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Improving one’s health in the new year

By Paula Walter
With the advent of a new year, it’s that time again when many of us make resolutions of all kinds. Many people tend to focus on improving their health, increasing the amount of exercise they get and making good food choices.
Exercise has many benefits. Not only does it strengthen your heart, lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, increase your metabolism and reduce the risk of diabetes, but reports indicate exercise has a positive mental health aspect as it also reduces the symptoms of depression.
Each Tuesday and Thursday morning from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, a group of seniors gather at the fellowship hall at First Christian Church for a free senior stretch class. Under the direction of Phil Walter, they work on stretching, flexibility, light hand weights, balance drills and deep breathing. “In the past, I’ve told people in the class that I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” said Walter, who taught martial arts for over 20 years. “As you age, you lose bone density, muscle mass and flexibility. The good news is you can do something about that. You can think of fitness as a three-legged stool. There is muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.”
According to Walter, if you look at reports from emergency medical services, falls are the number one reason for the need for an ambulance and often a trip to the hospital. “There are three things that control balance,” he continued. “They are your inner ear, the cerebellum and your vision. As we age, we tend to rely more on the visual for balance.”
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.