Hospitals are places that we think of as somewhere to go to for injuries, surgeries or medical testing. But there’s a local hospital that is doing more than just treating patients.
Located in Bethlehem Township off of Freemansburg Avenue just west of Route 33 is the St. Luke’s Anderson Campus. Besides being a fully-staffed hospital there are opportunities here to get healthy through exercise and healthy eating.
Behind the hospital is the lovely Ladies Auxiliary Garden which has a large pond with a fountain, gazebo, amphitheater, benches, well-groomed flowers and plants. An approximately .3 mile long paved walkway goes around the pond. It is a wonderful place for a stroll. At the pond you may see geese, ducks and even an occasional Great Blue Heron or Green Heron.
There is also a walking and jogging trail which starts and finishes at the garden. It goes through a large field. The trail out and back is slightly less than 2 miles. It starts out paved but quickly turns to packed cinders. Most of the trail is cindered except for a few short paved sections that had been prone to washouts.
Expect to see house wrens, tree swallows, bluebirds, sparrows, flycatchers, finches, mourning doves and even hawks. Out in the field and along the tree lines; look for deer, groundhogs and an occasional fox. Deer tracks can be spotted on the cindered trail especially after a rain storm.
A walk or jog through the field can be breezy at times. In mid-summer it can get quite warm due to lack of shade and in winter it can be rather windy and chilly. There are 2 emergency call boxes on the trail but no benches at the present time. Also, it can be noisy at the gardens as there is construction of new buildings at the hospital complex.
After a walk on the trail visit the cafeteria for a refreshment or a meal. The food is really good and prices are inexpensive. And there are some very healthy options available.
St. Luke’s University Health Network has partnered with the Rodale Institute to develop the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm located on the Anderson Campus. The farm is providing locally grown organic produce which is being used throughout the St. Luke’s entire network of cafeterias.
Development of the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm allows the hospital to continue providing patients with a holistic health care experience that creates a positive atmosphere for health and healing by providing patients, visitors, and staff members with local grown organic produce. Excess produce is sold to staff members and the community allowing these individuals to make healthy eating choices in their own homes, contributing to healthier lifestyles.
“Organic fruits and vegetables offer many advantages over conventionally grown foods,” says Dr. Bonnie Coyle, director of community health for St. Luke’s. They offer higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants which contribute to a reduced incidence of heart disease and lower the risk of some cancers and allergies.
To supply fresh organic produce a wide variety of different produce items are planted on the 10-acre farm which can harvest over 45,000 pounds of produce. Some of the crops that are harvested throughout the year include: lettuce/salad greens, broccoli, tomatoes (cherry, paste, and slicers), peppers (sweet and hot), cucumbers, summer squash, Swiss chard and kale, garlic, cabbage, beets, potatoes, and herbs (dill, cilantro, basil, sage and thyme).
The farm is also home to bee hives, bat houses and wildflower gardens. The bees are producing raw honey which will begin to be harvested this year.
The outdoor growing season at the farm is able to be extended due to the addition of a 1,000 square foot greenhouse on the property, as well as continued utilization of the 1,120 sq. foot hoop house (greenhouse).
There is a 25 percent price reduction on all network salad bar purchases which was initiated to increase access to and affordability of healthy food choices to customers. Each campus has weekly farmer’s markets in their hospital cafeterias where farm fresh produce is available for purchase for patients, employees and visitors.
Located on a 20,000 square foot piece of land behind the hospital at St. Luke’s Anderson Campus, a Community Gardens allows St. Luke’s University Health Network employees to use the campus as an avenue to increase awareness about the importance of healthy eating and to encourage individuals to grow some of their own food.
The St. Luke’s Community Garden which opened in 2014 was originated from a St. Luke’s employees’ suggestion. It was executed with the goal of initiating wellness programs that embrace the St. Luke’s culture for employees, patients and visitors.
The mission of the community garden is to strengthen collaboration among employees by maintaining a community garden that provides a common ground for employees and members to garden together and get to know each other.
St. Luke’s also offers 2 Health and Fitness Centers, one at Anderson and the other on Commerce Way in Bethlehem.
Opened in September 2011, at Anderson, the 7,500 square foot facility is equipped with a unique variety of cardio and strength development equipment. This includes total body circuits of Cybex® and MedX® strength development systems. A Group Fitness class schedule and child sitting services are also offered. Located at the Medical Office Building on the Ground Floor. Phone: 484-503-0100
At 15,000 square feet, the Commerce Way Health & Fitness Center is the larger of the two Lehigh Valley centers. This center provides the most extensive cardio, strength training and flexibility training areas. It features the first Total Body MedX® strength development circuit in the region. The Commerce Way facility has a 30-yard indoor synthetic turf training area for speed and agility development. A wide range of Group Fitness classes and child sitting are available to members. Located at 77 South Commerce Way on the Third Floor. Phone: 484-526-3177
Also, don’t forget about the award winning St. Luke’s Get Your Tail On the Trail Challenge. It’s a fun program where participants can walk, ride or run to complete a 165 Mile Challenge. It’s free, anyone can register and participate. By using an online program to keep track of your miles you can get into shape and earn quality prizes.
Participants are encouraged to use the 165-mile D&L Trail as much as possible during the challenge but other trails and walkways can also be used. It is also possible to include the use of indoor equipment such as a treadmill or elliptical.
It’s a fun and healthy way to meet new people. There are scheduled events which are held throughout the challenge to motivate you, to teach you about healthy lifestyles and to learn more about the D&L Trail. But you are basically on your own going at your own pace. Get your family members and friends to join in.
Take the 165 Mile Challenge which runs from May 1, 2016, to November 1, 2016.