Excelsior's Wellness Initiative
Excelsior helps girls improve their physical wellness with healthy menus and a variety of exercise opportunities available to all girls. Excelsior’s campus-wide wellness initiative promotes healthy weight loss and increased physical activity.
By emphasizing exercise, sports and nutrition to our girls, they are reaping the rewards of an active, healthy lifestyle. In addition to the fun, team-building benefits, physical activity aids in increased imagination and creativity, increased discovery and reasoning skills, thought development and improved problem solving.
In these activities our girls are challenging their bodies, while working through their emotions. Additionally, the physical benefits of exercise positively impact major health risk factors. Physical activity has been shown to decrease the risk of smoking, illicit drug use, sexual risk taking, depression and suicide factors that already threaten this unique population.
"The girls are truly motivated and working on these wellness concepts. A side effect has been the renewed camaraderie that's developed. Exercising and menu planning/eating together is a safe way to develop team work," says Marty Zaffaroni, Team and Treatment Coordinator. "The girls are sleeping better and they are taking fewer medically prescribed drugs. We're very proud of their success."
An integral component in Excelsior's clinical approach to working with our girls is the Excelsior Wellness program. Excelsior's philosophy of providing a holistic approach to treatment includes addressing the spiritual, physical, social/emotional, mental and intellectual needs of the child. During their stay, our girls become healthier people emotionally, spiritually and physically while earning credits toward their education. The girls are provided opportunities to establish healthy nutritional and physical activity practices while developing a better understanding of the mind/body connection and healthy ways to manage stress.
Due to many of our girls' backgrounds, several have not had opportunities to participate in regular physical or recreational activities to promote a healthy lifestyle. Many lack the knowledge needed to understand the value of healthy nutrition and its impact on their daily functioning and sense of well-being. Many girls also arrive on Excelsior's campus battling substance abuse or are heavily medicated on psychotropic drugs. Many are overweight, de-conditioned physically and emotionally drained. To counter this destructive trend, providing opportunities for physical growth is a vital piece of Excelsior's program. Our girls are provided daily opportunities to exercise, participate in nutrition classes, weight management groups and other recreational activities to promote a healthy lifestyle. Excelsior continues to develop additional programming to enhance strategies to help promote weight loss, increase physical activity to enhance their personal wellness, improve their sense of self and significantly lower risk factors while gaining necessary life skills to prepare for self-sufficiency and a renewed sense of confidence.
The Wellness Program helps Excelsior Girls in the following ways:
- Increase positive behavior changes, increase energy levels and overall strength, and develop a higher level of interest in health and nutrition that may continue beyond Excelsior
- mprove self-esteem through physical exercise and renewed sense of their bodies
- Teach healthy habits, decreasing destructive lifestyle choices for long-term physical and emotional well being for this at-risk population
- Challenge our girls' bodies and minds in fun, engaging activities
- Teach lifelong fitness, sports, wellness, nutrition
- Expand stress and anxiety management techniques
- Enhance leadership and teamwork skills
Some of our current activities include:
- Kids Running Across America: our teens ran 25 miles a little each day and log their miles. Then, they ran the last mile during the Colfax marathon. Now our girls are training for another marathon in October, which ends at Elitch Gardens.
- Sunrise Exercise: girls do fitness training at 7 a.m.
- Low Impact Aerobics
- Summer Fitness Challenge: all girls on campus completed a fitness test and their progress will be re-assessed in August
- Two nights per week Bootcamp is offered. This will be a total body workout of cardio and strength training.
- Shapedown weight management program
- Nutrition Group
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