Dartmouth-Hitchcock adds fitness trail to campus

LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) There are new additions to a walking and jogging trail that loops around Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. It's designed to get more employees, families, and patients thinking about their own health.

Brian Hobart has worked at DHMC for 30 years. He often jogs the mile loop around the medical center on his down time. But, on this day, it's a first. "This is actually the first time I used the trail," Hobart said.

The enhanced "fit trail" is a new 10-station outdoor exercise system that includes stretching and workouts. Each station has instructions and diagrams.

"The thing I like about it is it does flexibility. It's not too tough. It doesn't beat you up but it's tough enough. You can do it at your own pace," Hobart said.

The fit trail was created by DHMC's Employee Wellness Department. "We are the foundation of Dartmouth," said Kara Maville, the department's health and wellness Coach. She says hundreds of people use the trail every day but the stations are designed to motivate more people to get out and about. That next step, she says, st to create fitness challenges that can be tracked online."Hopefully be instructor-led and just creating a couple week challenge around the fitness stations to really utilize it."

"You know, as part of wellness is actually taking care of yourself," said Dr. Joanne Conroy, DHMC's president. She says health care does not just take place within the facility's walls and that the trail is not just for employees. Patients and their families are also encouraged to try it out. "The most important factor in having people stay healthy is they have to have some ownership of their health. And that means making good behavioral decisions about what they eat, how much they exercise, but also managing their stress."

Something those in the industry say could ultimately affect how care is delivered. "If the employee isn't healthy, if I'm not healthy, then I really won't be my best to help others," Hobart said.

Health care coming full circle without stepping foot in the hospital.