Active Living Every Day program offers proven method to get aging adults moving
By Erin Fitzgerald for Tualatin Life
A new program at Tualatin’s Juanita Pohl Center is making it easier for adults to enrich their lives through physical activity. The Active Living Every Day (ALED) program is a 12-week course recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to give sedentary adults the tools to become and stay physically active. The center received a grant earlier this year from the National Recreation and Parks Association to offer evidence-based programs to our community’s growing aging population.
Since mid-April, eleven determined participants have gathered weekly for a 60-minute class at Tualatin’s “Active Aging Center” to gain practical and personalized skills to overcome barriers to physical activity.
The evidence-based ALED program provides a step-by-step process for transitioning sedentary adults to a more active lifestyle. The program is geared toward people who don’t exercise, are intimidated by exercise, or who want to be active (or more active) but don’t know where to start or how to begin. The program covers a variety of topics to help participants succeed such as:
• Overcoming challenges to physical activity
• Setting realistic goals and avoiding pitfalls
• Rewarding yourself
• Gaining confidence and enlisting support
• Staying motivated and finding new opportunities to be active
Participants receive a comprehensive and user-friendly course book full of activities, tips, and inspirational stories to help them stay on track and motivated. Prospective adults shouldn’t be intimidated by the “class” reference, as this is no ordinary classroom instruction. Certified health and wellness instructor, Barb Blum, incorporates fun incentives and giveaways to keep it fresh and interesting, while creating a friendly, collaborative, and non-threatening environment. Participants should leave with skills taught in the program and implement them into their everyday lives long after the 12-week course ends.
The weekly class seems to be just the nudge needed for an active lifestyle, as 76-year-old participant Linda shares, “I signed up because I like learning new things. As a secretary, I’ve always been extremely sedentary. Being active and exercising has not been something I’ve wanted to do, but this program has been encouraging and motivating for me. I’m more active than I was before. I would definitely recommend this class.”
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity a week to build and maintain health and fitness. To some this may seem overwhelming, but the program is specifically designed to break down the course material into manageable sessions to show just how accessible physical activity is when taken one step at a time. Through this lens, 150 minutes translates to 30 minutes of walking, five days per week—an obtainable goal when partnered with a personalized plan to boost activity levels.
In its simplest form, ALED is a program for increasing physical activity in older, sedentary adults, but at its core, it’s so much more. I sat in on one class recently and was immediately taken by the level of engagement. Participants swapped stories, offered helpful advice, and provided encouragement to one another. Overall, the feedback has been extremely positive and “camaraderie” was frequently used to describe the experience.
“I took the class because I needed to get back into exercising and I felt this would be a good start for me. In our short time together, we’ve built camaraderie amongst the group. As we’re nearing the end of the program, we’re talking about forming a walking group, ” — Kate (age 70)
“I’ve enjoyed the people in the class and the camaraderie. It has been good for me in the place that I’m at in my life – I need that outlet. Barb is a great instructor; she brings humor to the class, which is something we all need. I use the pedometer given to us in class, which has been very encouraging and helps to push me along. I’m doing better, exercising more, and taking more steps. The class has been effective.” — Louise (age 73)
“This is a great program. It layers on helpful information and provides tools to acquire a positive attitude to increase your physical and mental well-being. I want to take the class again. I liked having the camaraderie of women, though we’d love more men in the class!” — Sharon (age 63)
Gaining new friendships and a support system are an added perk, but the results gained from incorporating physical activity and healthy habits will add up to long-term benefits including:
• More energy
• Brighter mental outlook
• Healthy bones, joints, and muscles
• Reduced risk of chronic disease
• Improved sleep quality
• Healthier and longer independent life
The Active Living Every Day program feeds you the tools you need to be successful. No matter where you are in your level of physical activity, you’ll gain valuable skills for making a change for the better from this research-based method.
The next session begins July 21and runs through October 6. Classes meet Fridays from 12:30-1:30 at the Juanita Pohl Center. For more information on this or other healthy aging programs, call 503-691-3061.
Active Living Every Day
next session starts July 21
When: Fridays, 7/21 to 10/6,
Where: 8513 SW Tualatin Road, Tualatin
(located in Tualatin Community Park)
Cost: $9 (covers entire 12-week session)
Register: Call 503-691-3061 or register
online at tualatinoregon.gov
About the Juanita Pohl Center
The Juanita Pohl Center is a place “Where Active Adults Engage.” The center is committed to offering Tualatin’s active aging population experiences to LEARN, LAUGH, and MOVE MORE.