Here's to Your Health: Wellness Front and Center in the Poconos
Hospitals chart the course for wellness across the Pocono Mountains
Don’t believe the wellness trend is here to stay? Here are some numbers to consider from Global Wellness Institute: The industry grew 12.8% from 2015-2017, to $4.2 trillion. And while personal care, beauty and anti-aging came in as the top sector ($1.1 billion), preventative and personalized medicine and public health ($575 million) doesn’t fall far behind.
Health care and hospitals in the Pocono Mountains region are tangible proof, sprinting with wellness initiatives and getting their patients up to speed with everything from mobile mammography to complimentary skin cancer screenings. Health systems in the region are taking a leading role in getting residents to take advantage of the great access they enjoy to the great outdoors on a regular basis.
Exhibit A: St. Luke’s University Health Network celebrated its fifth anniversary for the Get Your Tail on the Trail program in May 2019. The program is a collaboration between St. Luke’s and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor that encourages participants to make trail time quotidian and integral to living a healthy lifestyle.
The program has reached some impressive feats: Over 6,000 participants have collectively walked, hiked, run, biked and paddled more than 3 million miles. From a distant perspective, Earth’s equatorial circumference is about 24,901 miles.
An act locally, think globally approach has branched Tail on the Trail well beyond St. Luke’s Pennsylvania roots. In 2015, Tail on the Trail earned the Trails for Health Award from American Trails in Portland, Oregon. And just last year, its founders at St. Luke initiated a chapter program so that other regions can jump on the trail wagon and foster conscious community.
What’s best, participants can sign up as an individual or with the organization. Pro health tip: Consider bringing it into the workplace as a means of team- building, relaxation and fostering outside the box thinking. Don’t like to run solo? Fret not—plenty of events and challenges are a solid way to cross paths with like- minded individuals.
While St. Luke’s was an early wellness adopter, the hospital doesn’t stand alone.
At Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale, resident dietitian Barbara Pratt uses her three decades of nutritional and physiological expertise combined with the latest research findings to counsel patients to meet their health goals on a one-to-one basis.
“The beauty of individual counseling is that it’s not a one- size-fits-all but rather a precise fit for that individual,” says Pratt who recommends integrating the MIND diet as a lifestyle choice for most patients. “You can reduce chances of dementia or Alzheimer’s by 53%.”
The MIND diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diet encourages green, leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fish, beans and poultry.
Poconos Offer the Perfect Getaway During Every Season
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has a wealth of resources and holistic programming year- round to get patients taking steps toward optimal health. Case in point, First Strides is a workshop to get run-phobes simply walking. The 10-week spring and summer program focused specifically for beginner walker and runner women has mentors supporting novices through a gradual training program.
Sessions are led by local experts and cover all the running 101s and then some — think buying proper footwear, injury prevention, nutrition and cardiovascular activity. Before you know it, you may just be registering for your first 5K. Women aside, LVHN offers a monthlong interactive educational series every April for curiously inquisitive high schoolers, dubbed Mini Medical School. This year’s exploration included novel approaches in heart, cancer, surgery and pediatrics— with a light shined on future-pacing and inviting speculation for never before thought of ways to make being healthy even healthier.
Perhaps most impressive though is the first-in-the-region mobile mammography coach (as in a passenger motor coach) designed specifically for the Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute to give the many women of Eastern Pennsylvania who lack convenient access to mammography a way to get their annual screening.
For added cancer-prevention measures, LVHN offers free skin cancer screenings, plus four membership fitness centers peppered throughout town loaded with diverse programming and amenities to keep the body moving, mind strong and heart happy.