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Get Ready for Summer: Restore Lifestyle Balance

Spring is the time for cleaning up and for getting into shape for the summer ahead. In addition to the home and garden, it’s a great time to reinvigorate your personal health and wellness routine.

Restoring Balance, a Lifestyle Management Program offered by the Washington Hospital Women’s Center, offers practical information on how participants can develop individual lifestyle management initiatives to help them feel better, be more energetic and less stressed, says Dr. Victoria Leiphart, a Washington Hospital gynecologist and Lifestyle Medicine physician.

Starting on Wednesday, May 4, the three-week class will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Washington Hospital Women’s Center, 2500 Mowry Ave. (Washington West), suite 145, in Fremont. Fee for the three-week series is $45 and enrollment is limited to 25 persons to provide individualized attention. Please call 510.608.1301 to enroll.

Emphasizing stress management, along with nutrition and exercise, Dr. Leiphart will share strategies and instructions for meditation and mindfulness along with a discussion of the science that supports these practices.

Stress management is key to a healthy life, Dr. Leiphart says. “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.”

Dr. Leiphart will focus on mindfulness and meditation in the first session; exercise, balance and strength training in the second session; and nutrition in the third session. All programs will provide adequate time for questions and discussion within the group.

“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.”

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 and we spend three-to-five hours a day in front of the television or computer screen,” adds Dr. Leiphart. “Our lives are simply filled with stress from having too many balls in the air: aging parents, children, work, civic engagement, household responsibilities. Taking care of ourselves goes on the bottom of our ‘to-do’ lists, just after cleaning out the cat’s litter box,” Dr. Leiphart said.

“If women made themselves a higher priority on that list, if we took care of ourselves, we could manage everything else much more efficiently and with much less stress. Women are programmed to be caretakers of others in our lives, but not of ourselves.”

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

Research continues to demonstrate that illness and disease can be treated and even prevented with lifestyle management, she says. Various studies have shown that spending just 30 minutes each day exercising (walking, biking, yoga and aerobic dancing, among other activities) reduces knee arthritis pain by 47 percent in adults of all ages studied.

Once you’ve begun to exercise and feel the benefits in energy and vitality, you are much more likely to eat healthier, Dr. Leiphart says. Her program will share simple keys to portion control and healthier food choices.

“The goal is not to look younger, but to feel younger,” she adds. “Beauty and aging gracefully comes from fruits and vegetables.”

To learn more about the Washington Hospital Healthcare System, visit To find out more about the Washington Township Medical Foundation, visit

In addition to Restoring Balance, Dr. Leiphart offers a series of monthly programs, “Women Empowering Women,” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Washington Women’s Center conference room, suite 145 (Washington West), 2500 Mowry Ave., Fremont. Class fee is $10; call (510) 608-1301 to register.

Other Upcoming Programs:

  • April 21: Navigating Health and Aging; Discussion on Preventive Screening
  • May 19: Coping as a Caregiver
  • June 16: Stress Management