CCM organizations to participate in Morris County health and fitness festival

Students, faculty to volunteer to raise health awareness

By Amanda Edwards
Staff Writer

The Randolph Pain Relief and Wellness Center (PRWC) will host the fourth annual Health, Fitness and Fun Fest between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Randolph Middle School on Middlebrook Road on Saturday, March 24.


Adults and children participate in the 2016 Morris County Health, Fitness, and Fun Fest. Photo Courtesy of: Randolph Pain Relief and Wellness Center

The event will feature approximately 65 local businesses and vendors, including County College of Morris.

“The college has been participating in this event since 2014, and the number of departments involved has since expanded,” said Dr. Michael Paul, chairperson of the health and exercise department. “This year, students and faculty from CCM’s school of health professions and natural sciences will be volunteering.”

“For the student volunteers, this event is an opportunity to put theory into practice,” said Monica Maraska, dean of health and natural sciences. “But for the wider community, we aim to promote health and wellness through various activities. Additionally, information will be available on any major under CCM’S School of Health Professions and Natural Sciences.”

For the event, Paul said that CCM will supply an automated Annie so that attendees can learn about practicing CPR, and a skeleton, that the biology faculty and students will use to teach anatomy.

Additionally, John Rutkowski, program director of the respiratory therapy program at CCM said he will “share information about pulmonary health and diseases.”

“I will have an actual swine’s lungs to demonstrate as well as a simulation of lungs damaged by smoke,” Rutkowski said.

Among the other activities are stretching sessions spearheaded by  Paul’s kinesiology class.

“Proper stretching can yield immense health benefits but improper stretching can result in serious injury,” Paul said. “The CCM students have been taught the protocol for stretching by Dr. David Simon, chiropractor and co-owner of Randolph PRWC, and so, they are ready to apply it.”

Also contributing, according to Maraska, is the landscape horticultural and technology department.

“They will be donating plants like basil and lavender, grown in the greenhouse at CCM, for aromatherapy,” Maraska said.

At the event, CCM will also have a raffle with gift cards to the CCM campus store as well as several other giveaways.

According to a press release by PRWC, other attractions include health screenings, fitness challenges, meditation sessions, free refreshments, games, arts and crafts, and a photo booth.

PRWC also invites attendees to take donations to support a collection drive in aid of the Randolph Animal Shelter. Contributions may include dog and cat food as well as cleaning supplies.

A novel idea: reading found to improve health

Opinion Editor

We have always been told reading was better for us than watching television, but until recently there was no concurrent evidence to support that theory. It was just something our parents told us to get us to turn off the television and pick up a book. The unfortunate truth however is reading is declining. In a techno-centric world, less and less people are picking up books and even fewer finishing them. The Pew Research Center surveyed people over the age of 18 back in 1978, when 92 percent of the country had read at least one book in the last year. In 2014 that number had dropped to 72 percent. In contrast, Americans are spending around 7.5 hours of their days passively browsing the internet, using their smartphones, and watching television.

A recent study published by Tohoku University found that there was, in fact, a negative impact of excessive and prolonged exposure to television. They monitored 276 children, from the ages 5-18 who watched between 0-4 hours of television a day. Finding that those children who watched more television had lower IQ’s, specifically in verbal intelligence. There was also a discovered correlation between those children who watched the most television, and an increase in grey matter in  the frontal cortex. The University stated they would have to run a larger experiment in order to prove causation, however this information by itself is still troubling.

On the opposite side, Emory University ran a study to see the impact of reading on the brain. 21 students were asked to read “Pompeii” by Robert Harris, 30 pages a night. Then in the morning they would come in for MRI’s and for 5 days after they finished reading the book. The study found a connectivity, specifically in the sensorimotor region and in the part of the brain responsible for language. But what was most shocking was the flare in the part of the brain that associates sensation in the body, called grounded cognition. In other words, reading can cause a physical sensation depending on what is happening in the book, to an extent. And these changes to the brain lasted for as long as 5 days after the novel was completed.

“The fact that we are detecting them over a few days for a randomly assigned novel suggests that your favorite novels could certainly have a bigger and longer-lasting effect on the biology of your brain,” said Gregory Berns, author of the study.

You could say that books are the cure, providing stimulation to the parts of the brain television desensitizes. According to the New York Times, digital format book (or e-books) will inevitably pass print books by the year 2018. So why then, when books are so easily accessible, and a person can press a button to download any piece of literature they desire, are people reading less? Whatever one’s particular preference in format is, an appreciation for literature needs to be emphasized. Books are changing with the times, as they should, having always been a reflection on the world around us. Long winding descriptions are being traded for shorter sentences, and a faster paced storyline, possibly due to our now shorter attention spans. With all of our health fads, let’s make the latest one a technology cleanse with an increase of reading in our diets. The health benefits would certainly be a lot more pleasurable than a juice cleanse, or the newest cabbage diet.