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Angela Nord: One year after "Around the World in 80 Days"

The LRH 2016 Community Health Challenge grand prize winner shares how she also "won her health back."

Angela Nord has no problem describing her past year.  "It's been a whirlwind!" says the 45-year-old teacher and mother of four from Fergus Falls.

Last April, Angela won the drawing for the grand prize in Lake Region Healthcare's  "Around the World in 80 Days" Community Health Challenge. The prize? A $3,500 travel voucher.  She and her husband, Lance, will travel to Jamaica in early 2017.

"It's our second honeymoon and we're just giddy," she says. "We've been dreaming about this trip."

Addressing health struggles  

Last January, when Angela joined the Challenge, she brought with her lessons learned from a difficult year. In 2015 she struggled with a recurring ankle injury, back pain and weight gain. She also had elevated cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

"I wasn't moving much and felt pretty unhealthy, but I didn't want to go to the doctor for something simple like a sprained ankle," she says.  A devout Christian, she prayed for help and encouragement, then opened herself to available resources. Help for her ankle and back issues came from several health professionals including a podiatrist, back specialist, chiropractor, a restorative yoga teacher and Lake Region Healthcare physical therapists.

"All played a vital role in helping me get healthier," says Angela. By the time the Challenge started, she had already taken baby-steps toward weight loss, regular exercise ... and confidence.

"I'm a self-conscious exerciser, but Lois, my restorative yoga teacher, knew exactly what I needed," says Angela. "She took her time with me and kept saying, 'Do the best you can; don't compare yourself with others.' Those words stayed with me."

Tips for completing the Challenge

Early on, Angela figured out strategies to help her complete all 150 miles she pledged to exercise toward the Challenge.

  • Variety.  "I get bored easily," she says. "I knew I needed a variety of exercises to keep me going."  Walking, yoga, physical therapy, dancing, riding a recumbent bike -- all qualified. Angela faithfully tracked them, sometimes exercising as many as five times a week.
  • Family involvement. "Lance and our four children -- Josiah, Jeremiah, Faith and Hope -- all cheered me on. I loved it!" she says. Faith and Hope also exercised with her, boosting her motivation.   
  • Accountability.  "If I'm accountable to someone, whether it's a teacher, a physical therapist, or a walking partner, I'm far more likely to exercise," says Angela.

By the end of the Challenge, Angela had logged 186 miles. She lost more than 25 pounds and significantly decreased her cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

 "I felt stronger, healthier and more energized than I had in years. That would've been reward enough, but then I won the trip," she says. "Best of all, I won my life back!"

Exercising after the Challenge

After a jam-packed summer, Angela realized she'd been putting exercise on the back burner. She took action. She now wears an activity tracker, she's cut back on added sugar and carbohydrates, and she started scheduling exercise again, just as she did in the Challenge.

"Today is a new day," she says. "I know what it takes to be successful."

You're invited to "Shoot for the Moon"

Excited about their trip to Jamaica in 2017, the Nords look forward to another journey, too. "Shoot for the Moon," the next Community Health Challenge, begins Jan. 9. "We're already encouraging our friends and family to sign up," says Angela.

Lake Region Healthcare invites everyone to join in the 2017 Challenge. It's free and open to the public.  For more information, click here or call 218.736.8193.

"It feels so good to live in a community that cares about your health," says Angela. "I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to do something good for yourself."

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