After a long and cold winter, spring is finally here, and many people are eager to get outside to exercise. Whether you’re looking to incorporate a brisk walk during your lunch break or prefer to start your day with a long-distance run, Allegheny Health Network primary care sports medicine physician Jared Ramsey, DO, shares advice on how to safely re-boot your spring workout routine.

Silver linings can be more than poetic fodder and pretty pictures. Studies suggest that people who maintain an optimistic outlook, even when life clouds up with adversity, tend to enjoy a higher quality of life than those whose glasses are half-empty.

Caring for plants yields more than beautiful flowers and tasty produce. As they plan, dig, prune and harvest, gardeners are cultivating better physical and mental health. It’s good news that interest in gardening surged during the pandemic. That trend may continue to bloom and bear fruit.

When one envisions a U.S National Park, their thoughts may take them west to Yosemite in California; Yellowstone in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho; or Rocky Mountain in Colorado. Those three are among the most popular national parks in the United States, but one does not need to travel across the country to observe the natural beauty, geological features and unique ecosystems, or to experience the numerous recreational opportunities a national park offers.

Yoga practitioners know that a daily dose of sun can help focus the mind, improve circulation and tone muscles. Now the face can get in on the action, as well, thanks to face yoga, an anti-aging exercise regime for the face.

Oatmeal, garlic, flax seeds, beans, almonds and apples — these foods may sound odd when grouped together, but for balancing cholesterol levels they are a recipe for successful health.

No matter what’s going on or where it might be going on, time is often of the essence when it comes to just about anything. The clock can be one of the biggest barriers to finding consistent routines, especially when it comes to exercising on a regular basis. But it doesn’t have to be. Check out how to squeeze in a quick yet still-effective workout that can generate real results, even if only 30 minutes are up for grabs.

“The pandemic has worsened stress, as boundaries between home and work have been blurred,” says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in Menlo Park, California. “Kids, pets, home life and other distractions now interfere with people’s attempts to work. The lack of social contacts or vacations to punctuate our lives have also added stress during COVID. Working remotely, through video visits and little in-person interaction has also significantly limited the multimodal ways we used to work — when we worked in person. For many, COVID had become Groundhog Day, with each day melting into the next, and this is hard.”

Yoga practitioners know that a daily dose of sun can help focus the mind, improve circulation and tone muscles. Now the face can get in on the action, as well, thanks to face yoga, an anti-aging exercise regime for the face.

Winter is the customary cold and flu season, and a time during which many people aren’t as vigilant about maintaining their health as they might be at other times of the year. This winter has the additional variable of the coronavirus pandemic, which surged into 2021 with a second wave of spread and infection.

Barbara Bell knows the importance of medical care and regular visits to the doctor, and why they’re vital for her during the pandemic. Bell, a retired teacher, has rheumatoid arthritis and takes medication that suppresses her immune system.

January is National Blood Donor Month, but there is never a bad time to be a blood donor and help save lives. Extreme winter weather in some parts of the country and seasonal illnesses often make it difficult for blood banks to maintain sufficient blood supplies during this time of year, so the American Red Cross urges healthy people to give now and encourage others to do the same. Without more donors, patients will not have the blood they need.

Whether it’s a cellphone, tablet, laptop or even a desktop computer, people are relying on their electronics now more than ever in the midst of the pandemic. As practically helpful as these devices are to connecting to family, paying bills and completing work tasks, are they as beneficial to the eyes?

A natural drug once seen as taboo by mainstream America may now be poised to help battle the country’s opioid crisis.

Getting a yearly physical in the middle of the deadliest pandemic in a century may seem low on the priority list, but keeping up with personal health in small ways throughout the year may save some trouble down the road.

Do you toss and turn at night? Do you often wake up feeling groggy and not quite ready to start your day. It could be your sleep environment; everything from the noise — or lack thereof — to décor, room temperature and the quality of your mattress could be disrupting your precious sleep time.

The holiday season is one that – even during the coronavirus pandemic – will be sure to include plenty of calorie-rich goodies.

With winter fast approaching, Troop Ben Gardner is expecting the unexpected, as he says all motorists should when there’s snow and ice on the roadways.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, has called on Congress to ensure dedicated funding and priority attention is given to long-term care residents and caregivers.

While many people across the nation responded to the arrival of COVID-19 by putting on “pandemic pounds” and feeling a sense of isolation and even depression, faculty and staff in the Manchester-Shortsville Central School District (Red Jacket) were meeting a challenge.

Doug Schmidt, Bill Bowe, Diane Neal, Brenda Gowan and Maura Kostraba have been leaders in their school districts’ efforts to improve the health and well-being of their employees, putting in many hours on top of their demanding jobs for the benefit of fellow workers. All five have either stepped down from longtime leadership posts, or are moving aside to let others lead. Some are retiring after decades in education. Doug Schmidt The story of Doug Schmidt, who has served as wellness committee chair at Victor Central School District, is well known — not just within consortium circles, but regionally and nationally. After having a heart attack at age 49, Schmidt embraced a whole food, plant-based diet, took up running and ultimately shed 60 pounds, dropping all of his medications in the process. Schmidt has consciously instilled better physical health through passion and lifestyle changes. He shares his story to encourage others to adopt healthier diets. He did it through Victor’s wellness committee, the consortium and beyond. Schmidt is retiring this fall as an enrichment teacher working with gifted and talented students at Victor. He played a lead role in encouraging the whole foods, plant-based diet that changed his life, pointing to the plant-based diet challenges the FLASHP schools hold throughout the year. He notes those 10-day challenges have moved well beyond the consortium to involve Ontario County and many businesses. “It’s really expanded across the state,” Schmidt says, noting that his wife, Shari, created a Facebook page called Eat Plants Love that promotes a plant-based life. It has more than 4,000 members. Recipes are shared on the page, and members get support, information and more. “Last year we wrote our own cookbook (Eat Plants Love),” Schmidt says. “We’re working on a second cookbook, Eat More Plants Love. We’re doing that for the January challenge.” He wants to see his last plant-based challenge through. While Schmidt is stepping down as an educator, his and Shari’s efforts to promote the plant-based lifestyle will continue — from the warmer confines of their new home in Phoenix, Ariz., where they are moving to be closer to family. “Helping people regain their health is powerful and so rewarding,” Schmidt says. “Just like in being a teacher, it is another way to make a difference.” Diane Neal Diane Neal, a longtime wellness coordinator at the Seneca Falls Central School District, isn’t retiring from her job as the district’s assistant data coordinator. She is stepping down as wellness committee co-chair and the FLASHP’s Wellness is Now (WIN) co-chair position. Neal has been a leader of the wellness committee since its inception in 2014 after being encouraged to do so by now-retired Superintendent Bob McKeveny. She hopes to stay involved as a committee member. Neal says the committee promotes a number of wellness initiatives that run from blood pressure checks to walking challenges, to the annual plant-based diet challenge that has become a wellness effort staple. The committee also annually takes part in women’s heart health initiatives and hydration challenges, hosts “early bird” workouts, yoga classes and more. She says her co-chair work with the FLASHP wellness group, which includes Rick Amundson of Smola Consulting, “was a joy, and we worked behind the scenes to help Rick create meaningful meetings, brainstorm ideas to present, talk about guest presenters and help assure the meetings went smoothly.” One of her goals was to ensure wellness programs at Seneca Falls had broad participation. The committee encouraged involvement by not just teachers, but support staff such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers as well, she says. The task was not easy, she explains, as each group works in different shifts. Neal says she’s learned so much from her committee involvement, including the need to take care of oneself. “Truly, self care has to be a priority in your life, rather than an afterthought,” Neal says, pointing to meditation, breathing, nutrition and exercise as part of that concept. “It has to start with you. Are you whole enough to turn around and put the energy towards others?” Bill Bowe As a physical education teacher in the Canandaigua City School District, heading the district’s wellness efforts was a natural fit for Bill Bowe. Afterall, wellness is pretty much in the job description. “It’s (the wellness chair job) something I had great interest in,” Bowe says. He retired in June after 34 years at Canandaigua, where he also coached baseball and many other sports. “It felt like a no-brainer.” At Canandaigua, says Bowe, the wellness committee enjoyed many accomplishments — from the promotion of biometric screenings, flu shots, telemedicine and Rally Rewards to strong participation in the annual plant-based diet challenge. But Bowe says one of his proudest accomplishments is the installation of fitness centers in each of the district’s buildings. Those fitness centers gave staff access before, during and after school, Bowe, and they are utilized by many staff members, he says. “Seeing people in there on a daily basis is good, knowing that you were a part of that,” he says. The longtime physical education teacher and coach, who served the wellness committee since 2012, believes it’s an effective tool for promoting good health for all Canandaigua staff members. “I think it’s had a huge impact,” says Bowe. “It’s a good feeling when you do get that email that someone lowered their cholesterol and lost weight.” Bowe says the consortium, working with Excellus and Smola Consulting, is not only improving the lives of school employees, but helping to reduce healthcare costs for all of the districts and their workers. Brends Gowan

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted an uptick in delivery services as more people are heeding the warning to stay inside to limit the spread of COVID-19.

When it comes to describing his goal for The Lift Project, founder Darren Morton has three words.

The Finger Lakes Area School Health Plan is getting a bit more social — which is to say the consortium that includes 37 educational entities across its namesake region of New York can now be found on both Facebook and Instagram.

After a couple weeks of feeling overwhelmed and even a bit blue in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the U.S., staff members at Penn Yan Central School District received some advice on how to feel better, thanks to Blue Zones; or, more specifically, to a four-week Blue Zones challenge.

Independence Day is around the corner. Families are likely prepping to watch or set off fireworks and sparklers. However, the Fourth of July celebration might turn a fun-filled day into a painful memory if caution isn’t properly exercised. Even the most innocent-looking fire displays can lead to injuries or an actual fire. Consider these safety tips to enjoy the holiday without going to the emergency room.

For those looking to get out of the house without wandering away from their property, cultivating a home garden can provide a welcome escape. As an added bonus, you can incorporate the vegetables you grow into your next home-cooked meals. There are many options for Midwest gardeners to choose from to grow at home.

Overeating during the holidays and New Year’s may now be in the rearview mirror. But that doesn’t necessarily make losing or maintaining weight easier for everyone — even if you resolved to make healthier food choices. It may be a tough work to keep a healthy weight and diet. For some people, it can be especially difficult.

It can sometimes be difficult to get kids outdoors for exercise when the weather is harsh, says Jennifer Jewell, a physical therapist in Jefferson Township. That’s one of the main reasons she enrolled her three children in the iXL Rehab, Exercise and Wellness Center’s Excel Sports Performance youth camp.

Summer vacation is well under way, and with a lack of recess and physical education, parents may be looking for different ways to get kids outside and staying active. A great way to keep children from becoming couch potatoes for three months is to go for a hike.

If you’ve ever been a pet parent you know animals love to explore and taste just about everything in their path. Unfortunately, there are things at home that our furry friends shouldn’t eat. In fact, according to the ASPCA in 2018, the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) received an average of 1,200 calls daily and assisted 266,554 animals.

There are several well-known factors that contribute to aging: smoking, stress, sun exposure and genetics, among them. But what you may not realize is what you put on your plate can also cause you to look beyond your year.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a boundary is defined as “a line that marks the limits of an area.” In more straightforward terms, it’s the line you clearly draw so that others know not to cross it. Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships, whether that’s among friends, within the workplace or in a romantic partnership.

What’s that big green box located in Grove City Medical Center’s lobby, you ask? It’s our new drug disposal receptacle, installed recently as part of our efforts to address the opioid crisis here in our community.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 60,000 young adults in the U.S. are diagnosed yearly with cancer and of those 9,000 die. Among that age group, cancer is the fourth leading cause of death. Sadly, this number is showing no signs of slowing and may be going up. In fact, while in general cancer rates tend to be higher among those who are older, a recent study published in The Lancet Public Health found there are certain types of cancers presenting more often in younger adults.

It seems like we insure everything in our lives — our homes, cars and lives. But what about our pets? Pet insurance is still relatively new in the United States, but the industry is already bigger than you might think.

Thanks to glands of the endocrine system like the ovaries, testes, thyroid and hypothalamus, special chemical messengers known as hormones influence the health of our minds and bodies every day — whether it’s basic needs like hunger and movement to more complex systems such as puberty and reproduction. Hormones can also influence our emotions and moods.