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Help ARthritis With Exercise
Applications Being Accepted
by Helen Morris and Bill Bailey

Updated on Wednesday*:

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Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the U.S. and West Virginia has the highest level of self-reported arthritis. The state is also the fifth highest in the number of adults who report no leisure- time physical activity.

One of the biggest problems faced by people with arthritis is that the pain associated with the disease makes them think they cannot exercise, but exercise is essential in the treatment.

Exercise helps to increase energy levels, develops a better sleep pattern, helps with weight control, maintains a healthy heart, increases bone and muscle strength, increases range of motion, and decreases depression and fatigue. It is also important for healthy joints, since moving joints every day helps to keep them fully mobile.

Calhoun has been selected as a site for the Help Arthritis with Exercise (HARE) study.

As part of a four-year grant, funded by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through Association of American Medical Colleges, the study will allow researchers to determine if quality of life improves in people with arthritis through simple exercises.

It is time for men and women with arthritis to make a decision to take part in the free program. Each hour-long class is limited to 20 people. Classes will be held each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:45 a.m. for 12 weeks at the Senior Citizens Center, Grantsville. Classes are expected to begin in late August.

The exercise program has been designed for people with arthritis and is geared to help participants on an individual level. It will help you do only what you can, and progress is at your own speed.

Simple range of motion and other tests will serve as your personal baseline, so that you can see your improvement at the end of the 12 weeks.

Don’t think that your arthritis is so bad that this class cannot help you. There is a chance that it can help. Don’t think you will be pushed too hard. If something causes you to say “Ouch,” that will be recognized as your limit. There is no “vigorous” exercise. Most of the exercise is designed to increase range of motion. Equipment necessary for the program is furnished.

Instructor will be Cokey Gainer, who has a background in physiology and anatomy, and has coached exercise, cross country, basketball and baseball. He received training to facilitate the program in Calhoun.

While in Michigan for training, Gainer observed a woman in her eighties who said she was taking the classes so she could have fun with her grandchildren and enjoy their visits without her arthritis flaring up.

Do you have arthritis that limits your daily activities? Are you more likely to exercise if it is a planned program with others? Will encouragement from others in the program help keep you focused? Do your grandchildren want you to feel better and be able to do more with them? Do you care about getting involved in a program where the final results may enable all West Virginians to have access to, and benefit from, the program? Would you be willing to try this 12-week program for the chance to live a more pain-free, flexible life?

If you answered yes to any of the questions call Brenda Sisson or Opal Harris at the senior center, 354-7017, to sign up. You will be contacted to answer a few questions to see if you qualify to join the HARE study.

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