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Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

Brooklyn Center Sun Post



Water exercise: It’s not just for the summertime BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Water activities become a major focus for both exercise and pleasure on many Minnesotans’ summer schedules. Some people have found a way to replicate that exercise and pleasure during the winter months by making use of indoor community center pools or local YMCAs. “Our water exercise classes sometimes have 30 or more people,� said Colleen Haubner, executive director of the Northwest YMCA in New Hope. “We’re outgrowing our pool on some days.� Bobbie Gjersvig, program manager for Group Exercise and Active Older Adults (AOA) at the Northwest YMCA in New Hope, said water aerobics is popular with many older men and women ages 60 and up. Two classes a week draw between 10-20 people each, she said. An 8 a.m. water exercise class brings seniors out three times a week. An Aqua Zumba class is also popular, she said. In addition, the YMCA offers 14 different sessions of SilverSneakers classes, plus strength training, cardio and movement to people that range in age from 60-88. “Many of our seniors are here three times a week,� Gjersvig said. “They will be the first to tell you that they are so mobile, active and able to live their lives because they take these classes.� Mary Jo Martinson of Maple Grove has been participating in the YMCA water exercise classes three times a week for the last 10 years. “It’s such a good exercise for anybody, not just seniors,� she said. “It helps with your general health. It can be as gentle or as vigorous as you want. We do a lot of cardio and very vigorous exercise. We sweat in the water. I didn’t think that was possible.� Prior to beginning the classes, Martinson had suffered with hip bursitis that kept her in constant pain. After talking to a friend who said she swore by the water exercises, Martinson gave it a try. “It has helped build the muscles back in my legs,� she said. “I hope I can do the water exercise forever. I do a lot of

Stephanie Lundquist, left, instructs a SilverSneakers fitness class attended by Richard Gangelhoff at the Brooklyn Center Community Center. (Photo by Paul Groessel) walking now.� Mary and Craig Barlow of Crystal joined the YMCA last spring, and both have been participants in water aerobics four times a week. “We really enjoy it,� Mary said. “It just feels so good. We feel very sluggish when we don’t do it. Craig has a lot of arthritis in his back and this really helps.� Tracy Croissant of Brooklyn Center has also been doing water aerobics at the Northwest YMCA six times a week for 10 years. “It’s fun; there’s a lot of camaraderie,� she said. “You make friends and we meet for coffee afterwards.� Water activities also are popular across town at the Brooklyn Center Community Center. Kelly Mertes, recreation program su-

pervisor at the Brooklyn Center Community Center, said several hundred senior citizens ages 55-90 participate in fitness classes there. “For many, it becomes a social thing as well,� Mertes said. “They come for the health and fitness or because they have aches and pains, and then they make such good friends that they do other things, too.� Anne Gillespie Lewis, 69, a Minneapolis journalist and author, started swimming at a pool in Minneapolis and followed her favorite instructor to the Brooklyn Center Community Center five years ago. The water exercises make her feel better, she said. Beverly Gustafson, a 45-year Brooklyn Center resident who recently moved to Osseo, also endorses the water



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program in Brooklyn Center. She’s been going to the classes for 20 years. “In the summer, I went to as many as five classes a week; now I go twice a week,� Gustafson said. She used to walk with her husband. But because she has osteoarthritis in her knees, she said, there are a lot of land exercises she can’t do. Water aerobics “improves my flexibility and range and motion,� she said. The pool temperature at the Brooklyn Center Community Center is set at 86 degrees, “right in the middle,� Mertes said. “Some pools are warmer, such as Courage Center and the YMCA,� she said. “Schools or community center pools are used more for laps, so their water generally is cooler. We’re not a competitive pool.�


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Brooklyn Center Sun Post


Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

Intriguing possibilities for better nutrition

Photo illustration food on “Dishing Up Nutrition,â€? her Saturday morning radio show on 107.1 FM. If it’s true that we are what we eat, She also meets with clients individumany of us could stand some improve- ally. ment. “One of my clients is 93, and her Some intriguing possibilities for daughter knows that if her mom eats better nutrition are available through right, it will keep her out of a nursing Edina’s Community Education offerhome,â€? Kvist said. ings for 2014. A 73-year-old client, who was on 12 “We are really taking a ‘whole different medications and whose balperson’ approach to health and wellance had been affected, changed her ness ‌ for after the New Year, and are eating so much that she no longer needs offering classes to keep mind, body and to take medications for blood pressure, spirit engaged with everything from diabetes, sleeping and mood alteration. health and wellness, fitness, creative “She has lost 73 pounds, works out fitness, crafts and hobbies, and profesalmost every day, and her balance and sional learning,â€? said Cheryl Gunness, mood (are) great,â€? Kvist said. “Food the Community and Adult Involvemakes such a difference in every way.â€? ment manager with Edina Community One female client, a 66-year-old Education. teacher, found that nutrition counselClasses being taught by instructors ing allowed her to get her cholesterol from Nutritional Weight and Welland blood pressure numbers down, ness include one on balanced foods and gave her the energy she needed to and another called “Jump Start Your continue teaching. Metabolism.â€? “If you go to work at 5:30 a.m., you Dar Kvist, director of Nutritional need protein, like a couple of eggs and Weight and Wellness, points out that a strip or two of bacon without ninutrition affects memory, bone health trates,â€? Kvist said. “We try to get people and energy. off processed carbohydrates. Instead of “Most seniors are not aware that toast, why not half a sweet potato with what they put in their mouths makes real butter? A lot of people eat a pork a huge difference in how they feel,â€? chop for breakfast and feel great.â€? Kvist said. “It affects every one of our She notes that many senior citizens systems.â€? grew up on farms or went to the farm Kvist talks about the importance of to visit grandparents. They likely ate BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER

organic eggs, chickens raised without chemicals, and real butter. Still working 70 hours a week at the age of 75 with what she calls “incredible energy,� Kvist said she regularly eats vegetables for breakfast. “People who eat vegetables for breakfast say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done; they come off feeling so good,� she said. “Once they pull out the processed food, their inflammations go down and they have fewer aches and pains. Once you reduce processed carbs and sugar, your knees won’t hurt so much.� Another tip is to eat something with a little fat content at night, such as strawberries with a little real cream, she said. “Your blood sugar will be stable and you’ll sleep all night,� Kvist said. “You need some good fat every time you eat to keep your brain working. Good fats include olives, avocados, nuts and butter, according to Kvist. Another idea for nutritional change is presented in an Edina Community Education class called “Jump Start Your Health with Green Smoothies.� The class is taught by Kris Roach, a certified holistic health coach, and Emily Wert, a certified wellness specialist. “You need to have the right blender,� Roach said. “It’s a great way to get in a whole bunch of nutrition and minerals. It’s different than juicing. �

She suggests using a variety of leafy greens like spinach, kale or broccoli, plus liquid, ice and a small amount of sweetener, such as dates, banana or honey. For a creamy orange Dreamsicle-like smoothie, she suggests a handful of greens, vanilla almond milk, and two oranges. “It will turn out bright green, but it will taste like fruit,� Roach said. For people who live alone and don’t want to cook, she suggests going back to the basics by using fresh food rather than processed food that comes in a box or a can. “If you’ve been eating from your pantry for a long time, your taste buds have been hijacked,� Roach said. You might have to try a food three or four times to give it a chance to grow on you, Roach said. “People sometimes are like kids; they give up too soon,� she said. One easy tip is to go through the salad bar at your local supermarket and buy a small portion of vegetables, such as broccoli, that can be quickly steamed and paired up with a chicken breast, a small piece of salmon or a pork chop. “Keep variety in your diet,� Roach said. “Be careful not to just open a can of soup. Your immune system is only as good as what you put in your body. Eat what comes from the ground – a real apple instead of applesauce.�


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