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Restore Lifestyle Balance To Tune Up for Summer

New Year’s Resolutions are far behind and summer is just around the corner. The time in between — Spring Break as it were — is a great time to tune up one’s health and wellness routine.

“Restoring Balance,” a new Lifestyle Management program offered by the Washington Hospital Women’s Center, will jumpstart the transition into summer, according to Dr. Victoria Leiphart, a gynecologist and Lifestyle Medicine physician.

Emphasizing stress management, along with nutrition and exercise, “Restoring Balance” will provide practical information on how participants can develop individual lifestyle management initiatives that will help them feel better, be more energetic and less stressed.

The four-week program will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on successive Mondays, beginning April 27, at the Washington Hospital Women’s Center, 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West), Suite 145, in Fremont. Fee for the series is $75 and is limited to 20 persons to provide for individualized attention. Please call (510) 608-1301 to enroll.

With a focus on stress management, Dr. Leiphart will share strategies and instructions for meditation and mindfulness along with a discussion of the science that supports these practices. “We all live crazy lives and we seldom take the downtime we need to recharge our batteries — an essential step to staying well over the long term,” she says.

Stress management is key to a healthy life, Dr. Leiphart adds. Along with meditation and mindfulness she recommends a variety of activities for stress management which can include prayer, knitting, yoga, and/or spending time with women friends on a regular basis.

“I see many mature women in my practice,” Dr. Leiphart says. “The ones who are energetic, vital and engaged have three things in common: they exercise, watch what they eat, and manage the stress in their lives.”

She keeps the class size small so she can adjust the discussions to meet the needs and interests of the individual participants. In addition to class discussions, participants will receive supplemental informational and reference materials to take home. Two-thirds of American women are overweight or obese, and for middle-aged and older women, the number is even higher. “One in three meals is eaten outside the home; we spend three-to-four hours a day in front of the television or computer screen; our lives are filled with stress from having too many balls in the air: aging parents, children, work, civic engagement, household responsibilities.”

Research continues to demonstrate that illness and disease can be treated and even prevented with lifestyle management, Dr. Leiphart adds. Various studies have shown that spending just a half-hour each day exercising (walking, biking, yoga, aerobic dancing, among other activities) reduces knee arthritis pain by 47 percent in adults of all ages studied.

Exercise is the single most important action a person can take to improve one’s health, she adds, and “you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to see improvements.”

The key is taking small sustainable steps: walking 10 minutes a day at the start (five minutes out the door, turn around, five minutes back). Increase the time gradually and steadily and soon its 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and so on. The greatest improvement in cardiovascular health is with individuals who go from no exercise to one hour a week, over time, Dr. Leiphart says.

Once a person has begun to exercise and feel the benefits in energy and vitality, that person is much more likely to eat healthier, according to Dr. Leiphart. The program will share simple keys to portion control and healthier food choices.

In addition to Lifestyle Management programs, the Washington Women’s Center offers a variety of gentle exercise programs including Tai Chi, Zumba Gold, Yoga and Keep It Moving classes.To learn more about Washington Hospital Healthcare System, visit To find out more about Washington Township Medical Foundation, visit