Sometimes a little healthy competition is just the approach needed to help employees implement healthier lifestyle choices.

Recently Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union and Bremer Bank put that concept into practice. Deanna Olson from Just for Kix-Move U Fitness and a volunteer with Crow Wing Energized has been encouraging healthy practices such as physical activity, eating healthy, and making the healthy choice the easy choice. She wanted to introduce a healthy program with workplaces, and make it as available and as fun as possible to engage employees.

Through her connections at Bremer Bank and Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, the idea of a healthy competition was launched. The two Brainerd lakes area organizations decided to implement a Bank vs. Credit Union water dual to encourage employees with the Rethink Your Drink campaign.

All employees were encouraged to participate and those who elected to "drown out" their competition and better their health received a Rethink Your Drink/Crow Wing Energized water bottle. Of course, the winning organization reserved bragging rights to their healthy efforts by drinking more ounces than the other and finally laying to rest the Bank vs. Credit Union debate (at least in water ounces).

Each organization received weekly coaching to help better their personal efforts in rethinking their drink, including the benefits of drinking water, how to begin drinking more water, and how to maintain this habit for good.

And the winner was... Bremer!

Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union had 101 participants who consumed a total of 231,219.5 ounces of water for an average consumption of 2,289 ounces. The daily average ounces drank among the group was 76 ounces.

Bremer Bank had 28 participants who consumed a total of 71,637 ounces of water for an average consumption of 2,558 ounces. The daily average ounces drank among the group was 85 ounces.

Employees had fun with the challenge, and are still talking about it. Many shared comments:

• "Loved the challenge as it made me more aware of how much water I should be drinking,"

• "The challenge was great and I couldn't believe how much better I felt drinking water vs soda,"

• "I can tell more people are drinking water as the water is not as cold in the water cooler because it is being used so much more!"

• "I didn't realize drinking water as much as I did would help me lose weight, added bonus."

The health and wellness efforts started by this initiative will continue to grow. Both organizations

received a $500 wellness grant from Crow Wing Energized. The grant supplied fitness supplies for their employees to utilize to be more physically active at work. In addition to the grant, both

organizations continue to encourage their wellness principles and plan for future physical activity challenges to engage their employees. Bremer has also held a few internal events this year, including hosting the Crow Wing Energized Lifestyle Change Class to address pre-diabetes, and currently a group of employees is doing a weight loss challenge.

Planning is currently in place for another Bank vs. Credit Union competition related to physical activity.

Health and wellness grants from Crow Wing Energized

Would you like to implement healthy change in your workplace?

Crow Wing Energized offers Workplace Wellness grants of up to $500 to support workplaces. Applications can be found at www.crowwingenergized.org/grants or by contacting Kalsey Stults at 218-828-7343 or Kalsey.stults@essentiahealth.org.

Crow Wing Energized is a grassroots community movement led by Essentia Health and Crow Wing County Community Services to improve health and wellness in the community by making healthy choices essential. In 2018, over $74,000 in grant funding was awarded to local schools, workplaces, and community partners who provided $210,000 of in-kind support to implement health and wellness initiatives.