Proactive Health Care on Location with Activities at Hilton Head Health
Located on Hilton Head Island on the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, and founded in 1976 by behavioral psychologist Dr. Peter Miller, Hilton Head Health (H3) is a pioneer in the field of proactive health care. Their programs are built on the philosophy that personal responsibility along with the development of healthy habits are the keys to a longer and healthier life.
Beyond the comfortable rooms at the multi- award-winning Hilton Head Health, lodging is also available at the two-story, Sweetgrass Inn which opened in March of 2021 and offers 30 rooms and suites. Its name pays tribute to the local Gullah people, who have woven the strong, yet pliable, sweetgrass leaves into beautiful and useful baskets for centuries. The baskets are incorporated into the décor of the inn to highlight the Gullah heritage. According to the H3 site, these,“Remind guests that both inner and outer strength along with flexibility are the foundations of a healthy and productive life.”
We spoke with Program Director David Chesworth about this island retreat and how he incorporates wellness into his own life.
How long have you been with Hilton Head Health, and what do you do with this property?
I have been with Hilton Head Health for ten years and I currently oversee the development and delivery of our program experiences.
There are so many hotels, resorts, retreats and tour operators offering wellness programs and packages – tell us a bit about Hilton Head Health, and what are the main points of distinction?
Hilton Head Health (H3) is a destination health and weight loss retreat. People come here because they either wish to vacation somewhere beautiful and know that they can go home healthier than they left, or, because they are ready to make a serious change in their lifestyle and become the best versions of themselves.
H3 is an immersive experience where the healthy choice is the easy choice. Balancing between the three pillars of fitness (move well), nutrition (eat well), self (be well), H3 offers a well-rounded systematic approach to wellness. We offer a diverse range of experiences from fitness classes, educational seminars, workshops, interactive healthy cooking experiences, spa services and more in order to create the ideal personal touch experience for our guests.
Ultimately, our guests come here so that they can “turn healthy into habit.”
What pandemic-inspired policies and procedures has Hilton Head Health implemented to keep travelers healthy and safe?
Following CDC guidance, Hilton Head Health no longer requires indoor use of face masks and/or coverings, however, at their discretion, guests and staff may choose to mask at any time. Unlike the larger health resorts, which have difficulties limiting the number of guests at any given time, Hilton Head Health is a smaller resort with a lower total capacity. This subsequently reduces the risk of exposure to Covid-19 while also allowing us to provide individualized attention to every guest.
We also offer a wide variety of courses, seminars, and programs, which means each class size is diminished and personalized. We will continue to take every possible precaution to ensure the well-being of our guests, including placing hand sanitizer stations throughout the campus and requesting regular temperature checks. While many of our guests and staff self-report that they are fully vaccinated, we do not have a requirement to provide proof of vaccination.
What does Hilton Head Health offer that might attract a customer like the readers of LA Yoga?
Although Hilton Head Healthy (H3) has Yoga programs, it is not exclusively a Yoga retreat. Offering evidence-based and holistic programs, H3 is the perfect healthy vacation destination for someone looking to stay connected to Yoga and Pilates while also experiencing a diverse offering of other fitness class styles, interactive cooking experiences, and educational health and wellness workshops.
H3 also makes for a great location to refer friends and associates who are looking to vacation somewhere and return home healthier. And, if weight-loss happens to be a goal, chances are they will lose weight along the way.
How do you incorporate wellness into your own daily life?
My greatest passion in the universe of health and wellness is human movement. My wife and I have turned our garage into a gym. If I’m not doing strength and conditioning workout that day, it’s because I’m doing a stretch and relaxation routine instead. I love seeing how strong I can get without sacrificing mobility along the way. In addition to this, I practice mindfulness and gratitude regularly throughout the week to keep my mental health in check. From a nutritional standpoint, my wife and I enjoy experimenting with at least one new healthy recipe each week.
What are the top wellness trends you seeing at Hilton Head Health?
I can speak to our popular classes. To preface this, H3 offers a wide variety of classes ranging from Barre, cardio machines, yoga, strength circuits, tabata, aquatics, TRX, outdoor bootcamps, and more.
We provide a safe space environment for people who may be too nervous to try these things back home so they can discover whether or not they enjoy the activity. Currently the most popular classes at H3 are aquatic classes, strength machine circuit classes, and Cardio Boxing classes.
Do you feel technology is important as it pertains to wellness, and if yes, how and why? If no, why not?
Technology can be a wonderful support for many, and a potential distraction for others. Technology is best thought of as a tool that, when applied appropriately, will make success much easier.
For instance, if you have a goal of getting in 10,000 steps per day, it would be close to impossible to accurately track that without technology. Can you imagine mindfully couting every single step you take each day? For a goal like this, it is extremely helpful to have a device tracking this for you allowing you to redirect your mindful energy towards the experiences you are having in the world around you as opposed to the thousands of steps you are taking. In addition, to visually see how many steps you’re taking can be a motivating thing. With too few steps, you may be motivated to take an extra walk. With too many steps, you may feel good about being an over-achiever. And with the exact amount of steps, reveling in the success of having accomplished your goal.
Technology has also made it possible to work with programs and coaches remotely and in the comfort of your own home. H3 has recently launched a “Hilton Head Health at Home” program capitalizing on “ONDemand” technology, tracking apps, and remote coaching. This has been a powerful and helpful tool for our guests/clients in helping them to not only reach their goals, but maintain them, and take them further than they thought possible.
Do you and, if yes, how do you incorporate the local community or culture into the programing at Hilton Head Health?
We have partnered with multiple local partners to share the beauty of the nature and culture of the lowcountry area that we live in. From dolphin cruises, to barrier island tours, nature hikes and kayaking trips, we love to show off our beautiful location to our guests and to that we work with the communities of Hilton Head Island.
What is your final note of advice for living your best life?
Success in any goal cannot be sustained with an empty tank. Too often, people find themselves making goals around things they feel they “have to do” or “should be doing” in order to be healthy. This results in drained mental, emotional, spiritual energy and leading to burn out. Be sure to incorporate goals that result in “filling your tank” more often than the goals that deplete your tank.
In other words, find physical activities you enjoy, healthy foods that you love, and cultivate hobbies and skills that bring you joy. While it’s not always the quickest road to your goals, but it’s the most bulletproof road to living your best life.
Co-Founder and President /CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association, Anne Dimon has been a travel writer and industry journalist for close to 25 years, and has traveled the world as a columnist/contributor to a variety of publications. Anne is also Owner/ Editor of TravelToWellness.com launched in 2004 as the first online magazine/resource for the wellness-minded traveler. Prior to her life as a journalist, Anne was president of her own public relations company specializing in hospitality. She has also worked in the hotel industry as a director of public relations. An acknowledged wellness travel expert and industry consultant, Anne is also the co-author of The Travel Institute’s new Wellness Travel Specialist Course.