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"Shoot for the Moon" launches healthy change

At ages 69 and 72, Karen and Tom need health and vitality to carry out their active lives, including overseas mission trips, young grandchildren and their summer business. The LRH "Shoot for the Moon" community health challenge gave their weight loss goals accountability and a new perspective on overall health.

The drop in stamina caught their attention. For years Karen and Tom Prischmann of Fergus Falls had no problem setting up their booth at summer art-in-the-park events. But last year?

"The physical work of handling the two canopies and metal grids was so much harder," says Karen. "We realized it was because we'd gained weight. We needed to get serious about making a change or we wouldn't be able to continue our shows."

Owners of  "Reflections of Minnesota" and "Reflections of India," the Prischmanns sell handmade barn-wood frames, photos, jewelry and handbags. They started the business 11 years ago after retiring. 

Joining with the community     

The Prischmanns tried off and on to lose weight, but without much success. With the New Year, they resolved to walk 10 miles a day for one week in January ... and achieved it.  Susan Schlueter, a neighbor who works at Lake Region Healthcare, happened to be out walking at the same time. She invited them to join "Shoot for the Moon" – Lake Region's three-month community health challenge.

"I'd never heard of it, but it sounded like something I could do," says Karen." I liked the idea of measuring my walking and being accountable. Tom didn't join, but he still walked with me." The two have been married 48 years.

They changed their goal, too. Rather than weight loss, they focused on getting healthier. At ages 69 and 72, Karen and Tom need health and vitality to carry out their active lives, including overseas mission trips, young grandchildren and their summer business.

"Shoot for the Moon" ... from the ocean

Midway through "Shoot for the Moon," the Prischmanns took a month-long trip to South Padre Island, Texas.

"We made it a health vacation, with walking as our primary purpose," says Karen. "We didn't rent a car and only ate out twice. We walked for miles and miles and miles along the beach."

They fed their spirit, too, by getting involved in a local church and volunteering at a food shelf.

By April 14, when "Shoot for the Moon" ended, Karen had logged 779 miles on her activity tracker. "I could hardly believe it – an average of 8 miles a day for 90 days," she says. "Some days were harder than others, but somehow doing it daily and being accountable made a difference."

More than miles

Though the Prischmanns didn't focus on weight loss, it slowly happened. "I also noticed more energy and maybe even more optimism," says Karen. "I slept more deeply, too." Other results included:

  • Good medical checkups. "Dr. Anjali Gupta, my doctor at Lake Region, was thrilled to hear I was in the health challenge. After my recent physical, we both agreed I was healthy," says Karen. Tom got good news, too. His blood pressure improved and his doctor took him off two prescription medications.
  • Healthy habits. "It takes a while to get a habit going. 'Shoot for the Moon' was a good impetus," says Karen. "Even when summer gets busy, we're going to keep walking."

For the Prischmanns, summer will definitely get busy. They have 18 art-in the-park events scheduled in five states, plus two more grandchildren on the way: one to be born in August and a 6-year-old boy being adopted from India.

 Karen keeps it all in perspective. "Every day is a gift from God," she says. "There's no guarantee you're going to have a certain number of years, but every day you're alive – especially if you're healthy – be thankful."

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