Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  MARQUETTE – Doctors and communities must encourage older Americans to adopt healthier lifestyles, particularly in the area of nutrition, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  NMU health and fitness management major Teresia Leckson-Lipinski of Gwinn was a step ahead of the CDC's recommendation. By the time the study garnered national media coverage, Leckson-Lipinski was already immersed in a 12-week exercise and nutrition program she developed for the Forsyth Senior Center.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Her "Ageless Agates" program – with it's motto of "We're turning bone into stone" – was part of a fall-semester community health internship through the HPER department. She modeled it after a similar "Eating Better and Moving More" program.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  The nutrition component consisted of 15-minute lessons on topics such as consuming five fruits and vegetables per day, reading labels, keeping adequately hydrated, ensuring proper calcium intake, and exploring the benefits of meditation. For exercises, Leckson-Lipinski led participants through five minutes of walking, followed by stretching and flexibility workouts.  Â 

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  "It was my first time setting up something like this," she reflected. "The goal was to offer the seniors of Forsyth Township an opportunity to empower themselves with information and ideas on how to eat better and keep moving, no matter what their age. Their response was positive overall. By the end, many said they felt better and were able to move easier. They also reported decreased blood pressure and other benefits."

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Participants also reported decreased blood pressure and other benefits. Charlotte Ryall said the program made her "much more aware of what I should be doing." Beverly Salvate added, "The best part of the program was exercising with others."

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Mary Jane Tremethick, a professor in the health, physical education and recreation department at NMU, is responsible for supervising the community health

internship. She said the type of placement is driven by the student's interests.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚   "The interns spend a semester applying classroom learning in a real-world setting," Tremethick said. "Teresia enjoys working with older adults, so this was a good

fit for her. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle allows individuals to remain independent longer by reducing the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Activity increases muscle strength and endurance. It also keeps older adults mobile and flexible, which are important factors with aging."

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Leckson-Lipinski and Forsyth Senior Center Director Julie Shaw wrote a successful grant application to Blue Cross and Blue Shield to cover the costs of the program.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  "It was a valuable learning experience," said the NMU senior. "I hope to make a career out of working with the senior population after I graduate in May."

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  At the end of Forsyth's 12-week program, older adults continue to meet three times per week for group exercise. The center also provides an opportunity for a senior swim at Gwinn High School.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Tremethick said there are programs throughout Marquette County addressing the health needs of older adults and suggests individuals contact their local senior centers for information. At NMU, for example, there are no-cost senior swim and aerobics classes.

Prepared By
Miriam Moeller and Kristi Evans
News Director