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Healthwatch 16: Trail to wellness at Geisinger Wyoming Valley

A new place to take a walk is open for patients, visitors, and staff.

PLAINS, Pa. — There is a lot of parking space at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for the hundreds of people who visit and work there every day. A few years ago, Chief Administrative Officer Ron Beer noticed that people were using this for more than just parking.

"A lot of employees and a lot of family members were walking through the parking lot. They would spend from about April to October, every lunch break, every break during the morning, every break during the evening," said Beer.

But the lot wasn't built for pedestrian traffic. So now, there's a new wellness trail, and it's open to staff, visitors, and patients.

"For our patients, I think it's a good thing that visitors are stressed as they said, you know, over bad decisions you have to make, or you just got a really bad diagnosis," said Katie George, a guest services manager. "I think this is a benefit to our community, to our patients, to our visitors."

"As you'll see, as you walk along the trail, we've got rocks strewn every short interval, and those are all painted by our staff members with inspirational messages to each other, and also by some members of our community, our patients," said Dan Landesburg, associate vice president for clinical operations.

This serves as a place to get a break and for many to get some essential exercise.

"Walking has been shown to be one of the single most important things we can do for our health – improves circulation, improves muscle strength, helps with keeping our bones strong," said Michael DiMare, administrative director. "From what we've seen in the last two years, more importantly, it really helps with our mental status and our meditation."

"There's multiple access points, so that is even nice. So if you walk from one entrance, you can hop onto the trail and then bring yourself back or walk into the building," added George.

Fundraising is underway to make the trail longer. When it's complete, the trail will be a mile and a half loop for visitors to enjoy.

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