DANSVILLE — As we approach National Take The Stairs Day it is good to touch base with our community health educators.


UR Medicine/ Noyes Health Community Health Educator and Employee Wellness Coordinator Lorraine Wichtowski talked with Genesee Country Express about the benefits of healthy living.  


People tend to think that taking the stairs instead of the elevator is just about exercise, but it actually about so much more.


“It gives your mind a little bit of a break in the day,” Wichtowski said. “It acts as a stress reducer when you take the stairs. When you are in an elevator you typically don’t speak to anyone, and you stare at the numbers on the wall. You are thinking about where you need to be, and all of the things you need to get done.”


“On the stairs you have time to focus on mental health,” Wichtowski continued. “When you are going up and down those stairs you are actually using all of the muscles in your body. You are more likely to talk to people in the stairwell, and put your mind more at ease.”


There has been more of a push in the recent months to get the employees at UR Medicine/ Noyes Health to take the stairs. For a little while there was only one elevator in use at the Main Lobby, so it was used mainly for patients and their families.


“We put up posters on all of the landings to encourage our employees,” Wichtowski said. “We had well done signs, and ones with different designs on them. We had one that said ‘it is called a stairwell for a reason.’ We have arrows pointing to all of the stairwells.”


Over the past summer the hospital staff did a challenge walk, and everyone enjoyed being outdoors.


“We wanted them to take regular walks at home, and not just at work,” Wichtowski said. “Taking steps goes towards reducing stress, and getting your cardio up. This challenge was the most popular one we had.”


In general the wellness industry has grown over the past decade, and that is all thanks to our health educators.


Wichtowski said that in the near future the hospital would like to focus on financial wellness.


“This towers over the stress level,” she said. “People have a lot of stress at work, and at home over finances.”


There are community outreach programs available if you contact the health educators. There are different classes and programs to get us all in shape in our workplace.


“We would come to the work site, and see what we could put in place to make them healthy,” Wichtowski said. “I would like to open up our fitness center and kitchen to health classes in the future.”


This month starts of the new year, and in doing so starts off a new health program for employees, their families, and volunteers.


“We are doing walk fitness classes inside, and we are strengthening our Yoga classes,” Wichtowski said. “We started our Yoga class this past fall, and it has doubled in attendance since then.”  


In February and March the hospital will be starting another challenge for their employees. There is the Wellness Fair in May to look forward to as well.


The Noyes Health and Wellness Center is one of the busiest in the hospital, and they come up with their own challenges.


“What you want to see in wellness is the department managers take over the wellness idea,” Wichtowski said. “We are creating a culture of wellness through the hospital. They (Noyes Health and Wellness) did their own weight challenge recently. It is nice to see this culture start to develop.”


Wichtowski said we all used to go outside and play as children, and the idea of bringing that approach back to wellness is a huge benefit.


“When you were a kid you went outside and played all the time,” she said. “You didn’t even think of that as exercise; even though it was very beneficial. I like the idea of us thinking of this as play time for adults. The idea is to be fit in life. The ones that are the healthiest are the ones that walk after dinner, or garden after work, or throw the ball around in the yard with their kids. You don’t have to go to the gym to get a good workout.”


Wichtowski can be reached for information regarding community outreach classes at 585-335-4327 or lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org