Want to make a change for better health?

Annual health and wellness summit Feb. 21 includes action plan for change.

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Breakout sessions at the annual Crow Wing Energized Health and Wellness Summit Friday, Feb. 21, include three areas, changing yourself, changing your organization and changing your community. Photo illustration by Metro Newspaper Service

Making a healthy change is a focus for the free, annual Crow Wing Energized Health and Wellness Summit 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter.

The “Change begins with you” summit’s keynote speaker Cindy Winters, Minneapolis Heart Institute. Winters is presenting lessons learned from the Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project, described an initiative to reduce heart attacks in the community.

Breakout sessions include three areas: changing yourself, changing your organization and changing your community. Participants may select two sessions to attend in each main category.

Breakout sessions on changing yourself include:

  • Strategic happiness planning — This training will give participants a definition of happiness, will discuss the benefits of “choosing happiness”, will assist participants in assessing their own happiness level, and will give practical guidelines for “how to” develop their personal happiness plan.

  • Simple and practical mindfulness — An introduction to the meaning of mindfulness and how you can use mindfulness techniques to be more present. This session will also explain how mindful practice can reduce stress levels, without requiring significant life changes to make it happen!

  • Incorporating active living in everyday life — Learn tips on how to incorporate active living into daily life, staying motivated, utilizing local activities for all seasons, and simple goals to achieve lifestyle changes.

  • Eating real food — Learn five tips for un-processing your diet and eat real whole foods and how it can be done both at home and on the go.

  • Making maturity your true season of joy — Topics covered include: Activity, amplifying relationships, adequate rest and sleep, stress reduction, fall prevention, increased dependency, and taking charge of your own health by practicing prevention and cultivating community connections.

The morning session will be followed by lunch and networking.
The afternoon breakout sessions for changing your organization include:


  • Helping you make the healthy choice the easy choice where you work — Learn and discuss helpful ways to keep your energy up at work, reducing your stress and increasing your productivity while improving your overall state of mind.

  • How to get people to care about your issue — During this interactive session, you will gain knowledge and ideas on how to effectively share your message to gather “buy in” from others.

  • Fighting sedentary sedation — Looking at creative ways to add movement to the work day. Sedentary jobs increased by 83% since 1950, the American Heart Association reports.

  • Overcoming barriers to change — Creating change at every level: individual, organization, and societal.

  • If culture eats strategy for breakfast, what should I feed it for lunch? How to turn an organization’s culture around, and what to do about those eye rolls.

The sessions on changing your community include:

  • Mental health community outreach — Learn what efforts are underway to reduce mental health stigma and partnerships to build connections and prevent suicide.

  • Food insecurity and healthy eating — Learn about efforts to fight food insecurity in Crow Wing County while also promoting healthy choices.

  • Working together for change: How do I start? This session will present a practical, easy to follow framework for creating change. Practical examples will be provided, with an interactive format to assure engagement and maximize learning.

  • Why should I get involved, AKA What’s in it for me? Learn how to break through the inertia and show that good deeds are indeed their own reward.

There is no cost to attend the summit, but registration is required. Lunch will be provided. Crow Wing Energized is a grassroots community engagement movement with partners of Crow Wing County, Essentia Health and the Statewide Health Improvement Program taking the lead.
The Association for Community Health Improvement reports the New Ulm project made greater improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol than nationwide trends, with increased fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity, along with increased aspirin use by those at the highest risk for heart attack.

Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project, a partnership between Allina Health and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, received the 2018 Heart Healthy Stroke Free Award from the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention.

Winters will highlight key components through storytelling, real-world examples and lessons from 10 years of experience working in New Ulm. Winters will also be part of presenting an action plan for change along with Karen Johnson, Crow Wing Energized program director, community health.

In highlighting the project in a Crow Wing Energized question and answer segment, Winters stated adults age 40-79 in New Ulm are doing better in controlling their blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides compared to residents in a comparison Minnesota community.

“In addition to the health outcomes some of the system and policy changes the community accomplished were the adoption of a Complete Streets policy, development of a Safe Routes to School program, and the creation of a restaurant recognition program highlighting healthy food options,” Winters said.

To register, go to .

Crow Wing Energized aims to help engage, equip, and empower community members throughout all ages to make the healthy choice the easy choice in and around Crow Wing County.



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