Wellness Wednesdays offered by AAA7

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A weekly livestream focusing on wellness opportunities through the Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) is featured each Wednesday on the AAA7 Facebook page. Wellness Wednesdays is featured each week at 10 a.m. with a new wellness topic for discussion during the broadcast.

As routines have changed through the pandemic, so too have the wellness programs offered through the AAA7. The agency offers a number of valuable and helpful programs designed to help individuals with their chronic conditions and other health concerns. Prior to the pandemic, the AAA7 would have these classes in person, but has moved them now to telephone classes.

Through Wellness Wednesdays the agency is able to expand the reach to share information about the programs available to help with chronic disease self-management, diabetes self-management, chronic pain self-management, falls management, and caregiver support. The goal is to increase knowledge about these programs and help more and more people learn to live with their chronic conditions and/or embrace helpful tips that can help individuals live healthier.

Recently, the topic of exercise was included as a discussion point during the livestream.

Regular exercise can improve strength, flexibility and endurance, and help reduce the risk of falling. Exercise can also lessen feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Regular exercise can help an individual sleep better, maintain a good weight, and keep bones strong.

The different types of exercise were explained including: endurance, flexibility, strength and balance.

Endurance exercises involve the large muscle groups in a continuous activity such as walking, biking, swimming and running. Many studies show that endurance exercises lessen fatigue and also ease depression and anxiety.

Flexibility exercises help participants move more comfortably and safely. Some examples include yoga, gentle stretching, and Tai Chi. Flexibility is also used in daily activities such as walking, bending and lifting.

Strengthening exercises require your muscles to do more work than they are used to doing. Examples include lifting weights, push-ups, sit-ups and squats. Strengthening is also used in everyday activities like climbing stairs, gardening, and opening boxes and doors.

Balance exercises help prevent falls. These can include a single leg stand, marching in place and lunges. In everyday activities, balance can be used when getting up from a chair, taking a shower, or leaning over to tie your shoe.

Physical Activity Guidelines, produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, set goals of how much physical activity an individual needs to be healthy. Adults should do moderate endurance (aerobic exercise) for at least 150 minutes, or two-and-a-half hours, each week. This would include a continuous activity that uses the large muscle groups such as walking, biking, running or swimming. Moderate endurance activities should be performed at least 10 minutes at a time, spread out through the week. Doing smaller sessions provides the same health benefits as longer sessions.

Sometimes, it can be difficult for an individual to start an exercise program, especially for someone with a chronic condition. The first step in overcoming exercise barriers is to set goals that are unique to you. It is also important to check with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program.

Make sure to keep your exercise goal in mind and choose exercises that you want to do. Keeping an exercise diary can help you make necessary changes and revising your program to meet your needs can help you be successful. Most importantly, have fun and reward yourself for a job well done.

Exercise is a topic that is discussed as a part of wellness classes at the AAA7 including Chronic Disease Self-Management, Diabetes Self-Management, and Chronic Pain Self-Management. Currently, these classes are being conducted over the telephone. If interested in participating in an upcoming class, call the AAA7 at 1-800-582-7277 or e-mail [email protected]

If you missed any of the Wellness Wednesday episodes, you can see a recorded version on the AAA7’s Facebook page or on the AAA7’s website at www.aaa7.org.

Submitted by Jenni Lewis, director of community outreach and training, Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.

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