One of Rochester’s greatest quality-of-place amenities is the access residents have to high-quality health care. Anchored by the Olmsted Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic’s flagship hospital, in 2016-17 named the top hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Rochester’s vast and varied health-care community has helped land the city on several lists of America’s healthiest cities.
In fact, Rochester won the top spot on Livability.com’s 2016 List of the Top 100 Best Places to Live partly because of the city’s attention to health and wellness.
“Rochester has a large population of health- and wellness-minded individuals – people who recognize the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles which includes being physically active. And we’re not just talking about health-care workers either. Rochester’s unique demographics in addition to our city itself makes being wellness-minded very easy,” says Ken Baerg, aquatics and fitness coordinator for 125 LIVE Center for Active Adults.
Fit at Every Age
Many fitness and wellness facilities here complement the traditional medical community. Some of these are the Rochester Area Family YMCA, Rochester Athletic Club, Northgate Health Club, Anytime Fitness, Crossfit Credence, CrossFit Progression, EDGE Fitness Inc, Pure Barre Rochester, Fitness Evolution, Planet Fitness, AM Fitness, Prairie Walls Climbin, Yoga Tribe, 9Round, Farrell's Extreme Body Shaping, OMC Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance Facility, Roca Climbing and Fitness, ShellyG Fitness and Studio on Third.
Another, 125 LIVE, focuses on the fitness and wellness of adults 50 and older, and hosts fitness classes designed specifically for older adults.
“We offer a very diverse program guide that covers the entire spectrum of wellness. We host classes for all levels of fitness and incorporate social and cognitive programs into our offerings too,” Baerg says. “Fitness programs not only have a positive impact on physical well-being, but they also affect mood and cognition. Being physically active in a meaningful way has the power to change someone’s mental outlook.”
Baerg says Rochester’s fitness and wellness community works in tandem with traditional medicine. In fact, 125 LIVE works with the Mayo Clinic on several programs, including a fall risk and prevention course and a nutrition program.
“In the end we all have the same goal – to improve the quality of life of the participating individual. Fitness programs can complement traditional medicine by acting as a form of preventative medicine, helping people stave off serious preventable illnesses or improving the outcomes of non-preventable illnesses. The stronger you are going into a procedure, the stronger you’ll be coming out,” Baerg says.
Healing from the Inside Out
That is a sentiment shared by Rochester’s holistic health-care community. The city has many chiropractors who address chronic pain and injury to help patients achieve overall health and wellness.
Likewise, such establishments as Hermitage Farm Center for Healing, Rochester Clinic, Lilac Wellness Center, Bickford Meditation, Healing Rhythms Music Therapy LLC, Shiatsu Wishing Well, Autoimmune Angels, MedCity Doulas and WellSpring Acupuncture Clinic, use massage therapy, guided imagery, aromatherapy, meditation and other holistic treatments to help clients achieve optimal physical and mental health.
“More and more studies are coming out that are talking about the health benefits of yoga and meditation,” says Heather Ritenour-Sampson, owner of Yoga Tribe MN yoga studio. “You go to your doctor when you don't feel good and when you're sick or injured. Oftentimes, there's a psychological or emotional component to your illness as well. Yoga can help with stress relief, and meditation can help with calming the mind. For those who are going to the doctor because they've been injured, yoga is a fantastic way to help them rehabilitate after surgery or injury.”
Ritenour-Sampson says mental health and wellness play a major role in Rochester’s “healthiest city” rankings.
“You go to the doctor, and they run a bunch of tests and tell you you're okay. That's one form of healthy,” she says. “The other form of healthy, which is where I'm coming from, is when you wake up in the morning, you have a sense of hope and excitement about your day. I'm talking about the health that comes from being able to fall asleep at night or from doing work that fulfills you or from feeling a deep connection in your relationships.”