BY MARK WEBER
Two programs are continuing via the Primary Care Network in Lacombe, one aimed at enhancing seniors’ fitness and the other for those dealing with chronic health conditions.
Heather Mielke, an exercise specialist with the Wolf Creek Primary Care Network, said that two years ago she applied for a grant from the City of Lacombe to develop and run the program ‘Aging Well’. Described as an active exercise program for seniors who are living independently in the community, she said the focus is on functional fitness, meaning that the goal is to maintain independence and mobility.
Since that initial class ran, Mielke has been able to continue the program by finding groups and organizations that can offer space. “I was approached a few times over the year from different places in Lacombe where seniors are, and they would offer me space. And I would then offer the class to them.”
She has a new session starting this month. “This is a continuation of it. The Lacombe Action Group has provided me with space for this session,” she said. “It’s not only open to Lacombe Action Group clients, it’s for anybody that is interested, too.”
This particular session begins on Oct. 17th. For more information about registering, call Mielke at 403-782-1408.
“I think that as we age, independence becomes more and more important,” she said. “I wanted it to translate into something beneficial to their everyday (routines),” she said, adding the program helps with everything from helping seniors get up from a sitting position, to better handling of stairs and obtaining a better sense of balance as well.
“I think the maintenance of independence is so important for people.” Feedback about the program has also been positive, from participants noting they had more energy and stamina, and how it benefited their gait as well.
Mielke has also been running a supervised exercise class called Fit for Health for anyone managing any number of chronic health conditions from arthritis, diabetes to hypertension.
The program, which is ongoing, has been running for two years now through the PCN and in partnership with Snap Fitness, she said, adding that Snap Fitness offers their facility to the PCN for the program at no charge.
“It’s a really well-rounded, global conditioning program. We work on aerobic exercise, strengthening, flexibility and balance,” she said. “I always tell people it’s a group exercise program in the sense that everyone comes to the same place at the same time and as the weeks progress, I float around and work with people individually and make the program work for them. For example, that person who has back pain maybe has different considerations then the person who has something going on with their knees.”
The program runs twice weekly over a period of eight weeks and Mielke currently runs two sessions, one on Monday and Wednesday and the other Tuesday and Thursday. “I’ve had over 150 people graduate from that program.”
She carries a waiting list for this particular class, and mentioned that while she doesn’t schedule formal follow-up, she does see previous class participants either back in the gym or being active elsewhere in the community.
“I get people to fill out an evaluation form and one of the questions I ask is ‘Would you take this again? or ‘Would you recommend this to others?’ I’ve never had anybody say anything other than yes on that,” she said.
People also indicate that they are confident they can move ahead on their own with the routines down pat.
Again for more information, contact Mielke at 403-782-1408.