Stay active, stay strong

Healthy living. Be active. Exercise. We’ve all heard these before. Did you realize Kauai provides many activities to help you to lead a healthy and active lifestyle no matter your age or fitness level? Whether you are currently healthy and fit, are managing a chronic medical condition or need help to get healthy and be active, something is available for everyone on Kauai.

Kauai celebrates the active lifestyle with events during Active Aging Week Sept. 21-27, and Falls Prevention Awareness Day Tuesday, Sept. 23. I encourage you get out, be active, participate in a class or attend an event.

Enhance Fitness

Enhance Fitness is an exercise class offered free at neighborhood centers around the island. This evidence-based program has been proven to improve your strength, balance and mobility. Meeting three times each week, you will be led through aerobic, strength, balance and stretching exercises. Even if you use a cane or walker you can participate. Exercises can be done standing, holding a chair for support, or sitting down. Enhance Fitness is free for those age 60 or older. Call Johnny Yago of the Agency on Elderly Affairs at 241-4898 to register.

Tai Chi for Arthritis

Another evidence based exercise program now available on Kauai is Tai Chi for Arthritis. This program, which meets two times each week for 12 weeks, has been proven to relieve pain, improve strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance and to prevent falls. Twelve instructors on Kauai were recently certified to teach TCA. Dr. Paul Lam partnered with teams of tai chi experts, medical specialists and education experts to create easy to learn, safer and more effective tai chi forms. Using the Sun style of Tai Chi they developed the Tai Chi for Arthritis program. This style uses a higher stance, that is gentle bending of the knees to prevent knee pain and to gently strengthen the legs. Slow movements with a focus on weight transfers, safe stepping and qi gong breathing make this an exercise everyone can do. Classes are available at the Kaumakani Neighborhood Center Sept. 30 to Dec. 19. Call Sandra at 335-5770 to register. In Lihue, classes are held at movin’ on 2 wellness LLC studio. Call Rose at 346-7520 to register. And in Kapaa call Deborah Burnham at 651-4534.

Silver Sneakers

Silver Sneakers is a benefit of Medicare plans. Here in Hawaii those plans are HMSA Akamai Advantage Select Plus and Humana Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement. Through the Silver Sneakers program, your membership at the Kauai Athletic Club is included as well as classes and access to facilities wherever you travel. Contact your insurance provider or the Kauai Athletic Club at 245-5381 for more information.

Better Choices, Better Health

Better Choices, Better Health is a six-week workshop for people with chronic diseases or conditions and their caregivers. You will learn practical skills for healthy living while managing ongoing health conditions like arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. The workshop is based on Stanford University’s “Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.” For more information and to register please contact Charlyn at the Agency on Elderly Affairs at 241-4470.

National Falls Prevention Day is Tuesday, Sept. 23. Falls can happen for many reasons.

Factors that contribute to falls include inattention or decreased ability to think through something, problems with balance, leg weakness, taking four or more medications or any psychoactive medication, vision problems or poor lighting, having multiple medical conditions, and slippery surfaces or lack of railings on stairs. The West Kauai Medical Clinic in Waimea will host Fall Prevention educational activities from 10 a.m. to noon.

Activities will include fall risk assessments, exercise instruction, Lifeway pharmacist consultations, information from Ho`ola Lahui, and Tai Chi for Arthritis & Fall Prevention demonstrations.

And on Friday, Sept. 26, Life’s Choices Kauai will host its annual Health & Wellness Fair at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This free event will include vendors and information from Kauai’s healthcare agencies, nonprofits and community organizations.

So get up and take a walk, a hike or a bike ride. Go swimming or golfing. Join a gym. Take a class. Attend the falls prevention event at the West Kauai Medical Clinic in Waimea and the Health & Wellness Fair in Lihue. Learn something new. And live long!

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Rose Murtagh is a physical therapist, personal trainer and health coach. Contact her at 346-7520.

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