Memorial Hospital introduces Healthy Aging Exercise Program

NORTH CONWAY – It seems science has found the long sought-after Fountain of Youth. It’s called exercise and Memorial Hospital is introducing a new program that promotes healthy aging for those 50 and older.

Scheduled to begin Monday, Sept. 12, the six-week series includes education, health coaching and exercise. The class will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30pm on the second floor of the physical therapy building, just north of the hospital. Series cost is $69 and class size is limited.

Developed by certified health and wellness coach Kimberly Proulx, the program is part of the hospital’s Population Health focus on healthy aging. Director Susan Ruka, RN PhD, believes this kind of community outreach is critically important.

“We know that exercise is the best prescription for healthy and successful aging. Our job as healthcare leaders is to engage people in activities that can make a difference in the quality of their daily lives.” The new program is an addition to several others already underway including A Matter of Balance and Tai Ji Quan, Moving for Better Balance.

Proulx, a cardiac and pulmonary exercise specialist in Memorial’s Heart Health and Wellness department, created the program and is looking forward to teaching it. “Our goal is to help you get and stay fit and healthy,” she said. “Exercise can boost your energy, mobility and overall health as well as build your knowledge and confidence.”

Proulx explained that as the body ages, it goes through many degenerative processes. “Muscle, bone and joint changes that come with age really can be reduced through exercise,” she said. “Each week, our class will focus on a different aspect of strength and balance including ways to improve one’s strength, nutrition, metabolism and flexibility.”

Research continues to show that regular physical activity not only improves the quality of life for older adults, it also decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and many other illnesses and disabilities. Even if you start late, exercise increases the likeliness of aging free from chronic disease, memory loss and depression. People who are physically active also tend to have better immune systems, fewer falls and more daily social interaction.

Proulx wants people to know that they don’t need to be currently engaged in exercise to take the course. “This is an opportunity to learn about the impact of aging on our bodies and what you can do to stay strong and fit,” she said. “As you get older, the key is to be able to keep doing the things you like to do. By making physical activity a regular part of your life, you can improve your health and maintain your independence as you age.”

Due to the limited class size, pre-registration is required. To sign up or for more information, call Danielle Koffenberger in the Population Health office, 356-5461, X2187.

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