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Time Out, Stress Less!

by Sara Vogt - April 30, 2021

Despite the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are seeking out those fun activities which may be even more critical now.
When we’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected!

Also, when you are exercising outside, it initiates a biological cascade of events resulting in the release of endorphins – those chemicals that make us happy! That fits nicely with our state motto welcoming you to our state: “Pennsylvania Pursue Your Happiness.” The state’s new slogan ties into the quote from the Declaration of Independence, signed in Philadelphia, which officials say still captures the spirit of Pennsylvania.
“It ties into Pennsylvania’s legacy,” said Rich Kirkpatrick, spokesman for PennDOT. “This is the cradle of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Here in Tioga County, the opportunities to become happy outdoors are endless – just like our mountains!

Last year Jean Cummings and Donna Emmick started a Facebook group called Walk or Run Fit and Fun to encourage others to step outside to enjoy the beauty of our area. Each Tuesday, weather permitting, Jean and Donna lead those who come in some fun! This past Tuesday, I joined Jean along with Jen, Kathy, Kim, Rebekah, on the Barber Rock Loop Trail. This trail is 3 miles long and has spectacular views of the PA Grand Canyon. (Watch the video for this broadcast to come along with us!)

Donna’s group walked the Barbour Rock Trail, which is about a mile long and assessable; both trails are excellent for enjoying the outdoors.

An article in the USDA Forest Service says that there are health benefits of walking in the woods. ‘Exposure to forests strengthens our immune system, reduces blood pressure, increases energy, boosts our mood, and helps us regain and maintain our focus in ways that treeless environments don’t.
These benefits don’t necessarily come from intense physical activities many people do in the forest, such as hiking or mountain biking. Almost anyone can reap the rewards of a short sojourn to the woods.’

The article continues:

The secrets lie in the plants themselves. For one reason, forests contain a higher concentration of oxygen than urban spaces do. The next and perhaps most surprising reason comes from the chemicals plants produce called phytoncides. These chemicals are natural oils that plants use to defend themselves against unwanted pests such as insects, bacteria, or fungi.

Phytoncides improve the human immune system by increasing natural killer cell activity. These cells respond rapidly to virus-infected cells and tumor formation. Studies show that increased natural cell activity can last for more than 30 days after a trip to a forest, suggesting that a trip once a month would enable individuals to maintain a higher level of natural killer cell activity. Other benefits from phytoncides include:

  • An increase in anti-cancer proteins.
  • A reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
  • Reduced test scores for anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion.
  • Increased scores for vigor.

According to a study in the Journal of Aging and Health, adults over 70 who spent time outdoors experienced fewer sleep difficulties, complained less about aches and pains, and enjoyed improved mobility and ability to perform daily activities. YES! I find this information very encouraging because I turn 70 on May 1st!

Please check out the Facebook page for Walk or Run Fit and Fun to join the fun! AND become healthier and happier!

https://www.fs.usda.gov/inside-fs/out-and-about/walk-woods-wellness-health-benefits-forests

https://www.visitpa.com/regions

Movements for Low Impact Cardio Two

Please check with your doctor if you have not been regularly exercising before you start any movement program.
The hamstring muscles are responsible for your hip and knee movements in walking, squatting, bending your knees, and tilting your pelvis. The instructions for the song precedes the song in the video.

Walking in place
32 hamstring curls with hands on the hips
Walk in place
Alternate touch back with triceps 8 slow 16 fast
Walk in place
Alternate touch side 8 slow 16 fast
Walk in place
32 hamstring curls with hands up and out

Credits:

Idea/Concept: Sara Vogt
Videography: Austin Dragovich
Video Editing: Andrew Moore, Austin Dragovich
Writing: Sara Vogt
Anchor: Sara Vogt
Correspondent: Lauren Gooch, Julianna Vogt

Produced by Vogt Media
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