Lessons in healthy living at Wellness Day

More than 600 people paraded through Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine for the annual Anoka-Hennepin Community Education Wellness Day Jan. 25.

A variety of classes, speakers and vendors were on site for the event.

Sisters Isabelle, 7, left, and Caelyn Roy, 9, search for glittery fabric to adorn their water bottle poi crafts in a session called Trash to Treasure at Anoka-Hennepin Community Education’s Wellness Day Jan. 25. Photos by Olivia Koester

Sisters Isabelle, 7, left, and Caelyn Roy, 9, search for glittery fabric to adorn their water bottle poi crafts in a session called Trash to Treasure at Anoka-Hennepin Community Education’s Wellness Day Jan. 25. Photos by Olivia Koester

Families got their heart rates up in the lower gym, where they could participate in half-hour fitness classes, everything from Tabata to breakdancing.

Scuba diving also kept participants active. Mark Dugger led 13 beginners on dives in the Roosevelt pool.

An afternoon Trash to Treasure class, led by Mr. Fun of Funtime Funktions, a St. Paul-based company, had students creating water bottle poi from recycled materials. Students weighed down plastic water bottles with sand and attached fabric to the end. Poi can be juggled and twirled in geometric patterns.

Sisters Caelyn, 9, and Isabelle Roy, 7, scoured the pile of fabric for anything that sparkled.

“I’m sassy and I like fancies,” Isabelle said as she assembled her poi.

Anoka-Hennepin Chef Supervisor Jeff Chounard led two Wrap It Up classes. Avocado wraps were on the menu.

Although Aaron Tong, 7, doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking, he took his place at the counter and sprinkled ingredients dutifully on his tortilla.

The avocado wrap is served regularly in cafeterias across the district. It’s vegetarian, but it has necessary protein for students in cheese, hummus and sunflower seeds, Chounard said.

Author Kristen Brown and reality show contestant O’Neal Hampton, Jr. addressed crowds Saturday.

Brown is the bestselling author of “The Happy Hour Effect,” a book that outlines 12 “secrets” to help people become stress free.

After losing 159 pounds on NBC’s hit show “The Biggest Loser,” Hampton told Wellness Day attendees that his journey didn’t really begin until he was voted off of the program. Anyone can lose weight in the show’s environment, where one has access to nutritionists, psychiatrists, trainers, etc, he said. Hampton worked out for six to eight hours, six days each week. Back home in Minnesota, he doesn’t have time for that kind of a regimen, so it’s tough, he said.

To become fit, Hampton encouraged his audience to start small and start today. “Monday will never get here. After-the-holidays will never get here. New Year’s will never get here,” he said, listing common not-now-but-thens people apply to diet and exercise.

In the cafeteria, 35 vendors set up shop, offering information, cholesterol and blood sugar readings, massages and more.

Wellness Day concluded with free open swim and the premiere of a new Wibit inflatable obstacle course set up in the pool’s deep end.

The obstacle course is designed for strong swimmers who are seven or older.

The course will be set up most Saturdays during open swim, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. For exact dates and open swim pricing, visit the Anoka-Hennepin Community Education Facebook page or website.

Olivia Koester is at olivia.koester@ecm-inc.com

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