New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

January 18, 2012

Lori Brothers: Winter’s here; be sure to keep moving

NEW CASTLE — Last week, as usual, I parked my car in the lower parking lot at Jameson Hospital. We call it “The Pit.”

The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the temperature was unseasonably warm. I got out of the car I felt gratitude for the beautiful weather we were having. What a gift — right before winter dropped in on us.

The Jameson shuttle driver was making rounds and stopped to see if I wanted a ride. I said thanks, and told him I really wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather. I chose to walk to the building, which I choose to do most days.

However, I also told him I do appreciate the service on occasions when the weather is not so friendly. Jameson’s shuttle service has evolved out of the ED/OR construction project. The purpose of the shuttle is specifically to aide employees, patients and patrons, especially during inclement weather.

Believe me, there have been a few times when that ride was really appreciated with all the rain we had this fall. I also look forward to this great service now that winter has finally arrived.

It is really nice to have that kind of support. I tend to bring my lunch, so I’m usually juggling a bag of yummy stuff and my purse, and sometimes another bag of work-related stuff. So the “Jameson Taxi” can be a beautiful sight. It saves me from sloshing through puddles, or now that we’ve met the freezing mark, the ice and snow.

I figure, if I’m going to take the shuttle more in the winter, I better still have a movement-rich lifestyle to get me through the winter. Otherwise, the results can be weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Not enough exercise can also impact my mood. Yuck! No one enjoys feeling miserable.

This brings up a very important question for each of us during this time of year. How do you get enough exercise during winter months that can add up to good health? Consider these things you should know about exercise to help motivate you.

Moving your body more can boost your brain power and burn calories. I love being on the couch under a blankie with a warm cup of herbal tea when we get into that sub-zero weather. t’s the kind of bone chilling, wind howling weather we all kid ourselves that maybe we’ll dodge this year — until it hits.

Have you noticed that sometimes you’re not as clear in your thinking after a weekend of hibernating? Do you feel sluggish? That’s because the human body is meant to move! Try getting some more activity. The simple activities of daily living such as bagging your own groceries at the check out, walking to the mailbox, or taking the dog out for a walk can actually add up to better health as you stimulate all of your systems.

Especially during these hibernation-inducing months, committing to little choices to move your body to balance more inactivity, you burn calories and release serotonin which is very important to brain function.

There is research that shows that active people get fewers colds. Moving more in your day can even relieve or curb certain symptoms such as PMS. Exercise and regular movement also decreases stomach bloating, fluid retention and promotes weight loss.

During the winter I have an exercise DVD that I like to use at home. I hope you do, too. I also make sure I get up during commercials, if I am watching television, to put the towels in the dryer. I run the dog out to the fire hydrant. I run the sweeper. I also do the dishes in the sink while I listen to the news.

We had a gentleman with diabetes participating in our program who had joint problems. He made an action plan for the winter to get into water therapy. He was going to ask his doctor for a prescription just to have a plan with structure in order to make sure he didn’t just sit. What will be your action plan?

This is worth thinking about. Then, move into action. Little bits here and there add up to calories burned and keep your systems from going into “sleep mode” which puts you at risk for illness.

FYI: The shuttle service at Jameson is scheduled to operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. The shuttle was donated to the hospital by Jameson Place and is  marked “Resident Shuttle Service.” The shuttle driver may also be contacted directly to pick up patients in the lots for main entrance drop-off and also to return guests to their vehicles.

For more information about the shuttle service please call (724) 730-4487.

(Lori Brothers is the Director of the Dean Ornish Program For Reversing Heart Disease at Jameson Hospital.)

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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