January 2021 Health Matters

Cardio for Life – Exercise Like Your Heart Depends on it By Lance Shearer

The best healthcare is care that not only keeps you healthy, but also prevents you from becoming sick in the first place. As Benjamin Franklin put it almost 300 years ago, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In Collier County, NCH has created the premier facilities for you to experience that “ounce of prevention” – the NCH Wellness Centers. With one location downtown and one in North Naples, the Wellness Centers offer everything you need to keep your body in healthy working condition. Your entire body works together to keep you in shape, with the most vital component being your heart. Therefore, heart health is a particular focus of the Wellness Center’s offerings. “Your heart is a muscle, and it gets stronger and healthier if you lead an active life,” explained Heather Imsdahl, Director of Employee Health & Wellness at Briggs. To keep your heart and your body healthy, she recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week, spread over 30 minutes of activity five days a week. Exercise, she said, can lower your blood pressure, reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol, boost your HDL “good” cholesterol, strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system, and improve your circulation, which in turn helps your body better utilize oxygen. Regular exercise also lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as several types of cancer. The Wellness Center’s facilities include men’s and women’s locker rooms with sauna and whirlpool baths. More than 100 machines from Stairmasters to treadmills, arc trainers, ellipticals, rowing machines, and several bikes (upright, recumbent and hand bikes) offer exercise opportunities for every fitness level. Plus, the 25-meter outdoor swimming pool located downtown, maintained at a consistent 84 degrees year-round, is a great spot for those who need a low-impact workout, or just want to get in some laps.

Top low-impact, heart-healthy exercises include:

For those whose fitness level demands a little more intensity, options include:

• Working on a NuStep machine • Zumba • Cycling

• Water aerobics • Rowing • Walking on a treadmill

• Boot Camp • Kickboxing

• H.I.I.T., or high-intensity interval training

As you would expect from one of the nation’s top-ranked hospital environments, safety and cleanliness are a major priority, with all CDC and Florida Department of Health guidelines rigorously followed. All touch points are cleaned regularly, masks are required throughout the facility except when actively exercising, and social distancing is enforced, with plenty of room for each participant. If you prefer, many group classes can be attended virtually, allowing you to exercise with a live, experienced instructor from the comfort and privacy of your own home. The Briggs Wellness Center has free, convenient parking, and affordable daily, monthly, or annual plans for maximum flexibility. Personal trainers are also available for one-on-one instruction to tailor exercise and activities according to an individual’s needs, preferences, and physical capabilities. “Regardless of your current fitness level, it’s important to get moving,” said Imsdahl. “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your sickness.” Group Fitness Classes Briggs offers more than 100 different classes each week, more than any other fitness provider in Collier County. With group classes, the workout is planned for you. Classes are fun, and there is a nice camaraderie among members and a sense of belonging. Classes start and end at a set time, helping you plan your day. Many different classes are available, fitting a variety of schedules and fitness levels. In a class setting, the instructor will safely push you to perform better than you might on your own. And this is the only local facility to offer MOSSA-licensed group fitness classes. Wellness is just for you! And class time is exclusively for you and your exercise needs. And speaking of time, what better time than right now to make a resolution to take charge of your health?

Did we mention it’s fun?

For more information about the Briggs Wellness Center, call (239) 624-2750 , or for more information about the Whitaker Wellness Center, call (239) 624-6870 . The Whitaker Wellness Center in North Naples is currently closed for renovation with reopening planned for early 2021.

Heather Imsdahl, Director of Employee Health & Wellness, in the center’s cycle studio. The NCH Briggs Wellness Center is the area’s most comprehensive fitness facility.

The 25-meter pool is perfect for water aerobics.


5 NCH HEALTHCARE SYSTEM | Helping everyone live a longer, happier, and healthier life.

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