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County Comment: County employees improve health through wellness programs

CAPTION: L-R: Engineering and Construction employee Benjamin Hainke, Fitness Center at HCC Instructor Thomas Burge, Department of Water Quality employee Amber Grimes, County Recreation Department Director Jaime Dick

County Comment
County employees improve health through wellness programs
By Sarah Lankford Sprecher
Director of Public Relations & Community Affairs

The Washington County Government Health and Human Services Department recently offered two optional wellness and fitness activities for County employees with the help of the Washington County Recreation Department, Meritus Medical Center's Tri-State Health Partners (THP), and the Fitness Center at Hagerstown Community College.
The Healthy Weigh to a BetterMe weight management program, a 12-week class led by THP, was designed to help attendees focus on a holistic approach to weight management by facilitating behavior that supports a health mind, body, and spirit. Topics covered included:
- Readiness and motivators for a healthier lifestyle
- Creating a wellness vision and setting realistic goals
- Barriers to achieving a health weight
- Achieving life balance
- Nutrition: portions, meal planning, understanding labels
- Stress, emotions, and eating
- Exercise for weight management
- Healthy cooking demonstration and lunch by Chef Joe from Meritus Medical Center
Between the 30 participants in the course, a total weight loss of 61 pounds was recorded. Many participants note that they are now consuming more fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular exercise. Some participants report an improvement in their stress management skills that have helped them in both work and home settings.
The Washington County Crossfit classes focused on varied, high-intensity, and functional movements that helped participants achieve fitness goals through safe and efficient exercises. The class met every Tuesday and Thursday for six weeks where they completed exercise routines that pushed them to reach new fitness goals. The instructor, Thomas Burge, who works as at the Physical Education & Fitness Center at HCC, also provided a 30-day nutritional challenge that offered nutrition tips, shopping lists, and recipes.
Washington County employees Benjamin Hainke and Amber Grimes, graduates of the Crossfit course, said they look forward to additional programs offered by the County Health and Human Services Department. Hainke, who works in the Engineering and Construction Department, said, "It was great to learn a lot of new information on different ways to work out." Grimes, who works in the Department of Water Quality, "...really enjoyed the course and likes the variety of classes offered through the Washington County Recreation Department. "

Some participants of Crossfit have signed up to take additional courses through the Washington County Recreation Department.
"We are really pleased with the feedback we received from the participants of both classes," said Washington County Health and Human Services Department Director Stephanie Stone. "With these results, we can now gauge what County employees want in a wellness program and will plan for a wide variety of exercise, nutrition, and stress management activities in the near future."

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