Sanford Vermillion employees ‘walk’ to Afghanistan

Employees at Sanford Vermillion are not only committed to improving the human condition, they are also committed to improving their own physical condition. Recently, 81 employees at Sanford Vermillion took part in the Sanford Vermillion Poker Challenge. This six-week fitness challenge encouraged employees to increase their physical activity. The Poker Challenge has become a yearly event for staff. The theme of the challenge is "don't gamble with your health, roll the dice and get moving!"

The premise of the Poker Challenge is consistent participation through exercise during a period of six weeks. Employees formed teams and chose a simulated destination. Teams "traveled" roundtrip to Elk Point, Beresford, Sioux City, or Sioux Falls based on the intensity level they chose. Miles are logged through any form of physical activity that increases their heart rate such as running, walking, swimming, biking, etc. Each week, as teams report their miles they draw a card. At the end of six weeks the winning poker hand wins the challenge.

Teams have several opportunities to win bonus miles throughout the competition.  Employees have a lot of fun participating in this event and the rivalry atmosphere amongst teams keeps everyone motivated to exercise and reach or surpass their chosen destination. This format has also worked well to level the playing field for employees that vary in the intensity of their workouts.

The new twist this year involved an ultimate goal of achieving enough TOTAL miles by all participants to reach Afghanistan. This goal was inspired as a show of support of fellow employees and employee family members currently serving in the military in Afghanistan and around the world. The simulated trip is approximately 6,985 miles "as the crow flies." Initially, this may have seemed an impossible feat to accomplish in just six weeks. However, staff was truly inspired to reach that goal and impressively accumulated a total of 8,030 miles exercised during the six-week fitness challenge.

It is common knowledge that regular exercise supports physical and mental well-being. Exercise also reduces risks for developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The Wellness Department at Sanford Vermillion offers numerous fitness challenges and wellness programs for the staff and community throughout the year. The employees at Sanford Vermillion can proudly say they practice what they preach.

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