Saint Mary’s Fitness Center Celebrates American Heart Month!


February is American Heart Month and we’ve got a bunch of ways to help bring awareness to the issue of heart disease here at the Fitness Center!

Heart disease is the #1 killer in America, accounting for roughly 23% of all deaths in the US each year. There are a lot of things you can do to take control of your health and heart to prevent having issues in the future.

Luckily, by coming to the gym regularly, eating a well-rounded nutritious diet, and keeping to a healthy weight, you are already doing the right thing for your heart!

Here are some of the ways that you can participate with us this month and do a little extra to take care of yourself in the years ahead!

  • Friday, February 1st: National Wear Red Day – Wear red to the fitness center– we will be!
  • Join the Cardio Challenge! Anytime you participate in any of our cardio based classes (aqua fitness, cycle, cardio dance/Zumba, or a Cardio Quickie) and log it on our trackers (on the 3rd Floor by group ex and 1st Floor in the hallway to the pool!) The top 3 cardio hours logged will win some great prizes!
  • Try a Cardio Quickie Class – New in February! Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from noon-12:30 pm we have some brand new fun Cardio Quickie classes for you! Tuesday is Plyometrics with Christina, Thursday is Boxing Drills with Zach, and Friday is Mixed Bag Cardio Quickie with Rori! These classes begin February 1st and will run all month long! Let us know how you like them and maybe we’ll add them to the schedule!
  • Join us for the Hands Only CPR clinic on Wednesday, February 13th from 9-10 am in our lobby. This is free and open to the public. Learn the basics of CPR and be prepared to save a life if needed!
  • Sweat with your Sweetie Week! February 10-16th, members may bring their non-member sweeties to any Group Exercise classes (reformer Pilates & master swim excluded) for FREE! Be sure to check them in as a guest at the front desk on the way in!
  • HIIT it with Hanna begins on Friday, February 15th! Morning people looking for a quick pre-weekend morning workout on Friday mornings are welcome to join us in the group exercise studio from 6:30-7:15am. A combo of HIIT & Plyo drills, this class is not for the faint of heart and is designed to be an intense way to end your work-week!

Whatever you do, we hope you’ll use American Heart Month as a reminder to take care of your ticker, and to take preventative measures now, so you can live a long, active, and healthy life!



Dance 4 Life 2018 – Who Do You Dance For?


October 3, 2018 may have been a normal Wednesday for most, but for my family (shown above at the 1st Dance 4 Life Event 3 years ago) this marked the ten-year anniversary of my sister Amy’s passing. Over time the pain of losing her has lessened, but the pain caused from a suicide loss can never be completely healed.

My family was left with many unanswered questions. Was there was something we could have done? How could we have not seen the warning signs? Did we see the warning signs and choose to ignore them? The answers to all these questions will go unanswered, and we now know what happened was out of our control. What we do get to control is how we choose to remember her. Do we remember her as someone we lost to suicide? Or, do we remember the person she was at her best?

For many years we chose the first option. We mourned her loss at her birthday and at the anniversary of her suicide. We spoke of how she died often, and spent too much time trying to figure out “what went wrong”. Three years ago I decided something had to change. Enough time had passed that we needed to start processing the pain in a new, healthy way, for where we were in the grieving process. This was the start of our annual Dance for Life event

To hear my full story, and more details about how Dance for Life was created, read this post from 2016:

Our third annual Dance for Life event will be held on November 20, 2018 from 8:30am to 12pm at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center. This year’s event will be a $5-10 suggested donation and it will benefit the Crisis Call Center.

The schedule is as follows:
8:30 am: Welcome & Refreshments
9 am: Cardio Dance with John
10 am: Barre Basics with Stacey
11 am: Yoga with Eren

I would like to invite anyone who has lost someone to suicide to come, dance, and celebrate the lives of those we loved and lost. This year, ten years after my sisters passing, I will dance for Amy. A kind soul who touched everyone she met. Who will you dance for?

By: Eren Sanborn, Group Exercise Supervisor, Saint Mary’s Fitness Center

5 Tips for Mindful Eating During the Holidays


With the holidays approaching, now is a good time to begin thinking about how you’ll stay on track with your fitness and nutrition goals this season. Many of us treat the holidays as a free for all vowing to enjoy now and recommit January 1st.

But January 1st usually rolls around and you don’t feel great after the added holiday calories and less time spent being active. And, with the added sweets, chances are you are craving sugar more than ever. Here are our 5 top tips for avoiding these holiday eating pitfalls without completely avoiding all the fun too.

  1. Control portions of richer foods and fill up on extra veggies. A good motto to follow is “veggies most.” The more veggies you add to your plate, the less likely you’ll be to overeat the calorie dense stuff. Serve yourself a small portion of these yummy rich foods, and allow yourself to enjoy them. Just don’t overdo it.
  2. Only eat when you are hungry. One of the biggest problems people have during the holidays is all of the “treat” food that is around all of the time! Extra food and treats at work, parties with tons of sweets, and days spent cozy at home with friends and family. Mindless eating during these times can get you in trouble. If you allow yourself the occasional treat, that’s one thing, but daily overeating of these foods just because they are present all the time is what can get you in trouble.
  3. Plan ahead. Bring healthier snacks to work so you can avoid the stuff in the break room. Bring a healthy version of your favorite holiday dish to the potluck. Just serve one or two of your favorite high-calorie dishes at holiday dinner and opt for more veggie sides this year. There are lots of ways you can cut back if you plan ahead and commit to your plan.
  4. Make substitutions & track your eating. If you know you are going to a party for dinner, have a salad for lunch instead with a lighter dressing. If you know you want to have that cookie from the break room, give up dessert later that night. One of the best ways to stay on top of this is to use a food tracker app or keep a food diary. That way you have to record everything you eat and you have a visual reminder and can plan and adjust accordingly.
  5. Slow it down. Eating more slowly and taking frequent sips of water between bites can help give your brain enough time to send a message to your stomach that you are full. This will help avoid overeating and keep you from heading back for seconds.

And…even if you aren’t getting to the gym as much this time of year, find ways to stay active between holiday celebrations. Get the whole family out for a walk after a big meal, go outside and play a game of touch football, or a fun winter activity like snowshoeing, ice skating, or skiing. Any amount of exercise you can squeeze in during the holidays will help you get back on track in a routine come January.

If you have any other tips and tricks to share, please do so in the comments. In the meantime, we hope these will help you have a fun (and much lighter!) holiday season!

Just a little reminder…


With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to take the time to share some statistics with you and urge all women who qualify to get their annual mammograms.

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • 1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women ages 40-49.
  • 3 out of 4 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history and are not considered at high risk.
  • Annual screening once a year, every year starting at age 40, has been shown to save the most lives from breast cancer.
  • Mammography Saves Lives!

Have you heard of the newer 3-D mammography, tomosynthesis? This technology creates thin high resolution images through the breast, similar to a high definition movie. This can make cancer easier to detect. 3-D mammography offers many benefits, including:

  • Increased cancer detection rate
  • Decreased call back for additional images for normal overlapping breast tissue
  • Better visualization of abnormalities in dense breast tissue

To schedule your 3-D mammogram today, call Saint Mary’s at 775-770-3187

If you or someone you love is a female age 40 or older, encourage her to get an annual screening mammogram this October.

Let’s Paint the Stairs PINK!


This October, The Fitness Center will be celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month by selling pink ribbons to hang from our stairwells. All proceeds will go to Moms on the Run, a major sponsor of our Cancer Rehabilitation Program.

Moms on the Run is “a non-profit organization raising funds to assist northern Nevada women with everyday living expenses to help off-set medical expenses incurred while in treatment for breast & gynecological cancers.” Every month they provide scholarships to our Cancer Rehabilitation Program to women who could otherwise not afford it.

By providing these scholarships, these women are participate in our program lead by certified Cancer Exercise Specialists. These classes focus on regaining strength, rang of motion, balance and other aspects that cancer and its treatments may affect. Exercise after a cancer diagnosis can be very different and survivors should initially work with a trainer who specializes in the side effects to watch for. Below are three things that a Personal Trainer may not know, that a Cancer Exercise Specialist would:

  1. Knowledge of multiple types of cancers and the effect on the body: Cancer Exercise Specialists are trained to work with multiple types of cancers and how they, and their treatments, affect the function of the human body. A Personal Trainer may not understand the risk of lymphedema after certain treatments and the proper way to exercise to reduce this risk.
  2. Knowledge of the impairments that can follow a cancer diagnosis and its treatments: Often times survivors have decreased range of motion due to scar tissue build up, are at risk for or have developed lymphedema, suffer from peripheral neuropathy, and experience extreme fatigue. All of these can decrease a survivor ability to complete activities of daily living, but a Cancer Exercise Specialist is trained to work with survivors to reduce their side effects.
  3. Ability to screen and refer out when needed: A Cancer Exercise Specialist has the ability to screen for and notice complications such as lymphedema, axillary cording and significant range of motion loss. A Personal Trainer may lack the ability and knowledge to screen for these impairments and therefore not refer out to a Physical Therapist in a timely manner.

To purchase a ribbon and support Moms on the Run stop by our Service Desk during the month of October.

  • What: Supporting Moms on the Run by purchasing a pink ribbon
  • Where: Saint Mary’s Fitness Center; ribbons will be hung in the stairwell during the month of October
  • How: suggested donation of $1/ribbon; write your loved one’s name on the ribbon if you like

To learn more about Moms on the Run and learn other ways you can support them, you can go to their web site at

Also, every year on Mother’s Day, Moms on the Run hosts their annual footrace. Keep an eye for more information on this event and how you can join the Saint Mary’s team.

Volunteering – the Secret to Staying Healthy!


Did you know that Volunteering is almost a sure-fire way to improve your health and happiness? The benefits of volunteerism have been studied for years and the results are almost always the same. People who volunteer regularly feel happier, more connected to their community, and fulfilled in their lives.

Why is this? In a world where we are taught that our time is valuable and it should be exchanged for money, why are people reporting higher rates of happiness in correlation with the amount they volunteer? Well, there is a lot that can be gained from volunteering that you might not realize.

  • Volunteering connects you to others. Not only does volunteering for something that you care about connect you with like-minded people, it can also help you create stronger connections to your community, help you make new friends, and expand your network of contacts.
  • It’s good for your mind and body. The social aspect of volunteering can help combat depression, anxiety, and stress which can all greatly impact your overall health. Studies also show that volunteering can help boost self-confidence and keep you physically active all while giving you a greater sense of purpose.
  • Volunteering can help advance your career. You can learn valuable job skills just from volunteering! Things like organization, teamwork, communication, problem solving, and project management are all things you can potentially learn from volunteering. All of these things are very translatable jobs skills, not to mention volunteering looks great on a resume!
  • Volunteering is a fun way to explore your passions and interests allowing you to feel overall more fulfilled. It can often be an energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of life, and can offer plenty of opportunities for fun and excitement.

The options for volunteering are absolutely endless, so finding an organization you want to work with based on your interests should be pretty easy. For example, if you work an office job but love the outdoors, try volunteering with a local conservation group or at a community garden. If you love animals, a local shelter could be a fun place for you to help with walking and caring for the animals.

Ask yourself what your interests and passions are and seek out a group that aligns with that. Reach out to them and ask what kind of volunteer opportunities they might have. It’s usually as simple as that. Your time commitment doesn’t have to be huge to see benefits for both you and the organization. Even just a few hours a week is such a huge boost for you and for them!

And, if you have kids, that’s even better. By modeling for them the act of kindness through volunteerism and showing how happy it makes you to give your time, you are planting the seed encouraging them to giving back to their community as well.

And if you are local to the Reno/Tahoe area, Saint Mary’s Hospital is always looking for good volunteers to help with a variety of things from helping people find their way around the hospital to holding someone’s hand through a tough situation. We love our volunteers here at Saint Mary’s and are grateful every day for their service. This hospital could not run as smoothly without them. For more info on how to get involved with volunteering at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, please contact Aimee Guthrel at

How to Have a Healthier Back to School Experience This Year!

back to school healthy tipsIt is that time of year again!  Families are preparing themselves for the back to school rush. Or maybe your kids have already started.

Don’t panic!  Find time to work on preparing for this transition ahead of time if you can. If not, it’s not too late to begin practicing some healthy habits with your family!

First up, take the time to talk to your children as a family to see what concerns you or they might have, and brainstorm ways you can solve them.  How can you help?

The AAP suggests helping your child with the transition by being proactive.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Does your child need a buddy to get to school?
  • Does your child feel comfortable with their transportation to and from school?
  • How is the family going to transition to a normal sleep pattern now that summer is over?
  • Is your child’s backpack reflective, comfortable, and sitting properly?
  • What will your system be to make sure your child goes to school with nutritious and healthy meals?
  • Does your child know the protocol for any potential bullying?
  • Will your child be going to before or after school care?

If all of these things are already sorted out and running smoothly, think about other ways you can encourage well-being in your family, now that the hectic school season has started. How can you balance school with activities, homework, and down time? How can you ensure they are set up for success for these longer and fuller days?

With so much to consider, try to keep these things in mind to also ease the transition, or improve your current daily routine:

  • Eat food in as close to its natural state as possible, with healthy balanced meals.
  • Get and stay active outside of school at least a few days per week.
  • Keep screen time to a minimum.
  • Get to bed on time during the school week.
  • Take note of when things seem off and continue to adjust and re-assess.

By keeping some of these key tips in mind, you can make the start of the school year a lot smoother for everyone in your family. And remember, it may never be a perfect science, but that’s ok. The key is to keep stress levels low by going with with flow as much as possible and enjoy these exciting times as a family!

Happy back to school!