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Idaho Voices

Series gives basics of healthy lifestyle

Exercise, nutrition tips promote wellness

“Health is the most valuable asset a person has. Unfortunately, many people don’t invest much in their health until a serious problem develops, like a heart attack or cancer,” said Andrea Thomas, director of business and community relations for the North Idaho Health Network.

Because everyone needs to begin early in life, the health network is sponsoring a series of four hands-on classes geared to helping people adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Jump Start to Health will be held on Tuesdays, Feb. 23 through March 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Kootenai Medical Center. The cost is $25 for all four classes (the first was held Feb. 16). The series are open to anyone 18 and older. Space is limited, and preregistration is required.

The North Idaho Health Network is a nonprofit organization owned by the five North Idaho hospitals and member physicians. It was started by a group of physicians 15 years ago to help bring high-quality, cost-effective care to the people residing in the Panhandle.

“The classes are perfect for the person who is ready to make lifestyle changes now,” said Thomas.

The second class in the series is “Getting Active and Proper Exercise Techniques” and will be presented by physical therapist Gail Garrett-Anderson and Jeff Petersen, who is in a physical therapy doctorate program. It includes proper exercise techniques to help people see the health advantages in living an active lifestyle.

The third class is “Achieving a Healthy Weight and Preparing and Eating Healthy Nutritious Foods,” presented by registered dietician Jennifer Ramsrud and Nicole England, North Idaho Health Network healthy directions coordinator.

This is a cooking demonstration about preparing healthy, nutritious foods. The goals are to help people understand the different kinds of fats and how they affect health; to acquaint people with healthy carbohydrates; and to give practical steps in achieving a healthy weight.

The final class is “Coping with Stress and Yoga for Stress Reduction” and will be conducted by Chris Magera and Liz Markum. The goal is to help people become aware of the causes of stress and learn coping strategies that can reduce the negative effects of stress.

“Everyone deals with stressful events in their life,” says Thomas. “The objective is to keep stress from becoming excessive and damaging to your health, physically and mentally.”

Thomas said the practice of yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body and also has been found to lower cortisol levels. The asana, or physical postures of yoga, are helpful for reducing muscular tension, which reduces stress.

“By adopting a healthy lifestyle now, you can significantly reduce your risk for serious health problems, increase your energy level, and live longer,” Thomas said.

For more information, contact the North Idaho Health Network at (208) 666-3212.