Our Passion, Your Health

Our Passion | Your Health features stories on the latest happenings at Penn State Health St. Joseph. Check out our blogs, recipes, patient stories, program highlights, and new services that represent our passion...your health.

Harp Music Offered at Hospital for Patients, Visitors and Staff

Wendy Thompson has learned a lot about the gifts of music since she took up the harp three years ago and started playing her instrument in hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

She has seen the music she plays comfort people who were very sick, including several who would pass away in her presence. She listened to an elderly woman who suffered from severe dementia sing along with her as she played, remembering every word of the old song.

Thompson, who trained through Bedside Harp, a harp therapy instructional and certification program based in Bensalem, Bucks County, has witnessed powerful responses to her playing, not only from patients, but also from family members, friends and hospital staff.

“This really has exceeded my expectations,” Thompson said. “It’s lovely to play for people, but I didn’t realize that I would get so much out of it. It’s extremely rewarding.”

Having recently moved to Berks County from Bethlehem, Northampton County, Thompson offered her talents to Penn State Health St. Joseph. Barbara Moyer, director of volunteers, was delighted to bring her on board.

“I heard her play and it was really special,” Moyer said. “I was moved by the music and the way that Wendy conducts herself.”

Playing a harp in a hospital is one thing, Thompson explained, but being mindful and aware of who is around you and how the music is being received are quite other things.

“There are a lot of things you have to think about when you’re playing for someone who is sick,” she said.

Cultural differences, personal preferences regarding music, attitudes of family members, the physical, mental and emotional condition of the patient and other factors all affect how Thompson interacts – or doesn’t interact – with patients.

Normally, she explained, she simply walks through a hallway, quietly playing a simple tune or even just notes on her harp.

She’ll slow down in front of a patient’s room, seeking signals that indicate whether or not her presence will be welcomed. If a patient shows interest, she will stand in the doorway or enter the room. If not, that’s okay, as well.

“I’m never offended if someone doesn’t want music,” Thompson said. “It’s strictly a personal preference.”

On a recent day in the hospital, Thompson was warmly welcomed into the room of a male patient whose wife and daughter were visiting.

She played several songs, chatting in between as the family engaged her in conversation about their own musical experiences. They thanked her warmly as she left for the next room, where the patient occupying it had no interest in listening to harp music.

“Every room is different,” Thompson noted. “I’ve learned to be very observant since I started doing this.”

At the door of each room, she’ll look for clues that might help her decide what to play. Someone who has a bible next to their bed might enjoy hearing a hymn, for instance. Balloons in the room could indicate that a child is there.

Once, Thompson related, she had begun to play in a patient room when she noticed that the patient’s hands were shackled to the bed, indicating that he was in police custody.

Without pausing, Thompson continued to play.

“I didn’t need to know any more about that,” she said. “My job was to cheer him up and provide comfort.”

While patients are a priority, the harp music is also targeted to staff members, many of whom appreciate a little diversion from their busy routines.

“I have a series of songs that are intended to be uplifting to staff,” Thompson said.

Thompson’s harp music is expected to continue to be heard throughout the hospital, filling a space where sometimes words fail.

“Music often says things that words cannot,” Thompson said.

Gloria Rosado Takes the Lead on La Belleza Event

Working from her small office in the Downtown Campus’ Family and Women’s Care area, Gloria Rosado is a driving force behind the popular La Belleza de Nuestra Salud community event, held for each of past nine years.

Geared to Reading and Berks County Latina women, the event was held in October in the main ballroom of the Abraham Lincoln Ballroom.

La Belleza de Nuestra Salud, which translates to “the Beauty of Our Health,” features educational speakers and presentations, beauty services including chair massages and hand treatments, health screenings, exhibits and food. All presentations and events are in Spanish.

Rosado, a Penn State Health St. Joseph OB/GYN social worker who serves on the committee that plans and organizes the event each year, said it’s a great deal of work, but all worthwhile.

“La Belleza is a health fair for Spanish speaking women, and it’s important to our community,” she said. “It lets people know what services are available and it brings people together.”

The ongoing opioid crisis was the theme of this year’s fair, with a panel discussion covering a variety of related topics. Dr. Janie Simmons, director of opioid overdose prevention initiatives or the Center of Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research, was the keynote speaker, presenting a Spanish version video about Naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug.

“We know that the opioid problem is a crisis, and we wanted to address that this year,” Rosado said. “In addition to Dr. Simmons, we had a panel of speakers and also therapists on hand to talk to patients and family members about opioid use and treatment.”

Hundreds of people attended the event, for which there is no cost.

Education is extremely important for the Latino community, explained Marlin Jusino-Bobe, a Penn State Health St. Joseph pediatric social worker, and the La Belleza event gives educators a chance to reach out to members of that community.

Jusino-Bobe works to help parents understand what services are available for children who are having trouble in school and need extra help.

“We realize that there’s a lot of need for special education for the children, and we want to help parents understand how to get help for that,” she said.

Also, Rosado explained, Latinas need to understand what health services are available, and why tests like mammograms and colonoscopies are important.

“Latinos need these services and this education, and they need to hear it in their native tongue,” she said. “If a person does not receive clear and concise medical instruction, it could have very serious consequences.”

Members of the Latino community are less likely to receive diagnostic screenings and tend to be diagnosed with serious diseases such as cancer later than members of some other ethnic groups.

While the theme of La Belleza de Nuestra Salud always deals with a serious issue, the tone of the event is fun.

Women get to catch up with one another, sharing news of their families, their jobs and their lives. They enjoy good food, get handouts from exhibitors and learn more about what’s happening in their communities.

With a number of community sponsors, including Penn State Health St. Joseph, the event has grown significantly since its start in 2010.

Rosado hopes La Belleza will be held next year at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading, as it was last year. That location was not available for this year’s event.

“We’re hoping that more and more people will get involved and the event will continue to grow,” Rosado said. “It’s an important resource for Latinas, and everyone looks forward to it.”

Cooking Demonstration Attracts a Crowd at Downtown Campus

The summer squash salad with herbs was met with approval during a recent tasting in the lobby of Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Downtown Campus, with some people returning for a second serving.

“This is really good,” one woman commented. “I don’t think I’ve ever had this kind of squash before.”

And that, according to Chef Chris Dibiase, nutrition services manager at Penn State Health St. Joseph, is just the point of the Downtown program.

“We want to introduce people to vegetables that they may not be familiar with, Dibiase said. “The point is to encourage people to seek out and eat these healthy foods.”

The cooking demonstration and tasting program, held on the fourth Tuesday of every month from 1 to 2 p.m., was started in June as an outreach to city residents, explained Lisa Weaver, Healthy Community Program associate for Penn State Health St. Joseph. The hospital also offers a farm market each Tuesday from noon until 4 p.m. at its Downtown Campus.

“That way, people who taste whatever we’re offering on a particular Tuesday can just walk a few feet and purchase the vegetables they just ate,” Weaver said. “The goal is to get them to use these healthy foods when they cook at home.”

The market, located in a room just off of the lobby, is offered in partnership with the organic farm at Blue Mountain Academy in Tilden Township. It is open to anyone, with cash, checks, credit and debit cards and SNAP accepted for payment.

Patients who are part of St. Joseph’s Veggie Rx initiative, an innovative program that offers vouchers that can be redeemed for fruits and vegetables to patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes or obesity, also can use their vouchers at the farm market.

“We want to provide better access to fruits and vegetables for people who could benefit from them,” said Nicole Rhoads, a registered dietician with Penn State Health St. Joseph.

The Veggie Rx program is designed to expand patient knowledge of nutrition while increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, Rhoads explained. Vouchers also can be redeemed for produce at the Penn Street Market.

Offering portions of healthy foods to people who are coming and going at the Downtown Campus works toward both of those goals.

“People who try these healthy foods not only get the nutritional information about them, they also get to experience how delicious they are,” Weaver said.

In addition to the herbed squash salad offered at the Downtown Campus tastings, Chef Dibiase has served up a kale salad with chicken, a jicama slaw and an edamame salad. All of them were well received, particularly the kale salad.

“Some people were a little hesitant at first because they didn’t know what it was – they’d never eaten kale before,” Dibiase said. “But, once they tried it, they loved it.”

The next tasting is set for Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Summer Squash Salad with Herbs

  • 2 pounds zucchini and yellow squash (about 2 of each), halved lengthwise and sliced ½-inch thick
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water, room temperature
  • ¼ cup olive oil

In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until combined. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve cold.

Love Salt? You Just Might be a Supertaster

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences food scientists discovered several years ago why some people have a harder time than others passing up the salt shaker or enjoying low-salt foods.

People who use lots of salt may be genetically influenced to do so, researchers learned. That’s because some people are naturally more sensitive to tastes such as bitterness or spiciness, and may use more salt to alter or cover those tastes.

For instance, salt is added to many cheeses to mask bitter flavors that occur naturally during the cheese’s ripening process. Someone who is particularly sensitive to the taste of those bitter flavors may not enjoy a low-salt cheese because there’s not enough salt to offset the bitterness of the cheese.

Scientists have known for many years that, just as individuals differ in hair color or eye color, there is a wide range in one’s ability to taste certain compounds. While some people are extremely sensitive to tastes such as sweetness, spiciness and saltiness, others barely detect them.

Those with extremely sensitive taste buds are known as supertasters, while those who do not easily perceive taste are known as non-tasters.

Supertasters tend to ingest more salt both because they enjoy the flavor of it, leading them to eat more salty foods, and because they use salt to mask other flavors that they find unpleasant.

The problem with that, of course, said Nicole Rhoads, a Penn State Health St. Joseph Registered Dietician, is that eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, increasing the possibility of stroke and heart attacks, and may cause other health problems. It’s recommended that adults and children 14 years and older consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day – about what’s found in one teaspoon of salt.

Those with hypertension should aim at consuming considerably less than that amount.

That can be difficult to do, Rhoads explained, because salt is prevalent in prepared foods, including condiments such as ketchup, soy sauce, pickles, olives and bottled salad dressing.

Convenience foods, snack foods and fast foods also tend to be very high in sodium.

One slice of pizza chain pepperoni pizza, for instance, might contain more than 800 milligrams of sodium, more than one-third of the recommended daily limit. The same goes for a bowl of canned soup.

So, regardless of whether you’re a supertaster or non-taster, how can you limit the amount of salt you consume? Here are some general tips Rhoads provided.

  • Avoid processed foods and convenience foods such as canned soup and frozen dinners
  • Eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, unprocessed meats and low-fat dairy items
  • Omit salt from recipes when cooking
  • Use fresh herbs and spices to flavor foods, or an herb seasoning blend such as Mrs. Dash
  • Read food labels and choose low-sodium products over those containing a lot of salt
  • Prepare most of the food you consume at home
  • Find low-sodium recipes from reputable sources on line and try them out

Find out more from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ tip sheet on “Eating Right with Less Salt”.


Nicole Rhoads, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian If you are interested in individual outpatient nutrition counseling, contact Nicole at 610-378-2489 or NRhoads@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or schedule an appointment at 610-378-2100.
 

Penn State Health St. Joseph Offers Free Breast Screenings

What began at Penn State Health St. Joseph as an annual event is now held monthly to provide breast health care for women who do not have access to health insurance.

Free screenings are provided one day a month at St. Joseph’s Downtown Campus, according to Lisa Spencer, Breast Care Patient Navigator. Most women get routine screenings, but if a problem is detected, further diagnostic screening is available.

Education about breast health also is provided. “We’ve had a number of women who have had issues, and we were able to get them additional imaging,” Spencer said. “Several ladies have been diagnosed with cancer, and we’ve been able to get them into care so they receive the appropriate treatment.”

The program is administered by Penn State Health St. Joseph, and funded by a national grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation®, based in Alexandria, Virginia. The program, which has been in place for about 10 years, formerly was funded by grants from Susan G. Komen – Philadelphia, Susan G. Komen- National and the American Cancer Society.

For many women without health insurance, a mammogram would not be an option without such a program. The screenings are advertised on the hospital’s website, Facebook page, Hispanic radio, and BCTV. Mostly, however, word gets out when one woman tells another that they are available. “A lot of news about our services spreads through word of mouth,” Spencer said.

In addition to the screenings, St. Joseph staff members can work with women who are uninsured to help them locate other services. Staff might help a patient apply for Medicaid, or identify another source of care.

Bilingual social workers and a “promotora” community health worker are available to help those who do not speak English.

“We are committed to helping these women and their families access the healthcare that they need,” Spencer said.

Hundreds of clinical breast exams, screening mammograms, diagnostic mammograms, and breast ultrasounds have been provided, as well as biopsies, genetic testing and treatment. Under the Prevent Cancer Foundation® grant, Penn State Health St. Joseph will work to reduce cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic barriers and improve breast health for Latinas.

In addition to the monthly breast screenings, Penn State Health sponsors annual prostate and oral cancer screenings. Penn State Health St. Joseph offers free breast screenings at the Downtown Campus on monthly basis for women without health insurance. This is an invaluable service to detect issues and get them into care. Bilingual social workers are also on hand to assist with locating other services. Call 610-378-2959 for more information! #PSHSJ

Penn State Health St. Joseph – A Key Supporter of Women2Women

Healthcare providers and staff at Penn State Health St. Joseph understand the strength that can be found in a community of women. That understanding, along with an ongoing, overall commitment to women’s health, were driving factors when St. Joseph stepped up to become a founding presenting sponsor of Women2Women (W2W), an organization managed by the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance that works to help empower women to become leaders in our community.

“We believe in the power of women connecting with each other and supporting each other,” said Julia Nickey, Director of Patient and Organizational Engagement at Penn State Health St. Joseph and a member of the W2W Advisory Board. “With that support and camaraderie, women can lead more satisfying and healthy lives.”

In addition to providing key financial support, St. Joseph is active in W2W programming and has provided presenters for events since the organization’s founding eight years ago.

Dr. Jessika Kissling, an Obstetrics & Gynecology Physician presented “Hey Ladies . . . Here are the Top Five Reasons You Need a Primary Care Physician and a Gynecologist,” and Dr. Krista Schenkel, Family Medicine Physician, Penn State Health St. Joseph Strausstown, spoke on “Women & Anxiety, What Your Body is Telling You.”

Karen Marsdale, President of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, praised St. Joseph’s commitment to the Women2Women organization.

“Penn State Health Saint Joseph was one of the very first W2W investors,” Marsdale said. “Not only do they believe in our goals to grow more women leaders, they have provided so many resources to help our organization grow and thrive, including experts to provide education for our members. We are truly grateful to this institution.”

Fear of Missing Out Can Negatively Impact Your Life.

If you’re constantly checking Facebook, desperate to see where your friends are and what they’re doing, and then becoming upset when you discover they’re having dinner without you, you may be suffering from a condition known as FOMO, or “fear of missing out.”

Dr. Krista Schenkel, a family practitioner who serves as medical director of Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Strausstown facility, spoke about FOMO recently during a program offered by Women2Women.

St. Joseph is a founding, presenting sponsor of Women2Women, an organization managed by the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry that works to help empower women to become leaders in our community.

FOMO, Schenkel explained, is a form of social anxiety disorder that is becoming increasingly prevalent as use of social media increases. By some accounts, nearly three-quarters of young adults in the United States report experiencing the phenomenon of FOMO.

It is particularly common among those between the ages of 13 and 33.

FOMO can result from the perception that other people are having more fun, or are happier than you are, Schenkel said. In their social media posts, friends may appear to be engaging in exciting activities, seemingly without a care in the world.

However, Schenkel related, social media posts often portray an idealized version of the truth.

“Let’s face it. Most social media posts are not giving the entire truth,” she said. “Anyone can put anything on social media and make their life sound amazing.”
Schenkel referred to her own experience in Disney World, showing a photo of herself with her husband and daughter that she’d posted on Facebook. The photo, she explained, was taken after a very long day. They all were exhausted, with their 3-year-old nearing a meltdown.

In the photo, however, the family appeared to be having a great time.

“We looked so happy, but really we were miserable!” she said.

A danger of the FOMO syndrome is that it tends to cause people to spend more time on social media, taking them away from the really important aspects of their lives.

According to Schenkel, the life of a typical woman contains five priorities: career, sleep, daily obligations, family and social activities.

Once the obligatory parts of a woman’s day are done, such as working, errands, commuting and sleeping, there are not many hours left. That means that it’s really important to carefully consider how those hours are spent.

Using that time for social media can minimize time you spend with your family and friends, and limit activities that you enjoy and make your life ultimately valuable
“Sometimes we get so caught up with what we’re seeing on line that we’re not being involved in the real world,” Schenkel said.

While she is not opposed to Facebook and other forms of social media, Schenkel said it’s important that users are in control of how they use it.

Employing Facebook to organize a hike with friends, and then attending and enjoying the hike is a positive use of social media. However, skipping the hike to stay home and engage in social media is not.

“I’m not saying that Facebook is an evil thing,” Schenkel said. “I’m just saying that you need to be careful about how you utilize it.”

While FOMO seems to be affecting an increasing number of people, there is an opposing movement – JOMO – that also seems to be gaining traction.

JOMO, Schenkel explained, stands for “joy of missing out,” and embraces disconnecting from technology and living in the moment in an attempt to find a balance between the two things.

JOMO allows you to move at your own pace, Schenkel said, and to pay attention to what is happening right now, such as the feel of warm sunshine, the sound of your children’s laughter or the smell of your first cup of morning coffee.

“Those are the things that we should fear missing out on,” she said.

Schenkel reminded the women at her talk that when they are 80 years old and looking back on their lives, they will not regret that they didn’t receive more “likes” on Facebook.

“But, what you may regret is not living out your personal truth or spending more time with the people you love,” she said. “We need to be aware of our priorities so we can all make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Want to find your FOMO score? Take this quiz!


Krista Schenkel, DO Looking for a new family physician that gets what you’re going through? Dr. Schenkel practices at Penn State Health St. Joseph Strausstown and is currently accepting new patients. Schedule an appointment at 610-488-7080.
 

Penn State Health St. Joseph Launches SelfCare for Healthcare for Nursing Employees

As the pace and complexity of nursing has intensified, it’s more important than ever for nurses to practice selfcare by tending to their physical, mental and spiritual health.

That was the message last week from LeAnn Thieman, a nationally acclaimed author, speaker and nurse who kicked off Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Nurses Week activities with a talk in the Franciscan Room.

“Nurses are heroes, and I applaud you,” Thieman told a group of nurses and other St. Joseph employees. “But, as you know, it’s stressful work. Sometimes it’s so stressful that we get into distress.”

During her talk, which emphasized the vital need for nurses to nurture their physical, mental and spiritual health, Thieman applauded Penn State Health St. Joseph for its decision to become a SelfCare for Health Care hospital.

Under that designation, St. Joseph has enacted a yearlong program for nurses that employs Thieman’s guidebook, SelfCare for Health Care: Your Guide to Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health, to promote their health and well-being.

Program participants each will have a copy of the book and concentrate on one chapter a month over the course of one year. Each chapter emphasizes certain aspects of selfcare, including the need for laughter, reducing and coping with stress, forgiveness, the value of exercise, getting enough sleep, relaxation breathing and determining priorities.

The SelfCare for HealthCare program also includes live presentations, monthly inspirational videos, nursing unit activities and weekly motivational emails for nurses.

The interactive guidebook is based on lessons that Thieman learned from a 1975 trip to South Vietnam, where she participated in Operation Babylift, a mission to remove 100 babies from the country before its capital, Saigon, fell to North Vietnamese forces.

The mission was successful, and Thieman and her husband adopted one of the Vietnamese children who had been taken out of the country.

Sharon Strohecker, Vice President of Clinical Operations and CNO at St. Joseph, said the hospital is grateful to its nurses and committed to helping them stay energized and healthy.
“Our nurses are really our foundation here,” Strohecker said. “And, we want them to know how important to us they are.”

Nursing is an honorable, but difficult profession, Strohecker noted, and nurses must be mindful not only of caring for others, but for themselves.

“Sometimes we need to stop and really think about taking care of ourselves,” she said.

Chelsea Robbins, a registered nurse at Penn State Health St. Joseph, said following the program that Thieman’s talk was exactly what she needed to hear.

“She said everything that nurses need to hear,” said Robbins. “We love to care for others, but sometimes we really need to be reminded to just stop and care for ourselves. I’m very glad I was able to be here today.”

Thieman encouraged those at her talk to embrace the SelfCare for HealthCare program, promising that it can help them to find balance in their busy and often stressful lives.

“And when you find that balance, you bring that balance to the workplace, and you have that balance in your life,” she said. “When that happens, it’s good for you, it’s good for those you love, and it’s good for the patients you care for every day.”


In addition to SelfCare for HealthCare, Thieman has written and co-authored 15 previous books, including 12 volumes of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
 

Activity on Social Media can Help Older Adults Feel Less Isolated and More Empowered

In a study of Facebook use, older adults who posted a lot of personal stories on the social networking site felt a higher sense of community, and the more they customized their profiles, the more in control they felt, said S. Shyam Sundar, Penn State distinguished professor of communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory. He added that the study suggests that using social media is not a uniform experience that is either all bad, or all good, but offers multiple functions for diverse users.

“People tend to think of Facebook as a black box that either has an overall positive effect or a negative effect, but what distinguishes this study is that it makes an effort to go in and see what people do in Facebook — and that’s what matters,” said Sundar. “So, in other words, social media, by itself, is neither good, nor bad, but it’s how you use it.”

For older adults, who may be less mobile, Facebook and similar social networking sites could play a critical role in easing isolation and making them feel like they are part of a large community, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the journal New Media & Society.

“This is important, especially for older adults who might be aging in place, because they have mobility constraints that limit their ability to socialize,” said Sundar. “And, for the last ten years or so, we’ve been looking into how social networking sites can enhance the social life of older adults and reduce the social isolation that they might feel. These are more fine-grained findings that say certain things you do on Facebook can give you gratifications, like fulfilling the needs for activity, having interactions with others, having a greater sense of agency, and building community.”

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to posts gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

Eun Hwa Jung, formerly a doctoral student at Penn State and currently assistant professor of communications and new media, National University of Singapore, who worked with Sundar, said older adults are increasingly adopting social media, in general, and are a growing number of Facebook’s total membership. According to Pew research, 34 percent of Americans aged 65 years and older use social networks in 2017, an increase of 7 percent from 2016. Facebook is considered the most popular social network among older adults, the researchers add.

Given the widespread diffusion of Facebook in this group, understanding what gratifications older adults derive from particular technological features helps designers develop better user interfaces suited for them, Jung said.

“It can improve online interactions between individuals from different generations,” she added.

According to Sundar, developers of social media networks should consider the needs of this growing group of users. For example, they should create features that enhance the identity of older adults while simultaneously protecting their privacy. More features that encourage older adults to exchange and visualize messages with others could also make sites more interactive for this group.

To collect the data, the researchers recruited 202 participants — 79.7 percent female and 20.3 percent male — who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year. The participants were recruited from 27 retirement centers throughout the United States.

The researchers “friended” the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year. The participants were also asked to respond to a questionnaire that captured the gratifications they obtained from Facebook.

Future research may look at whether these positive interactions on Facebook could lead to the enhancement of well-being for seniors, Sundar said. The researchers also suggested that the effects of other social media outlets, such as Twitter and Pinterest, as well as other mobile and wearable devices, on older adults should be investigated.

Test the study for yourself by connecting with Penn State Health St. Joseph on social media! Meet us on Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter.

150 Minutes to a Healthier Life

Who is ready to hang up the winter coats, put away the snow boots and get off the couch? It’s hard to believe that spring is here, but it is. This is the perfect time to get outside and restart our New Year’s resolution to exercise.

Penn State Health St. Joseph is here to help! We created a program, FIT150, that encourages everyone to “fit” in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (or

75 minutes of vigorous exercise) every week as recommended by the top heart and cancer research centers. 150 minutes is only 2 hours and 30 minutes – less than the time it takes to binge 3 episodes of This Is Us!

This formula has the following benefits:

  • Reduces the risk of some cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Elevates your mood
  • Increases your energy levels
  • Strengthen bones and muscles.

How does this break down?

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150. If your time is limited, split the 30 minutes into a 15 m
    inute morning and an evening session.
    OR
  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
    AND
  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

What is Moderate Aerobic Exercise?

Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, tennis doubles, spring cleaning, swimming, and mowing the lawn.

What is Vigorous Aerobic Exercise?

Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, cycling, tennis singles, and playing soccer and basketball.

There is an exercise routine for everyone. Find something you like to do, and it suddenly doesn’t feel like a dreaded activity. You will see results and feel good about those 150 or 75 minutes a week.

Hard to get started? Engage a friend, family member or a co-worker to take the FIT150 pledge with you. Together, you will be on the road to fitness and improved health.

We are proud to be partners with some local fitness centers YMCA, BLDG. 7 Yoga and Corps Fitness. If you take our FIT150 pledge, we’ll email you free gym passes.  Put your sneakers on, take the pledge and get moving! http://www.thefutureofhealthcare.org/fit150/