Fitness in #NWARK and setting overall health goals with #BalanceRewards at Walgreens

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The trails at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art provides a unique and exquisite opportunity in Northwest Arkansas for fitness including biking, walking, and running. Leashed dogs are welcome.

 

In recent weeks I’ve talked a lot about various wellness concepts including taking healthy breaks from work to rejuvenate during the day, and staying hydrated. Today I want to talk about a way you can track your health goals using the Walgreens Balance Rewards for healthy choices program. Fortunately, between fitness opportunities in Northwest Arkansas and the health monitoring devices available at places like Walgreens, it’s easier to meet wellness goals. (Want to learn more about fitness in other areas? Follow the hashtag #BalanceRewards and #CollectiveBias to find messages from my fellow bloggers in other regions.)

#NorthwestArkansas abounds with fitness opportunities

I want to introduce you to a website that some may not know about called EnergizeNWA.org.

From their About page:

EnergizeNWA is a community-led movement focused on making the healthy choice the easy, safe, affordable and accessible choice for everyone in Northwest Arkansas. 

The website offers information about getting physically fit and also nutrition with specific resources and information about how to accomplish both in Northwest Arkansas.

Today let’s focus on fitness opportunities in Northwest Arkansas and boy, there’s a lot! We have the traditional gyms with lots of variations including World’s Gym, Curves for Women and Planet Fitness. We also have a growing number of independent Zumba, aerobics, yoga and types of fitness studios.

Many parks in Northwest Arkansas have athletic fields. Just in this picture of Walker Park in Fayetteville you can see a basketball court, tennis court and softball fields (background). Leagues for many sports including even kickball are popular in the region.
Many parks in Northwest Arkansas have athletic fields. Just in this picture of Walker Park in Fayetteville you can see a basketball court, tennis court and softball fields (background). Leagues for many sports including even kickball are popular in the region.

Waterways and trails in Northwest Arkansas

There’s two ways that Northwest Arkansas really shines, however: Our waterways and our trails systems. These pathways are beautiful and great for the mind, body and soul.

This is a tributary of the White River. We have several rivers in Northwest Arkansas that are great for canoes and some even boating. We also have Beaver Lake, which is a glorious spot for boating, fishing and swimming.
This is a tributary of the White River. We have several rivers in Northwest Arkansas that are great for canoes and some even boating. We also have Beaver Lake, which is a glorious spot for boating, fishing and swimming.

Northwest Arkansas has a new attraction in the Siloam Springs Kayak Park, which is a white water kayak/canoe experience.

 

Northwest Arkansas is also rich with trails systems. We have both hard top and soft trails that are perfect for off-road biking Several cities have established trails systems and  a massive, multi-city trail system called the Razorback Greenway is almost done. NWA has about 200 miles worth of trails. If you like the challenge of mud and rough terrain, we have that. If you want easier, paved and less hilly pathways, we have that too.

This is a screen shot from the NWA Trails website. It shows the Razorback Greenway.
This is a screen shot from the NWA Trails website. It shows the Razorback Greenway.

You might notice the the Razorback Greenway goes through towns. That means the trails, in some ways, share roadways with cars. The cities take great care create a safe environment for all people using the trails.

This trail crossing is well marked as it takes the trail across a busy street in south Fayetteville.
This trail crossing is well-marked as it takes the trail across a busy street in south Fayetteville.

 

Responsibility for safety also lies with the person using the trail system. Stay in well-lit areas and obey traffic signals and directions. They are there for a reason.
Responsibility for safety also lies with the person using the trail system. Stay in well-lit areas and obey traffic signals and directions. They are there for a reason.

 

The paths are well-lit but also gorgeous. NWA has trees and other foliage. The trails are hard top but otherwise the bridges and other components are built to fit into the landscape.
The paths are well-lit but also gorgeous. NWA has trees and other foliage. The trails are hard top but otherwise the bridges and other components are built to fit into the landscape.

 

Earning #BalanceRewards for your fitness goals

I will admit that the first time I heard about this feature in the Walgreens app, I kind of ignored it. Who wants to track their fitness and other health management stuff? It’s just a way of showing you where you fail, right? Not at all. When I started checking it out, I realized that the Balance Rewards for healthy choices program was pretty cool. It isn’t a “why didn’t you exercise or check your blood sugar today” kind of accountability. Instead, you can set goals and you get points for just about everything you do. These Balance Rewards program points are the same that you can get in the store and you can reimburse them in the store!

The app (you can do the same program on the Walgreens website) lets you track pounds lost or gained, physical activity (it lets you add your own so I call mine "wheeling), pulse-ox, blood pressure, sleep
The app (you can do the same program on the Walgreens website) lets you track pounds lost or gained, physical activity (it lets you add your own so I call mine “wheeling), pulse-ox, blood pressure, sleep, and blood glucose levels. I admit, I wish it had a place where we could track our water intake.

 

Walgreens has all the health monitoring and diabetes monitoring devices in one place.
Walgreens has all the health monitoring and diabetes management devices in one place.

 

If you have the right kind of device, you can link it to the app at this site so your points are awarded automatically. Or, you can be like me and enter everything manually.

Right now I'm just tracking wheeling/walking and my glucose levels.
Right now I’m just tracking wheeling/walking and my glucose levels.

I’ve not talked about this publicly really, but I’m planning to do a 5K with a friend in October. Nuts, right? I can barely do a mile right now and that’s with my dogs. But I have that goal and want to accomplish it. The idea came when the friend suggested it and I had started walking more with my dogs both for me and also to get some weight off Jazzy.

Me and the #smithpuppies need to step up our game and do more than a mile at a time!
Me and the #smithpuppies need to step up our game and do more than a mile at a time! They are jogging at a fast clip in this picture if the blur doesn’t tell you that already!

 

What do you do for fitness? Do you track your goals?

4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I need to get back on track with fitness. Love all the trails we have here, and the different types of trails. Wow, I didn’t know you could earn points for fitness…. that is very cool! I’m definitely going to have to check that out. Talk about motivation.

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