Many medical professionals run to relieve stress, focus their energy and prepare for the day ahead or shake off the day behind them all while improving fitness. Some folks ‘run to eat’, others ‘eat to run’, and maintain a healthy weight. Other people enjoy Zumba, jazz dance, aerobics, or stretch out with Pilates or relieve stress with boxing. For Juana, of Body by Juana, exercise is like magic. Juana lost 45 lbs and has helped countless other men and women get into shape; one client lost 80lbs from a high of 320.
Pomegranate Health Systems has a gym with opportunity for basket-ball, games, and there is a punching bag. Additionally, yoga and meditation exercises are offered as part of programming. There’s ping pong, an outdoor courtyard for volley ball & corn hole, and community outings -which include trips to the zoo and other Central Ohio locations. CPSTs and therapists often walk outdoors for one-on-one sessions with a teen in their care, or admin team members lace up their sneakers for a brisk lunch-time walk.
Often fitness is about feeling good. For Ross, weight training clears his mind and helps him feel energized. He started at age 12, and kept at it. Several Pomegranate team members joined a Weight Watchers group at Franklin County Children Service and managed to lose a significant amount of weight; a recent milestone for one, was 35 lbs. Neighboring LifeCare Alliance sponsors health, diet, and fitness workshops and offers many innovative programs on employee wellness and health screenings. The Pomegranate staff voiced their wishes in a wellness survey, with results shared by Lori, wellness nurse at the June all-staff meeting. Programming is under consideration now.
Exercise and mental health are linked. ‘Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. Exercise is especially important in patients with schizophrenia since these patients are already vulnerable to obesity and also because of the additional risk of weight gain associated with antipsychotic treatment, especially with the atypical antipsychotics,’ according to Ashish Sharma, MD, Vishal Madaan, MD and Frederick D. Petty MD, PhD in Exercise for Mental Health 2006; 8(2); 106 The Primary Care Companion To the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
The authors defined aerobic exercises as jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing which have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. They say that physical activity is often overlooked in the care of patients with mental and behavioral health disorders, and yet offers many benefits including improved sleep, stress relief, mood improvement, increased energy, weight reduction and cardiovascular benefits.
With Summit Academy coming on board by Fall, the educational offer at Pomegranate Health Systems also includes an additional physical component for residents. Summit offers therapeutic martial arts wherein, ‘Students participate in a non-combative, structured, physical activity which focuses on self-discipline and respect taught by a sensei (teacher). ‘
[Photo credit: author, Pomegranate Health Systems, gymnasium]