Local health professionals prescribe time on the trails

In an era of chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes, you know what a treasure good health is. And good health means more than just exercise; it’s about overall wellbeing. On a global and national scale, mental health has revealed itself to be a key ingredient for safe, well-functioning communities and societies.

The good news is that leaders in Sheridan County continue to plan ahead with wellness at the forefront of their strategic considerations – right up there with economic development.

Whether it’s large employers like the local school districts or Cloud Peak Energy who use wellness as an incentive in the workplace, wellness is getting its well-deserved spotlight in our community.

And the spotlight isn’t just about going to the gym.

Healthy bodies, healthy minds

More local folks – and more local leaders – are talking about the importance of trails close to home.

One of these leaders is Kelly Lieb, a Physician Assistant at Sheridan Memorial Hospital. Kelly grew up here and has called Wyoming home her entire life. For Kelly, wellness of patients, as well as her own health, has always been important. But she knows it takes work.

“My coworkers and I lead busy, stressful lives and so do many people in our community,” she says. Before her twelve-hour shift in the hospital’s Urgent Care facility, you can often find Kelly walking or jogging near Big Horn with her two golden retrievers.

And as you might imagine, all three of them are huge fans of Red Grade Trails.

“Nowadays you have to take your kids outside, somewhere accessible, to instill an active lifestyle in them. Nobody wants their kids to become their patients one day.”
– Kelly Lieb, Physician Assistant

“It’s pretty amazing the difference Red Grade Trails has made in my workplace,” she explained. “A lot of folks who work here use the trails to bike or hike with their families. Nowadays you have to take your kids outside – somewhere accessible – to instill an active lifestyle in them. Nobody wants their kids to be their patients one day.”

A Prescription for good health and happy trails

As much as Kelly loves these trails, she loves sharing them even more.

“Many of the patients I see during my shifts are people who have significant health challenges, where getting active – and healthy – can seem incredibly daunting. And I’m not exaggerating when I say their lives depend on it,” she explained.

“Having to lose, say, sixty pounds – it’s scary. And confidence is hard. Often patients who need it most end up feeling overwhelmed and doing nothing if they don’t get the support they need.”

“I tell them to drive up to the Base parking lot and just take a walk… No one is judging you out there.”
– Kelly

“I tell them to drive up to the Base parking lot and just take a walk – it’s okay if they only go for five minutes and then come back. And they do it,” Kelly says, continuing, “I always tell them, ‘No one is judging you out there.’

And it’s true. These local trails make our community better, one step at a time. Plus, it’s making everyone appreciate that we have this open land to enjoy in the first place.”