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17 January 2018

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

By Julianne LaSmith:

The complete phrase is “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” It’s the adaption of similar phrases like “Talk is cheap”, “Actions speak louder than words” or “Practice what you preach”. Too often we’re given excellent advice from people who definitely don’t walk the walk. In healthcare it becomes even more important to be seen as healthy people healing others. However, it isn’t always the case. But at Northern Montana Health Care we have several examples of folks who do practice what they preach.

Randy Holland, PA-C, is a cyclist. For the last 20+ years he has competed in dozens of bike races. He enjoys the speed and intensity of the race. He competes regularly in the Big Sky Games held in Billings every year; as well as the “Peaks to Prairie Adventure Race” that runs from the Beartooth Mountains to the Yellowstone River.

But having spent the majority of his adult life in Montana or North Dakota; riding outside isn’t always possible. So he turned to Indoor Cycling as a way to stay in shape.

Indoor Cycling has been around since the early 1990s, but has recently been more popular. With the advent of adding music and video to the experience it can be a high-tech activity involving sophisticated stationary bikes and a live-streaming of instructors; or low-tech, achieved by using a regular training bike  with a stand making it stationary. Either way, it is a very effective cardio and strength workout. It works your core, glutes, calves, quads, and hamstrings, burning lots of calories as you ride along.

So while living in Miles City in 2004, Randy approached a local gym about offering Indoor Cycling classes. He offered his services as an instructor and set about learning how to do so. His classes quickly became popular and were offered 4 times a week.

When Randy and his wife moved to Havre two years ago, he again approached a local gym about offering the classes. This time it was Jeff Healy, owner of “The Zoo” located at the Havre holiday Village Mall. “I asked Jeff if he was interested in being able to offer this class to his customers. He purchased the equipment and we were ready to roll.” Stated Randy Holland. “We grew to 3 classes per week with 7 bikes. It’s an intense training session but can be tailored to newcomers very easily. No one should be intimidated to try this.”

Exercise has become a “natural anti-depressant” for Randy as well as a stress reliever. He typically works out at the end of the day as a way of reclaiming his calm. If he is not teaching, he uses a stationary bike stand at home, as well as strength training with weights. “The movements used in cycling are repetitive so it can cause stress on muscle groups. Weight-lifting allows me to compensate for that, which in turn helps me with my racing.” adds Randy.

While regular exercise comes naturally to Randy, he feels everyone should work to make it a habit in their lives as well. He truly believes in the adage that “Exercise is Medicine”; which coincidentally is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Started as a way to encourage medical providers to include exercise when recommending treatment plans for their patients. Randy, a Physician Assistant in the Internal Medicine Department at the Northern Montana Specialty Medical Center, advises his patients to add fitness to their days for a more healthful life.

In addition to enjoying the healthful aspects of fitness in his life, Randy enjoys the euphoria experienced when cycling. He tries to find time every day to move his body. “Getting started is the first step. Once it becomes a habit to exercise it becomes second nature.” adds Randy. A video for “The Zoo” can be found on YouTube under “Zoo Health Club – Havre, MT”.

Jennifer Archibald, PA-C is a Montanan from birth. She returned to Montana from the east coast a little over a year ago. She was working for a surgical assistance practice while there. The hours were long and she spent quite a bit of time commuting from different hospitals. Some changes in her personal situation made for a very stressful time for Jenn. But luckily she stumbled across a Kickboxing class.

Kickboxing is an aerobic workout that combines the punching of boxing with the kicks from karate. It’s been around since the 1970s but has grown in popularity in recent years. While any form of exercise can relieve stress, kickboxing has the added bonus of providing the participants an actual punching bag. Normally done in a gym with upbeat music as accompaniment, it is a very energizing workout.

For Jenn kickboxing became a lifeline. It helped her improve her health immensely. After moving to Havre just over a year ago, Jenn unfortunately realized that there were no Kickboxing classes here. So she approached Amanda Solomon, the owner of “The Garage”, a local workout facility, and offered to teach for her. She now teaches two classes a week there.

In addition to teaching Kickboxing, Jenn uses it as her personal workout on the off days. She is also an avid hiker, (Mt. Otis being a favorite destination of hers), a kayaker, a horseback rider and a runner. She recently competed in the Montana Spartan Race.

Jenn sees patients in the Orthopedic Department at the Northern Montana Specialty Medical Center. Quite often her patients are athletes and exercise enthusiasts like her. She’s better able to help these folks as she has experienced similar issues. But it also helps her when the patient is not an active person as she can relate to that as well. “I give credit to Kickboxing for helping me be healthier and I love a chance to help my patients move into a better place for themselves.” says Jenn. “Exercising helps people by giving them a mental break from their lives. It also teaches discipline that can translate into other aspects of someone’s life.”

Information about Jenn’s Kickboxing classes can be found on the Facebook page of The Garage. If you decide to try Jenn’s class, bring water. Lots of water!

For Kristi Burr, RT, the decision to pursue a healthier body was based on a personal sorrow. A cherished family member was diagnosed with cancer. In an effort to encourage her aunt to fight the cancer, Kristi suggested that the two of them train for and run a marathon.

Kristi had been a runner but had experienced some issues with weakness when running. After doing some research, she discovered a new fitness class called “PiYo” sponsored by the Beachbody Company. PiYo is a combination of Pilates and Yoga; it is a low impact, high intensity cardio workout; perfect for those folks who are training their bodies for other fitness goals, such as marathons. As there were no classes being taught in this area, Kristi decided she needed to become an instructor for it. After traveling to Idaho for her training, Kristi started teaching the classes here in Havre at the Amped Fitness facility owned by Kelly Cunningham.

The class that she teaches is called “PiYo Live”; as opposed to doing the class along to a video. Her association with the Beachbody Company ensures that the moves used in the class change bi-monthly keeping her students energized and motivated. The class is 45 minutes in length and features some very fun music.

At Northern Montana Health Care, Kristi works as a Radiation Therapist administering radiation treatments to patients at the Northern Montana Sletten Cancer Center. She feels that the lessons she has learned from teaching her classes pay off when dealing with her patients. Kristi states, “Quite often people try to do too much too quickly while undergoing cancer treatments. My training helps me to better advise them on how to move their body and how to adapt for their restrictions.”

The release of endorphins caused by regular exercise is another benefit for Kristi. In addition to teaching her PiYo classes, Kristi regularly runs. Stress release, and what she refers to as her “Me Time”, are also important benefits of fitness to Kristi.

Sadly Kristi’s aunt did not survive her cancer. But Kristi is carrying on in her aunt’s memory and will be running a marathon in 2018 in her honor.

Kristi’s PiYo classes are held at the Amped Fitness facility at 6:00 pm on Thursdays and 7:30 am on Saturdays.