[CHARLESTON COUNTY] – The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) is proud to announce a partnership with Roper St. Francis Physicians Endowment to launch a health and wellness program called Move IT! Charleston County. This partnership leverages the medical expertise of physicians and organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association, park and recreation resources, technology, and the Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines to create a model for community health and wellness using both physician-referred and self-referred approaches.
The physician-referred approach to Move IT! Charleston County allows participating Roper St. Francis physicians to identify patients with chronic health conditions who would benefit from physical activity and refer them to the program. In turn, highly specialized health and wellness professionals will lead classes specifically designed for patients managing chronic conditions. The format blends structured physical activity with targeted health education and healthy lifestyle strategies to promote health and well-being. Participants will engage in this program at various locations, including select Charleston County Parks’ facilities. Participating patients’ health will be tracked and measured throughout the program.
“Working with patients managing chronic conditions is so rewarding,” says Reginald Ellington, an “Exercise is Medicine” health and wellness professional. “It is rare that a class goes by without someone sharing their successes, and reaching milestones they once thought unattainable before starting the program - from physicians choosing to reduce their medications to having the stamina to work in the yard without stopping. It warms my heart and makes me smile. What a great opportunity to play a role in their success!”
“We know that exercise is a prescription for managed health,” said John Holloway, CEO of the Medical Society of South Carolina. “Move It! Charleston County is geared for Lowcountry residents with pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes and congenital heart disease. The program was developed by the Medical Society of South Carolina through the Roper St. Francis Physicians Endowment in partnership with Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission.”
“It’s unique that a private and public partnership of community and healthcare professionals can work together to enhance community health,” Holloway said. “The Move It! Charleston County program is designed to inform patients that exercise can benefit their quality of life. We hope that it will create an awareness of healthy activities that motivate accountability for healthy lives.”
One of the program’s initial participants, Mary Galleghar (pictured), was referred to the Move IT! program by her physician and thanks Move IT! for her rehabilitation and fitness. “Some of my joints and load-bearing bones had to be replaced with metal after I was involved in a series of accidents. Because of that, it is important for me to keep physically active,” said Galleghar. “As a regular participant in Move IT! physician-referred classes, I have reduced my need for pain meds, stabilized my weight, increased my stamina, improved my balance and I manage stress better, too.”
Dr. Valerie Scott, a board-certified family medicine practitioner and member of Roper St. Francis Physician Partners, says she has enjoyed referring patients to the Move IT! program for about two years. For those who progressed through the program she says, “I have noticed improvements in blood pressure and blood sugar control. They have better outlooks on life and are managing stress better. Many thank me every time I see them for getting them involved in the program. They love the exercise and the group of people there.”
“It certainly warms my heart to see patients who are uncertain about exercise come back after participating in the program and proudly announce that they are now addicted to exercise,” said Dr. Scott.
CCPRC Executive Director Tom O’Rourke echoes the excitement about this partnership with Roper St. Francis. “What a great opportunity to be a part of something that will provide long-term health and wellness benefits to the community,” said O’Rourke. “Health and Wellness is one of Charleston County Parks’ core values, and this program helps accelerate our growth in that area.”
With the Move IT! self-referred program, participants can select the level of fitness that meets their needs and goals, register for outdoor fitness classes, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Charleston County Parks. Outdoor workouts, often dubbed “green exercise,” have been touted as a great alternative to the gym because of the calming effects that communing with nature has proven to provide.
Benefits of contact with the great outdoors has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and provide enhanced survival and recovery after a heart attack or surgery. Vitamin D, supplied by sunshine, has been shown to help ward off a variety of diseases and build bone strength. Not to mention, Mother Nature can be more nurturing than a gym when it comes to mood, self-esteem and mental health.
The self-referred programs are open to the public and help individuals gradually and safely progress from low to high levels of activity. Courses range from offerings that help improve participants’ overall health; others can support weight lose through calorie-burning or train enrollees for athletic events like races or other competitions. Self-referred programs include: the Walk and Restore program, which combines walking on the trails of James Island County Park or Caw Caw Interpretive Center with stretching and restorative yoga; yoSUP, which combines yoga with Stand Up Paddleboarding; iSUP, which combines intervals of yoga, Barre and pilates with Stand Up Paddleboarding on the lake at James Island County Park; the calorie-burning Short Circuit class at James Island and Palmetto Islands County Parks; and CCPRC’s race-training programs like Run your Way to a 10K or the Sprint Triathlon 101 Clinic.
The Move IT! Charleston County self-referred programs are open to the public and are available for registration through CCPRC. Interested participants of all ages and levels of athletic ability are invited to take part. For more information and to register for Move IT! self-referred programs, call 843-795-4386 or visit CharlestonCountyParks.com/Fitness, or visit the link below.