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PRIDE Healthy Lifestyle

Saturday, March 23, 2013

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Life lessons Judy Johns enjoys her involvement at the Splash Arena Page 7

W W W. S TA R H E R A L D . C O M

A S TA R - H E R A L D P U B L I C AT I O N

Living life to the fullest

Helping people to heal

Ties to the Olympics

Staying healthy and loving it

Rising up to the challenges

Matt Heaton no longer takes life for granted

Sidney Angel of Hope marks fifth year

Regional West physicians share links with Olympians

Fitness isn’t just a job for Y official

Local neurosurgeon triumphs despite early language barriers

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Making life a little less stressful By JOE DUTTON Staff Reporter

Courtesy photo

Todd Holcomb and Carolyn Nading stop for a picture before riding in the Registers Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa in 2009.

Pedaling toward a healthier life By JOE DUTTON Staff Reporter

A local executive has found a way to stay in shape without letting a past injury get him down, ultimately taking him to new places all across the county on his bicycle. Western Nebraska Community College President Todd Holcomb came to the Panhandle with his partner Carolyn Nading four years ago and quickly fell in love with the area. Both have enjoyed the many cycling opportunities that it has provided. Holcomb’s cycling career started after he suffered a knee injury in high school wrestling. It led him to quit the sport in college after practices were taking a toll on his knee. Holcomb said he was looking for an activity that didn’t have bone-onbone jarring in order to take the stress off his leg. His brother Tim suggested he get into cycling. He found it was a great activity and a way to stay in shape. “I was looking for something to keep me active and help control my weight, and

cycling is a low-impact activity. I also loved being outdoors,” Holcomb said. “It was kind of a combination of both factors.” At one point after a career move, he quit for 10 years. Over time he started to notice he was gaining weight and then decided to get back into working out by doing a combination of walking and riding his bike. “I got to the point where I could get back on my bike. The first time I rode my bike 10 miles, and that was it. I tried to add two miles a week after that.” After his first year, he could ride 25 miles at a time. “It took me 10 years to gain that weight and I slowly worked at it,” he said. “You have to do slow, incremental changes in your eating habits, your workout, to get yourself back to that spot.” Eight months after he started walking and riding again, he added weight lifting. He’s become a firm believer in holistic medicine and wellness, examining his diet and eating healthier when he is training in order See HOLCOMB, page 4

Western Nebraska Community College foreign language and physical education instructor Stacy Wilson doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands. But life seems to slow down when she conducts her yoga classes at The Warehouse Fitness Center in Scottsbluff. The soothing sounds of relaxing music quickly fill the air and greet students once they step into the intimate room where Wilson conducts her yoga classes. Her class size ranges from eight to 16 people. She has instructed students every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and every Saturday morning for the past two years. She has confidence that anybody can try yoga and has only one rule: listen to your body. “I stress the fact that everybody goes at their own pace and everyone can modify (poses) to what fits their body,” Wilson said. Wilson said there are different philosophies in yoga, but she sticks to the Hatha yoga style. The five main points of Hatha yoga are poses, meditation, breathing, chanting, (her students listen to music and don’t actually chant) and enjoying the process. “I think people have the wrong idea of yoga,” she said. “It’s a whole lot more than stretching.” Wilson graduated from Scottsbluff High School and left the Panhandle to live in Paris for a couple years while seeking her bachelor’s degree in French. She later moved to Kansas City, Mo., and then Fort Collins, Colo. She said she came back to the Panhandle 17 years ago to raise her sons and be closer to family. She started teaching at WNCC a year later through a stroke of luck and timing. “I ended up coming home about a year before Paul Jacobson at the college wanted to retire from teaching and move into (information technology),” Wilson said. “I was in the right place at the right time.” Her interest in yoga began eight years ago while she was studying belly dancing. She went to a lot of conferences and workshops where participants would always warm-up with yoga. She said the more yoga she did, the more it overshadowed her in-

Photo by Joe Dutton

The Warehouse Fitness Center yoga instructor Stacy Wilson performs the tree position after a yoga class at The Warehouse. Wilson also teaches yoga and foreign languages at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.

terest in belly dancing. Four years later she was involved in a car accident that did serious damage to her neck, restricting her from most vigorous exercises. “I couldn’t even do yoga for a while after the accident, but I slowly started getting back into yoga because it stretched and helped the pain,” Wilson said. “After that, I realized what a difference it was making for me and then I decided that I was really going to get back into it.” She decided to pursue a yoga teaching certification in Seattle. She said she feels the most successful teaching yoga when people stick with it and are able to find their niche. She said some people often find it to be too slow, even though in her class she mixes up the moves every time. Within traditional yoga there

are a limited number of poses. She said it can seem like too much repetition, but she recommends sticking with it. “They feel stronger. They feel more balance. They feel more flexible and they feel less pain. That’s really my goal.” Wilson said the more people do yoga, the easier it gets. The poses involve stretching and using strength to maintain balance. Lack of flexibility often holds people back in the beginning. “Some people are naturally flexible and some people aren’t,” Wilson said. “Everything looks easy when you see professionals do it, and then when you try it, you realize how difficult it can actually be.” See WILSON, page 2

Helping people stay healthy one county at a time By MARY WERNKE For the Star-Herald

Health and health care topics have expanded exponentially in the last decade, but one topic that seems to evade the nonprofessional is the idea of “public health.” While traditional health care is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of individual health problems over the course of a lifetime, public health “treats” the entire community, state and nation through populationbased programs, such as dr ug abuse prevention, worksite wellness and suppor t for br eastfeeding mothers. Panhandle Public Health District Director Kim Engel said public health professionals think in terms of generations. She cites the Community Health Improvement Plan as an example. The first priority for the CHIP is healthy living, defined as healthy eating, active living and breastfeeding. PPHD serves 10 of the 11 counties in the Panhandle. Scotts Bluff County has a separate public health de-

Photo by Mary Wernke

Lil’ Ladybug Greenhouse employees harvest fresh vegetables for their shareholders.

partment, but the two agencies cooperate to create the CHIP plan and coordinate programming. Engel and her staff of 14 individuals in three offices (Hemingford, Bridgepor t and Scottsbluff), operate on a budget of $1.69 million in

four primary areas: protection, prevention, promotion and administration. “Prevention works and is cost ef fective,” Engel said. “For example, the return is $5.60 for every dollar spent on evidence based strategies to increase activi-

ty, improve nutrition and reduce smoking.” Examples of public health at work include: Box Butte County Box Butte General Hospital’s worksite wellness program has expanded into the

hospital’s cafeteria, a spot where visitors and patients join employees in a quest to eat healthier. Dan Newhoff, wellness coordinator at BBGH, said the cafeteria has always offered healthier options, but they were not promoted. Since fall of 2012, a light menu option is featured prominently on the menu board, the salad bar features primarily fresh fruit and vegetables (no chocolate pudding), and the “grab ‘n go” and vending machines also have healthier options with nutritional information for each item listed. The cafeteria staff said they have noticed the change. “More people are ordering off the Eat Right menu,” he said. “We are getting a lot of comments about the change in culture.” Newhoff said challenges among employees lead staff to make the healthier choices. Incentives include personal time off from work, a discount on health insurance, the popular “Calorie King” books and gift cards for workout shoes. BBGH also offers onsite

fitness classes, a 24/7 fitness center, educational opportunities for wellness and pr evention scr eenings, such as annual physicals, mammograms and prostrate checkups on an annual basis. Dawes County A comprehensive planning process in Chadron brought city, county and college leaders together with residents to develop an ongoing plan to improve the health of their community and the neighboring village of Crawford. The plan included economic development, agriculture and business, as well. Sandy Roes, director of We s t e r n C o m m u n i t y Health Resources, is also a school board member and active in other community ventures. She said a participator y strategic planning process two years ago involved more than 100 participants and continues with committees meeting individually on a monthly and quarterly basis to create grassroots activities to enhance the community. “Walking and biking See PPHD, page 6

Star-Herald Pride 2013: Healthy Lifestyle  

Living Life to the Fullest, Helping People to Heal, Ties to the Olympics, Staying Healthy and Loving It, Risin Up to the Challenges