Emory Report

January 19, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 16

Winter months an excellent time for health and fitness, says Hodge

Winter months carry lots of opportunity for inactivity, can draw attention away from nutrition and can skyrocket stress levels. So just what options are out there for keeping healthy? At Emory, employees can receive information through the Emory Employee Assistance and Wellness Program at the Emory Well House.

EEAP and the Well House, while providing professional consulting and counseling services, have introduced many innovative answers to concerns about staying healthy and well. According to Yvonne Hodge, occupational health promotion manager, collaboration with various departments and schools on campus helps the Well House bring health and fitness issues to the entire Emory community.

"An important aspect of my role is to help people take an active and personal approach to being healthy and safe through self responsibility," Hodge said. "Wellness is taking control of your life and taking advantage of Emory's resources to discover what you and Emory can do together to improve health and safety where you work, where you live and where you play."

Madge Donnellan, associate professor in the school of nursing, offers health risk assessments and counseling on healthy lifestyles and health self-management. "A wellness lifestyle needs to be balanced, with attention to all dimensions of health," she said. "After evaluating where you are now and where you would like to be, starting with a systematic approach and realistic, achievable, short-term goals is usually most effective."

Since many respiratory ailments appear in wintertime, it's a good time to stop smoking. "There has been a decrease in smoking at Emory because there are no smoking areas and there is no cigarette selling on campus," said Hodge. Smoking cessation programs, coordinated by the Well House in conjunction with Crawford Long Hospital, began in January. The seven-week, eight session classes inform participants how to "kick some butts."

Drops in temperature often bring rises in weight and non-nutritious eating. To avoid this trap, rules of thumb include keeping the body hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruits and vegetables. In party or group settings, watching what you eat, and how much, can pay off health-wise instead of weight-wise. But for those who feel the holiday eating bonanza stays with them a little too long, help can be found. Weight Watchers programs are held weekly on campus during the year. The first 10-week session kicked off Jan. 7.

Staying physically active is a way to eliminate extra pounds gained during the winter season. Taking advantage of the P.E. Center or Blomeyer Health Fitness Center offers opportunities to use state-of-the-art fitness equipment or take part in exercise, Tai Chi or body-sculpting classes. Besides heading to the gym, a daily workout may be closer than you think.

Building stairways afford employees an excellent and free way to battle inactivity. The Well House has posted signs near elevators and stairwells to encourage people to "step up to health." The idea is simple--instead of taking the elevator every day, simply climb the stairs.

If the weather is agreeable, Emory Apple Walks are another option. The Footpaths to Wellness program includes established paths including travel up and down Clifton Road, treks around the Quad or walking through Lullwater. Other paths are being mapped out. The Well House also loans pedometers to measure distances for those who want to "do their own thing."

The Well House, in collaboration with Blomeyer, is currently offering classes every second Monday of the month to certify Apple walking instructors to lead walking clubs. "The walking clubs will be small, about six to eight people, with the instructors providing information on how to check your heart rate, proper posture for walking, shoes, safety and training in CPR," Hodge said.

For more information on Well House offerings, contact 404-727-WELL; for services offered through EEAP, contact 404-727-EEAP.

--Stephanie Scott

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