybrook Stomp 5K.

Center. She taught us some great tips about long-distance running. What was also nice about the weekly group is that I got to meet employees from all different departments.

I knew if I signed up for something then I would be committed and would want to finish the program. There are days where I found myself dragging. I’m like so many people who work at a desk all day. Mentally, I’m tired at the end the day. Those are the moments that you never want to exercise. But the truth is, you always feel better after you exercise! You could tell as the weeks went on it became easier. It’s surprising how far you can really progress and how you can feel physically stronger in just nine weeks.

Kris racing to the finish line!

Kris racing to the finish line!

My goal was to run the entire 5K race. This last Friday I accomplished my goal of running the whole way and I won my age group! I was surprised and shocked! Running 3.1 miles is a long way, but I did it.

I’ve also put September 26 on my calendar and am planning to do the Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl, with proceeds going to childhood cancer. It’s a great way to keep myself motivated and run for a great cause. If I don’t sign myself up for it…I know that I would talk myself right out of it or find something else to fill my schedule. When I had running club on Mondays I committed to running and it was reserved on my calendar.

Want to join Kris at other 5K races this summer? Here is a list of some local 5K’s coming up…

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About the Author: Kris Anderson is a longtime resident of Hewitt, MN and has worked for Tri-County Health Care for more than 30 years. In her current position, she is the Quality & Privacy Manager and works to ensure the hospital is ready for surveys, that patient’s records are kept confidential and manages Medical Staff credentialing and privileging. She has three children, five grandchildren and enjoys going to the lake and spending time with her family.

What’s your WHY? Why Exercise became critical in my life

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By: Rachel Amiot, Wellness Coordinator at Bertha Area Wellness Center & Certified Personal Trainer

We’ve all heard that exercising has benefits such as increasing our energy, strength, mood and helping our hearts function more efficiently. Most of us feel we should probably get to the gym a few more times a year…all right maybe a few more times a week! I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of stuff to do on a daily basis. I have a house to clean, laundry to do, a 40+ hour a week job, dinner to prepare…shoot that reminds me I have to run to the grocery store! You see, I really do want to exercise more I just don’t have time; my life is just too busy.

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Young Rachel (far right) with her two younger sisters

So you may be wondering why I recently decided to go back to become a certified personal trainer? I learned at a very young age that life is fragile. When I was five years old I attended my first funeral for my 56-year-old grandmother who passed away from a heart condition. Ten years later I found myself back in the same church for my grandfather’s funeral. Shortly thereafter my 43-year-old uncle passed away from a heart attack while moving furniture. At an early age, I saw firsthand how everyday lifestyle choices played a factor into my dear family member’s early passings. I was scared this same pattern would be passed on to me.

Rachel & her family

Rachel & her family

You can’t outsmart hereditary and I knew exercising needed to become a priority even if that meant I’d have an extra load of laundry to do on the weekend. I realized that we are all given the same 24 hours in a day; the only difference is how we decide to use those hours. Time management was something I was going to have to get better at because fitting exercise in my day to me meant another day. I found that exercising became a relief for me from worry, anxiety and sadness. Exercise made me feel good, happy and strong! In turn that made me feel beautiful no matter how many breakouts I had on my face or my pant size. My hope is that people would realize that exercise not only benefits your heart, increases your blood circulation, boosts your mood, helps you focus, gives you energy, makes you stronger and reduces your risk of chronic health conditions, but it also can be a time of self-reflection and meditation.

We owe it to ourselves to look after our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I made exercise a priority in my life because I want to live a long, full life. I owe that to myself and the memory of my late family members.

So what I want to leave you with is this…what’s your why?

Ironman finisher

Rachel completed an Ironman in 2014!

About the Author: Rachel Amiot is the Wellness Coordinator and Certified Personal Trainer for the Bertha Area Wellness Center in Bertha, MN. Her passion is to lead by example and teach people how to lead a healthier lifestyle. She is a member of the Wellness Committee at Tri-County Health Care and leads the Couch to 5k running group for the Sunnybrook Stomp on June 19th. In her free time she bikes with her dad, runs with her dog and trains for triathlons.