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Fitness focused

American State Bank starts wellness program, sponsors Johnson’s 1K/5K race May 3

Sometimes, the healthier choice is easy to see. Fruits and vegetables instead of cookies and candy. Broiling food instead of deep frying it.

Sometimes, people need a little more help with overall healthy living, and that is one reason American State Bank is taking an initiative with offering its employees a wellness program.

“What I realized, in our bank, is we’re all getting older and we need to be more health conscious,” said Kevin Klemesrud, president and chief executive officer of American State Bank. “And, so, within that, we started an employee-directed effort and formed an employee committee to, basically, approach a wellness program within the bank.”

American State Bank, with locations in Osceola, Lamoni and Winterset, has the goal of being one of the best health-awareness employers in its markets.

Blue Zone

On Feb. 3, after several months of preparation, the bank implemented a new wellness program, which is patterned after the “Blue Zone Workplace” model that emphasizes body, mind and soul, in addition to diet and exercise.

Klemesrud said the Blue Zone effort focuses on how people live, their spiritualism and getting them moving naturally. One example of this is taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

“Just taking baby steps toward helping people think about being healthy,” Klemesrud said.

The Blue Zone program is employee-led with a wellness committee formed by co-chairs Melissa Short and Sidney Bethards.

Twenty-seven out of 40 employees have signed up for the wellness program.

In the beginning of implementing the wellness program, the bank started with an wellness assessment of the workplace and scored 30 out of 117.

Klemesrud said there was a lot of room for improvement.

American State Bank has committed $15,000 in its annual budget in wellness incentives. Each employee could earn up to $44 per month initially to use toward their monthly fitness investment.


Short and Bethards said the bank has been implementing:

• Three teams signing up for “Live Healthy Iowa,” with 22 out of 40 employees participating

• Teaming with Clarke County Hospital to do a biometrics screening

• Developing a fitness “punch card” program to help reimburse employees for fitness related items

• Motivational Monday messages to employees

• Offering wireless headsets to employees who spend a lot of time on the phone

• Creating walking routes near the bank

• Working on adopting a formal policy that supports employees volunteer activities within the community where they live, both during work and outside work hours

• Staff meeting presentations with success stories and motivational speakers

“This is coming from within our employee base,” Klemesrud said about the motivational Monday messages. “I really like it, because I can send out all the things in the world, but when it’s coming from within the bank, then it becomes part of our culture.”

Local 1K/5K

Since American State Bank is focused on fitness, they are sponsoring Shawn Johnson’s Elite Training’s (JET) first-ever 1K/5K Run, Walk for Education Saturday, May 3, in Osceola.

Johnson said he originally wanted the 1K/5K to be in conjunction with the end of Live Healthy Iowa 10-Week Wellness Challenge, especially since a lot of effort was made with getting elementary students involved.

Johnson is helping with morning workouts at the elementary school, and he said he wanted something fun to celebrate it.

“What I loved about the Live Healthy Iowa 1K, 5K, is that it was something for the kids to do,” Johnson said.

All proceeds from JET’s 1K/5K will go toward Clarke Community Elementary School.

According to Johnson, he wanted to help children make daily activities part of their lifestyles.

“Ultimately, my goal is to make the community a healthier community, and it really all starts when you’re a kid,” he said.

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