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Our newest blogger: Kayla Tannehill

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Hi, I am Kayla Tannehill, an on-site health coach at UPMC Mercy. My strong passion for preventive health led me to my career today.

I began with my bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Slippery Rock University, where I was very active in health and physical activity programs for adults and children with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. I had the opportunity to be part of everything from sports camps for children who were blind or visually impaired to skiing and horseback riding with people who had paraplegia or cerebral palsy. I attribute much of the creativity I have today to these experiences. I continued my education at California University of Pennsylvania and earned a master’s degree in Exercise Science: Health and Wellness Promotion.

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I worked as a personal trainer and healthy living coach at the YMCA, and later as an associate clinical exercise physiologist in cardiac and pulmonary rehab at UPMC Presbyterian. I had the chance to work with some amazing patients. Some were waiting for or had recently received heart or lung transplants. Others had survived a cardiac event, such as a heart attack, and required intervention such as a stent or open heart surgery. I gained so much knowledge and experience at Presby, and saw incredible cases and recoveries I will never forget.

As part of my job, I educated patients on lifestyle changes they could make in order to better their health and decrease the risk for future complications. Again and again, I met patients who were unaware of how their current lifestyle was affecting their health. This is what led me to becoming and on-site health coach. I want to help people make lifestyle changes long before they find themselves under the knife. Many risk factors for heart disease are modifiable, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Age and family history do play a part, but there are many ways people can help lower their risk. I want to help with this!boxer-dogs

My passion for preventive health plays a huge role at home, too. My husband and I live in the South Hills with two very energetic boxers and a baby on the way. Now that I’m pregnant, I have discovered a great love for yoga and Pilates and do a lot of walking in order to keep active. I have also become intrigued with pregnancy, labor and birth, and the pure joy of growing a little human! My husband and I love to visit farmer’s markets and are excited to plant our own raised garden this year. In our spare time, we love to find and repurpose furniture. We also own a photography business.

I look forward to sharing my experience and passion with you!