Starting a new year often means making resolutions or setting goals for the year, and if improving your health is one of those things, you’re not alone.
According to a 2023 Forbes article, nearly 40 percent of people will set goals at the beginning of the year, most of which involve improving their physical health. However, only 9% of those who made up their minds were able to achieve their wishes. When setting and maintaining health goals, many people fail to consider the mental health benefits of improved physical health.
That’s what three medical specialists at EHP Performance in Moorhead aim to bring together a medical fitness facility. They help athletes of all types achieve a healthy lifestyle through exercise, mental health and improved nutrition.
Karla Wolford, Dr. Lizette Sunde and Melanie Fierstine work together to help athletes become better versions of themselves without using drugs or restricting diets.
“We work with people who want more in their lives; they want to find out what makes them feel alive,” says Wolford, a certified chiropractic exercise physician and certified strength and conditioning coach. She started EHP Performance because she saw mental health plummet during COVID and wanted to create a gym that could use fitness to improve mental health. “I prescribe exercise to people,” she said.
The idea of a prescription for exercise is important because people take their daily activities more seriously when they see it as part of an overall treatment plan, Wolford said. Plus, everyone who comes to EHP is an athlete, plain and simple.
“An athlete is anyone who exercises intentionally,” says Wolford. “It could be the grandmother coming in to improve herself so she can move more easily with her grandchildren.”
The “why” of wanting to improve your physical and mental health is critical to sticking with your goals. Knowing the reasons behind achieving your goals will increase your motivation and discipline, especially if you also develop habits and frameworks for working towards your goals. “Everyone is different, so we listen to people and what they’re looking for to create a plan that works for them and their lives,” Wolford said.
Fierstine and Sunde echo these thoughts.
Fierstine, a licensed independent social worker with 20 years of experience and now on the faculty at Minnesota State University Moorhead, helps people overcome over- Barriers to a healthy lifestyle.
“Exercise is a great tool for managing or treating anxiety and depression because it releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins,” she explains. “Connecting your mind and body is a powerful form of meditation that can help you feel stronger and have a clearer mind.”
Sunde, a physical therapist and board-certified orthopedic specialist, as well as a certified strength and conditioning coach, helps people heal and strengthen their bodies by helping them return to health safely. When she works with athletes, she also asks about other aspects of their lives that affect their physical health, such as sleep habits, nutrition and mental health, so she can refer them to a doctor.
All three women are not only healthcare professionals, but also mothers at different stages of their parenting journey, so they understand the unique challenges mothers face when it comes to their physical and mental health.
“If you’re a mom, you have to take care of yourself first,” Sunde said. “Reach out and invite other people, or be bold and try something new. Do what fits your schedule and makes you feel good.”
Sticking to an important goal, like improving your physical health, might mean evaluating your priorities to see if you’re spending your time and attention on things you don’t enjoy, suggests Wolford.
Fierstine also points out that health is important to everyone, so if involving your family in your goals will help you achieve them, do it. “At EHP, we have people of every age and even families,” she explained.
Whatever your goals for 2023, these three women say doing something is better than doing nothing.
“It wasn’t easy at first,” admits Fierstine. “But if you can get up and move in any way, that’s a good thing… If you set a goal and then miss a day or something, don’t give up. Just adjust the plan and don’t be too hard on yourself gone.”
For more information on EHP Performance or to contact any of these three medical experts, visit ehpperformance.com/about-us/.