• Aiming for wellness, fitness in new year

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    It’s 2018, the holidays are over and often what’s left is the desire to get back in shape and generally live a healthier life. Fort Leavenworth offers several opportunities for people who want to learn more about how to implement healthier options, no matter what the goals.
    Nutrition
    Munson Army Health Center offers several opportunities to learn about healthier habits. MAHC Registered and Licensed Dietitian Marcy Sedwick said keeping a balanced diet is key.
    “If you want to have optimal health and good exercise ability, you have to fuel up with the right food — nice healthy food from all the five food groups,” Sedwick said. “It will help you perform your exercise better, prevent injury, heal, (and) give nutrients that will help with all the systems in your body, stronger bones, (and) stronger muscles.”
    Sedwick said fad diets are not the right way to go about getting healthier.
    “No one plan fits everybody. You want a food plan that you can sustain over a long time. The extreme diets, a lot of people are miserable. They have more headaches, they get cranky, (and) they’re not happy. We should get some joy from eating a delicious meal and getting the right portions,” she said.
    Sedwick suggested setting realistic health goals using the SMART principle — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
    “A realistic obtainable goal could help in your daily routine,” she said. “Consistency is the key.”
    To set up a nutrition consultation with Sedwick, call 684-6523.
    The Wellness for Life program started at MAHC two years ago as a program to help patients who are looking to lose weight.
    “It’s a newer initiative where a patient can focus just on wellness,” Sedwick said. “When they’re healthy and they’re ready to make some lifestyle changes, they can make a wellness appointment. We’re committed to helping people get to a healthier weight and have less medical problems and live a better life.”
    Along with education on nutrition and the Wellness for Life program, MAHC also offers free Fit for Performance classes from 2:30-4 p.m. Tuesdays in the videoteleconference room on the first floor of MAHC for soldiers, TRICARE beneficiaries and Department of the Army civilians interested in reducing weight and body fat. Each session is six classes with a new series starting every two months. To participate in the classes or set up a wellness appointment, call 684-6250.
    Smoking cessation
    Creating a healthier lifestyle doesn’t always mean eating differently or getting in shape. For many, it’s the decision to quit smoking. Smoking creates a higher risk of lung and upper respiratory issues, including lung cancer and chronic coughing, said Lee Hutchison, MAHC public health nurse.
    Page 2 of 3 - While a patient who wants to quit smoking needs to visit a primary care provider for helpful medications, Hutchison offers weekly coaching for extra support.
    “They come in for four weeks, once every week and just touch base with me and we go over some things that help them not have the cravings, like chewing gum or putting a piece of candy in their mouth because it’s an oral sensation,” she said.
    Hutchison said no matter how long a patient has smoked, quitting will still improve overall health.
    “If you have chronic issues or respiratory issues it doesn’t mean that those might go away, but they will definitely get better,” she said. “It’s difficult because it’s a habit. If you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up about it. They’re there; they’re trying.”
    To schedule an appointment with Hutchison, call 684-6528.
    Education
    Along with eating a balanced diet, educating oneself on ways to keep up a healthy lifestyle is important. The Army Wellness Center in Eisenhower Hall, 250 Gibbon Ave., offers several free classes for retirees, DA civilians, active-duty military, spouses and dependents.
    Classes include ways to improve metabolism, making healthy meals at home in a short amount of time, staying fit, achieving healthier sleeping habits, managing stress and tips on how to stay healthy after retirement.
    “For resiliency and readiness, we like to focus on healthy sleep habits, healthy nutrition and physical activity just to help soldiers remain resilient and healthy. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity,” said Khalaa Rasheed, health promotions technician at the Army Wellness Center. “A lot of these soldiers have high stress level jobs, so teaching them how to handle their stress can help reduce the number of suicide attempts and overall become a better soldier. Studies show that managing stress can improve our mental, emotional and physical well-being.”
    For more information about classes or to make an appointment, call (913) 758-3403.
    Fitness
    Fort Leavenworth offers many opportunities to participate in regular workout routines. Harney Sports Complex, 185 4th St., and Gruber Fitness Center, 200 Reynolds Ave., are open to all active-duty service members, spouses, dependents, contractors and DA civilians and offer weekly classes ranging from cycling to body pump to water aerobics to yoga.
    Classes are $3.50 per class, $30 for 10 classes or $40 for an unlimited 30-day pass. All classes are free for active-duty military.
    “Find something you enjoy doing. If you don’t like doing something, it doesn’t matter how many days a week you come in or how much time you’re spending,” said Matthew Price, gym, sports and aquatics manager. “Coming in and doing something that you enjoy is going to make you want to come in.”
    Page 3 of 3 - To help customers find a class that works for them, the gym offers a free session of each class to try before payment is expected.
    “The biggest thing is just to walk through those doors and stay consistent. There’s going to be days where you’re sore, or where you don’t feel like coming in here or it’s super cold out. The important thing is to make that effort to come to the gym regardless,” Price said.
    Unified School District 207 just completed major steps to reinforce fitness to its teachers and staff with the completion of workout facilities at Bradley and Eisenhower elementary schools.
    “The workout facilities support the district’s wellness program and also has a positive impact on our overall medical insurance rates,” said Rich Holden, chief financial officer of USD 207.
    Bradley Elementary Principal Michaela Culkin said the facility has been a good outlet for teachers and staff.
    “As educators, we typically spend a good amount of time doing for others. The convenience of a workout facility at our school gives us the opportunity to make regular workouts a habit and help relieve the stressors of any given day,” Culkin said. “When staff members use the workout facility, it continues to model the importance of healthy habits to our students.”
    Price and Rasheed agreed that all of the different aspects of health and nutrition work together to create a more balanced, healthier life.
    “Proper nutrition is going to be the biggest role more than exercise,” Price said. “If you’re trying to make any body type changes, what you eat, what you consume is going to have the biggest effect. If you sprint on a treadmill for an hour then go over to McDonald’s afterward, you cancel everything out.”
    “A person that stressed is either going to have bad sleeping habits and/or bad eating habits,” Rasheed said. “In essence, it all goes hand in hand. If our body is on a schedule, it helps with our weight management as well.”
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