By JULIE MINDA
CHE TRINITY HEALTH
Even everyday activities like doing a load of laundry or planting flowers burn calories; and, with minor modification, daily tasks can build strength and improve fitness, too. That is the crux of a push by Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Ind., aimed at inspiring community members to "Do what you can. Just move."
Launched in April, Saint Joseph's "This Counts" effort spreads the message that exercise need not involve a time-consuming trip to the gym. Dr. Brian Moloney of Saint Joseph's Physician Network helped to develop This Counts. He said in a release that "using the stairs, taking out the garbage or dancing with your kids are perfect examples of things you are already doing that … build the foundation for even healthier lifestyles tomorrow. Small, sustained increases in activity count for a lot," he said.
Saint Joseph is inviting community members to submit videos, pictures and stories chronicling the clever ways they amp-up routine activities to burn a few more calories and make exercise more like play and less like a chore. Already, community members have provided dozens of videos including "La-Z-Boy sit-ups" in an easy chair; the "Indiana two-step," leg lifts which employ gleeful children as leg weights; and "cantaloupe curls" in the fruit aisle of a grocery store.
The videos are on the program website, thiscounts.org.
The hospital also is using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share the submissions with its followers. It plans to use some of the entries in an advertising campaign.
Moloney said Saint Joseph and its physicians developed This Counts because "our community faces significant health and well-being challenges. We committed to this movement because we know that simple lifestyle choices impact the health and happiness of every individual in the community; and the health of this community is our top priority."
According to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every county in Indiana has rates of obesity, inactivity, excessive drinking and smoking above the national average. Moloney said this may be due to the fact that in Indiana "there has been very little promotion of the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. … We want our community's health to improve, and we will be watching how we compare to the rest of the country. We hope that by starting a movement, we will see our health rankings improve each year."
Moloney said, "We have found people are often intimidated to even begin their wellness journey because they don't know how to start. By looking at the things you do every day differently, you begin to realize you have the tools you need all around you and that the things you do each day count toward your goals."
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