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Ziebert: Top Mile Walk for Life Coordinator Shares How it Works in Waukesha

Richard Ziebert rode his bike 18 miles up Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains in Washington state last summer.  
Richard Ziebert encouraged his Waukesha church family to be involved in Walk for Life in 2014, and they walked 10,665.5 miles! That's more miles than any other church in the Wisconsin Conference.

WFL: What did you do as a church Walk for Life coordinator that helped motivate people?

Richard Ziebert: One of the biggest factors was adding a weekly Health Highlight before church service. I could keep exercise tips and positive stories in front of them. That helps put exercise on their to-do lists. The equivalency mile chart is a great tool also. It converts their other activities into miles for them.

WFL: How do members accumulate miles?

Richard Ziebert: Walk, run, lift weights, shovel snow, rake leaves, canoe, garden, join  a YMCA . . . any activity counts for miles.
WFL: How do you collect their miles?

Richard Ziebert: I put a big vinyl chart in the church hall with name and date columns. Each Sabbath members can post their miles. Simple addition and I have the totals. I remind them to record their miles each week during the Health Highlight time.

WFL: How did you become a WFL leader?

Richard Ziebert: Someone told me at a CHIP meeting that I had inspired them to walk more. Wow, I sensed the LORD speaking. When Walk for Life came along I knew who was placing it in front of me, and volunteered.

WFL: Why is the Walk for Life program worth spending your time promoting?

Richard Ziebert: Taking care of ourselves is one of the cornerstones of our Adventist beliefs, and it’s something we can all do. The body the Lord provided us is a miracle, but it doesn’t take care of itself.

Exercise Made a Huge Difference for Dale


Dale Hilt (second from right) and his wife Sharon (far right), with friends after running a marathon. Dale and Sharon are members of the Southside Company.

We've always been pretty active. That's why it was so hard when a year ago I came to the place I couldn't walk more than a few feet. I was suffering from atrial fibrillation, stage 4 kidney disease, high blood pressure, drop-foot, and back pain from a ruptured disc and a surgery gone bad. I was fast becoming a couch potato.

One day in March, 2014, when I was suffering from this huge pain going down my leg into my feet,  I said to my wife, "Let's see if we can train and do the Hallelujah Hustle at camp meeting." So, a step at a time with my leg in a brace, I started.  By camp meeting, I was able to compete the 5K Hustle! Since then I run every other day and have completed several 5K runs.

Now my kidney disease is down to a stage 1, I had a procedure done and my atrial fibrillation is gone, my back pain is manageable, my blood pressure is under control, I lost 30 pounds, and my medications are cut by two-thirds. I'm not going to say running cured it all, but it certainly helped. It would have been easy to just become a couch potato, but I hated to, and I'm glad I didn't.

My wife, Sharon, runs too. We run 3-4 miles, 3-4 times per week. On days I don't run, I like to ride my bike. Sharon spends about eight hours a day working in our large garden. She makes sure we have a great diet, growing our own food and cooking everything from scratch. In the last marathon we ran, she took first place in her age group.

As I look back, I would never have guessed I could have come this far in a year. If anyone is suffering from high blood pressure and overweight, exercise is an easy free way to get your body on the mend and minimize medication.

Walk for Life Participants Seek Added Health Benefits


Mary Mandujano Guifarro,
member of the Waukesha
Church, jumps rope as a part of her exercise plan.

After the Walk for Life program ended, several of us ladies in the church wanted to continue an active lifestyle and lose some weight. Although I never finished my personal training degree because of my second baby, I have a good amount of understanding on nutrition and exercise and thought I could lead out a small group on my own.

The 80/20 rule in the fitness world indicates that 80% of weight-loss success is based on what & how much of the right food you eat and 20% accounts for steady exercise. Two ladies of my group (and myself) are CHIP alumni so we understand the health concept stemming from Adventist health education. We are currently incorporating the CHIP way into our group (big meals at breakfast, large lunch and small dinner).

Eight to ten of us ladies meet every other Sunday evening for two hours and discuss fitness articles, count calories & protein/carb/fat ratios, portion control, Ellen White, FDA leniency, busy schedules, barriers we face, and share juicing demos. We are aiming to lose 1-2 pounds by every meeting now through Thanksgiving.
In the final days of this earth's history, Ellen White specifies that God's chosen people will need to harness self control in order to have clear minds and good judgment. (Especially pertaining to meat eating - chapter 28 Health Principles/5) We are aiming for that. We know we are living in the final days and want our lives to be walking witness of the health message.  

This has all been an inspiration stemming from the Walk for Life program.

"I Love the Walk for Life Program"


Andrea Endries, member of the Waukesha  Church, is a personal fitness trainer.

I am 24 years old and I have considered myself an Adventist for about the last eight years. I have heard lots of amazing things regarding the health message from my church throughout the years, but just recently have I heard exercise addressed, and lived.

I am a personal trainer and I have always loved being in good physical condition. I was, quite honestly, getting really frustrated with some who talked about vegetarian eating and staying away from sugar, when my meat eating, low-temperance living friends were able to actively do much more than my Adventist friends. What was the difference? Activity level and exercise!
Those who condition their bodies, and have strong, athletic muscles and hearts are much better off than those who simply eat healthy. Therefore, as Christians who claim our bodies are the temple of the Lord, we should have the greatest, most vibrant bodies and minds of anyone! We should both eat healthy and exercise! They go together and they are inseparable for the person who desires full health.

I love that the Walk for Life program addresses the gapping hole that lack of exercise has made in our church. The program encourages walking to begin with, but it gives points/miles for all sorts of exercise. You could be running, biking, horseback riding, hiking, lifting weights, or playing sports...The options are endless and the effect is fantastic!!

As a personal trainer, I have found that people need to be held accountable. This program allows church family to check up on each other and to make discourse about physical fitness available to everyone. I am always in support of healthier people, and Richard, our church Walk for Life coordinater has made some level of fitness accessible and fun for everyone!

The Motivation I Needed


Thom Foll preparing for a half marathon. Thom is owner of Jasmine Design Group, and lay-pastor of the Watertown Church.
In college I got into running as a sport, and was quite competitive. I even ran in marathons. But as I got older I seemed to put less and less time into running.

Walk for Life has been a blessing because it has motivated me to get back into running and other activities on a consistent basis. In fact, in a few weeks I'm running a half marathon in Whitewater, Wisconsin, which I haven't done in over 30 years.

Another blessing is that while I was real competitive before, Walk for Life helps me now focus on the miles, time, and being consistent. I'm not going out and trying to set a personal record every time. 

I made a full-year spreadsheet chart to record my miles each day. I like that I can see my year at a glance and see what I've accomplished.

This program has given me a lot of motivation to be healthy. I'm 58 and thankful to God that I can still get out and be active.


"It's Me that Comes Out the Winner"


Elaine D'Amore is a member of the Waukesha Church.  
I was never an exercise person when I was younger, because I always had lots of work to do. If the yard needed raked, I raked it. If the snow needed shoveled, I shoveled it. Also, my husband and I worked in the restaurant business and I got lots of exercise washing dishes and waiting on tables.

Now a widow at age 73, I still think it is beneficial to think of your life as busy and productive. I still rake the yard and shovel snow off the driveway.  My neighbors notice I'm outside working a lot, and I believe they get a certain amount of inspiration from my example. I am also old enough to join the "Silver Sneakers" exercise class at the "Y." There are a lot of people who go there, and it is fun.

Exercise is a really good thing to do. I think it is great to get outside in the fresh air to clean out your lungs, and soak up vitamin D in the sun. It keeps my mind bright, I sleep better, and no matter how I look at exercise, it's me that comes out the winner!

Often I attend my granddaughter's swim meets with my daughter. The people there are all a lot younger than me, and they notice I'm able to manage the stairs and step over bleachers like the rest of them. They call be "grandma," and everybody there knows I'm a vegetarian. At one swim meet in Indiana we went so many places we ended up walking 10 miles . . . and I was in flip-flops! Other than some blisters on my feet, I did fine, and I felt honored to know my daughter felt I was up to it.

I would say to us as Christians, be active, be involved, and enjoy the adventure of it all!

"I'm Still Moving!"


Virgil Erickson lives in Adams/Friendship, WI, and is a member of the Wisconsin Rapids Church.  
I used to enjoy jogging, and have run in three marathons. While I am too old for that now, I am still moving! I ride my bike, split wood, and take my 12-year-old dog, Jake, for daily walks. There is a nice four-mile country road block around my house that makes a good place to walk. Rush hour is a car or a pick-up cruising by.

I find when I am walking it is a excellent time to talk to the Lord. Walking don’t require a lot of concentration and if you have problems (who doesn't) you can give your attention to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and hear the solution to your problems.

Some times I also pray for my neighbors as I walk by. I also wave at any people and now most have gotten used to it and wave back. Some even stop to say hello and ask how everything is going, which gives me a chance to talk to them about what ever the Lord impresses me to say. Who knows what interesting situations might develop. 

I've never written my miles down before, but I do now and turn them in at church. Sometime I would like to get involved in the 5K Halleluiah Hustle at camp meeting.

"A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be Fun"


Keith Hatcher participating in the Ironman triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin. He is a member of the Madison East Church.
Keith Hatcher, principal of Three Angels Adventist Elementary School, and a Walk for Life participant, completed the Ironman triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin, on September 11, 2011. This race demands a continuous 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run be completed in under 17 hours. “I try to show my students that a healthy lifestyle can be fun,” said Hatcher, “although not everyone may think a 140 mile race is fun. Those three sports are my favorites.”

“When I first started training last January, the runs were cold and I biked on a trainer in the basement. As summer came, I swam a lot in a local lake and ran and biked outside. The training got tough as the summer wore on, as I included several 100-mile bike rides and three hour runs.

“When I was younger I competed in swimming and running races. After I got married and life got going, I didn’t do very much of that. When we moved to Madison, we met several young couples in our church who had done the Ironman. They told me I could do one easily.  I had done triathlons for a few years and felt it was time for the ultimate race.

“It was incredible to be one of the 2,800 athletes.  My students and friends from church came to cheer me on. The last half of the run was the most painful part of the day. The crowd really helped me keep pushing. During that time I heard a friend yell, “You can do all things through Christ!” That was a big encouragement. I finished in 12 hours and 12 minutes. The spiritual parallels of a race like this are many.”

"It's A Regular Part of Our Lives Now"


Roberta Pratt is a member of the Rice Lake Church.  
Roberta Pratt credits Walk for Life as the major influence in her ability to lose over 100 pounds and gain control of her diabetes this past year.
“When I found out I was a diabetic, I knew I needed to change my diet and walk more,” said Pratt. “But I only walked occasionally. Then I joined Walk-for-Life. That helped me start walking regularly. The pounds began coming off, and my blood sugars came within a normal range without having to take shots anymore.”
Roberta and her husband, Wyatt, walk 30-35 miles each week. In nice weather, they walk around their neighborhood; in snow or rain they drive to the mall and walk, or simply walk around in their house. “We feel so much better if we walk every day,” said Roberta. “It’s a regular part of our lives now. We love it and encourage others to make exercise a regular part of their lives.”

Ashland Church Walks for Life


Part of the Ashland Church family who skiied and snowshoed as a part of Walk for Life.  
Ashland Church family takes to heart the walk around the world for exercise as 25 members take to snowshoes for a four-mile nature walk after church January 29th at the Visitor Center outside Ashland, Wisconsin.

Little ones from a couple of years old on mother’s back on up to 60 years old and over participated. God provided a beautiful eight-inch snow fall the night before, and a sunshiny calm day for this outdoor adventure. It was a blessing!


alking Works Wonders
Twila Hallock and Lexy ignore the cold, Twila is a member of the Hylandale church.  
When I heard about Walk for Life, I said, “This sounds fun!”

I have been walking for almost a year now, and have lost 50 pounds. I feel great when I walk, and every day I am amazed at the positive effect it has on my attitude.
I was diagnosed with diabetes, and knew I had to change my lifestyle. So I took my dog, Lexy, and started walking. It was winter, but I didn’t let the cold stop me. At first, I could only walk ½ mile a day, but soon I could go a mile. Now I walk three miles every day.

Lexy and I have covered 300 miles in the last 8 months, and I feel a whole lot better. Walking is well worth the effort!


No Couch Potato Lifestyle
Aileen King, member of the Wisconsin Academy Church, walks to work at the conferece office most days.  
Walking to work, parking in the far corners of parkings lots, taking the stairs, and shoveling snow give me daily exercise while making good use of my time. It's much easier for me to walk if I have somewhere to go, rather than walking simpy because I don't want to be a couch potato. It's become my lifestyle.  

I walk outside every day year round for several reasons. 

a. It's an easy, inexpensive way to get exercise,
b. I want to live a long, healthy, active life, and 
c. I like fresh air, sunshine, and seeing the neighborhood.


All stories are written personally or are written as told to Walk for Life staff.