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Feb 21

The Efficacy of Exercise in Treating Depression | An Alternative to Traditional Treatments – Medriva

Depression is a pervasive mental health issue affecting more than 300 million people globally, according to the World Health Organization. The prevalence of this debilitating disorder has seen a sharp increase of almost 28% during the Covid-19 pandemic. Traditional treatments for depression often involve psychotherapy and medication. However, an increasingly growing body of research is advocating for the inclusion of exercise as a core treatment for this condition.

A number of recent studies have highlighted the significant positive impact exercise can have in the treatment of depression. The benefits are not confined to high-intensity workouts or specialized exercise regimes. According to a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, even low-intensity activities like walking or yoga can be beneficial. The studies found that walking, jogging, yoga, and strength training were particularly effective in reducing depressive symptoms.

One study, which analyzed data from over 200 research studies, found that the impact of exercise on depression appeared superior to the effects of antidepressants. When combined with medication, the effect was even more pronounced, suggesting that exercise could be a valuable addition to traditional treatment protocols. This study also revealed that a range of exercises, including dance, walking or jogging, yoga, strength training, mixed aerobic exercises, and even tai chi or qigong, had a positive impact on mental health.

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the role of exercise in treating depression, there are challenges in implementing exercise programs for individuals suffering from this condition. One of the key recommendations from these studies is the need for a clear, individualized exercise program. This program should aim to push the individual a little, but also be enjoyable and foster a sense of kindness towards oneself. Support and accountability are crucial elements in maintaining such an exercise regimen.

Given the potential of exercise as a treatment for depression, it is important for health services and local and national administrations to make resources available for individualized and supervised exercise programs. This could make exercise as a treatment for depression accessible to the entire population. The provision of these resources could revolutionize the treatment of depression, offering an alternative or complementary treatment that is not only effective, but also free from the side effects often associated with antidepressant medications.

Exercise offers an effective, accessible, and well-tolerated treatment for depression. The integration of exercise into treatment plans, in conjunction with traditional therapies and medications, could result in enhanced outcomes for individuals suffering from depression. As research continues to underscore the importance of exercise in treating depression, it is crucial to implement measures that make exercise an accessible treatment option for all.

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The Efficacy of Exercise in Treating Depression | An Alternative to Traditional Treatments - Medriva

Feb 21

The top 10 fitness trends for 2024 – The Jerusalem Post

Like everything else, the fitness world is influenced by the latest trends and fashions. Sometimes these are passing fads, and sometimes they are long-lasting trends that bring a new and refreshing change, establishing itself among fitness and health enthusiasts worldwide.

Every year since 2006, the American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM) releases its list of leading trends for the current year. The selection of the top 10 trends is made through a comprehensive survey conducted among thousands of fitness professionals worldwide.

Among the selected experts are, of course, many fitness trainers, but also physiotherapists, dieticians, and other professionals in the field.

These are the top 10 leading trends for 2024 according to the people who breathe fitness every day:

In first place on the list of trends are wearable technologies. These include the same wristwatches, step trackers, heart rate monitors, and GPS-based distance measuring devices that we have become accustomed to in recent years. All these devices constitute a real billion-dollar market and help us measure, monitor, and guide ourselves in everything related to our fitness. But not only that they monitor our sleep quality, blood pressure, and even blood sugar levels. And to think that this field is still in its infancy...

This trend sees people staying active and getting as many steps in as possible. Expect to see more and more organized activities from workplaces that prefer you to be healthy and fit rather than sick and missing work days.

In third place on the list, you can find special intervention programs that cater to the needs of the elderly. Even at the municipal level, you can find programs initiated by the local authorities that encourage senior citizens to engage in activities tailored to them in public spaces. Such programs may include tai chi exercises, flexibility and yoga, resistance training, and osteoporosis exercises.

This trend is seen as a response to the global obesity epidemic in the form of targeted programs that include nutritional intervention and customized training programs for those dealing with excess weight and obesity. These can be personalized one-on-one programs or group programs similar to those we have seen to in recent years.

A customer who requests that his private insurance company help pay for the expenses of fitness trainers usually doesn't get what they asked for. A new trend in the world is a change in the policy regarding the recognition and accreditation of fitness trainers. Efforts have also been made in Israel in recent years to anchor the status of fitness trainers in law, which would facilitate receiving refunds from health funds or private insurance companies.

Continuing from the previous trend, there has been an uptick in employment of qualified and experienced fitness trainers in companies that provide fitness services to customers, based on the understanding and acceptance that professional service from a qualified and experienced expert translates into high-quality training.

The seventh trend on the list of leading fitness trends is linked with the widespread popularity of using thousands of fitness training apps that can be downloaded to smartphones. These apps provide customized training programs, allow you to share the workouts you perform with other users, and primarily provide accessibility to the world of fitness for those who can't go to the gym.

According to the ACSM, one in eight adults worldwide experiences symptoms related to mental health disorders. Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Numerous studies around the world have shown a direct correlation between regular physical activity and improved mental and cognitive abilities.

Today's youth are the athletes of the future, and in the ninth trend, we see a focus on developing sports centers and training programs for young athletes, aiming to improve motor skills, enhance self-confidence, improve coordination, and more.

Ranked as the 10th trend on the list is personal fitness training as a strategy to improve one's physical abilities worldwide, helping them achieve their own physical goals. The role of a personal fitness trainer has grown over the years. Just as a dietitian can provide us with a balanced menu tailored to our measurements and goals, a personal fitness trainer can also help us reach our personal goals, monitor our body along the way, and instill proper habits towards the change we aspire to.

Yossi Zeevi is a personal fitness trainer and certified sports instructor from the Wingate Institute.

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The top 10 fitness trends for 2024 - The Jerusalem Post

Feb 21

Running or yoga can help beat depression, research shows even if exercise is the last thing you feel like – The Conversation

At least one in ten people have depression at some point in their lives, with some estimates closer to one in four. Its one of the worst things for someones wellbeing worse than debt, divorce or diabetes.

One in seven Australians take antidepressants. Psychologists are in high demand. Still, only half of people with depression in high-income countries get treatment.

Our new research shows that exercise should be considered alongside therapy and antidepressants. It can be just as impactful in treating depression as therapy, but it matters what type of exercise you do and how you do it.

Read more: Why are so many Australians taking antidepressants?

We found 218 randomised trials on exercise for depression, with 14,170 participants. We analysed them using a method called a network meta-analysis. This allowed us to see how different types of exercise compared, instead of lumping all types together.

We found walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise were about as effective as cognitive behaviour therapy one of the gold-standard treatments for depression. The effects of dancing were also powerful. However, this came from analysing just five studies, mostly involving young women. Other exercise types had more evidence to back them.

Walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise seemed more effective than antidepressant medication alone, and were about as effective as exercise alongside antidepressants.

But of these exercises, people were most likely to stick with strength training and yoga.

Antidepressants certainly help some people. And of course, anyone getting treatment for depression should talk to their doctor before changing what they are doing.

Still, our evidence shows that if you have depression, you should get a psychologist and an exercise plan, whether or not youre taking antidepressants.

Before we analysed the data, we thought people with depression might need to ease into it with generic advice, such as some physical activity is better than doing none.

But we found it was far better to have a clear program that aimed to push you, at least a little. Programs with clear structure worked better, compared with those that gave people lots of freedom. Exercising by yourself might also make it hard to set the bar at the right level, given low self-esteem is a symptom of depression.

We also found it didnt matter how much people exercised, in terms of sessions or minutes a week. It also didnt really matter how long the exercise program lasted. What mattered was the intensity of the exercise: the higher the intensity, the better the results.

We should exercise caution in interpreting the findings. Unlike drug trials, participants in exercise trials know which treatment theyve been randomised to receive, so this may skew the results.

Many people with depression have physical, psychological or social barriers to participating in formal exercise programs. And getting support to exercise isnt free.

We also still dont know the best way to stay motivated to exercise, which can be even harder if you have depression.

Our study tried to find out whether things like setting exercise goals helped, but we couldnt get a clear result.

Other reviews found its important to have a clear action plan (for example, putting exercise in your calendar) and to track your progress (for example, using an app or smartwatch). But predicting which of these interventions work is notoriously difficult.

A 2021 mega-study of more than 60,000 gym-goers found experts struggled to predict which strategies might get people into the gym more often. Even making workouts fun didnt seem to motivate people. However, listening to audiobooks while exercising helped a lot, which no experts predicted.

Still, we can be confident that people benefit from personalised support and accountability. The support helps overcome the hurdles theyre sure to hit. The accountability keeps people going even when their brains are telling them to avoid it.

So, when starting out, it seems wise to avoid going it alone. Instead:

join a fitness group or yoga studio

get a trainer or an exercise physiologist

ask a friend or family member to go for a walk with you.

Taking a few steps towards getting that support makes it more likely youll keep exercising.

Read more: Exercise is even more effective than counselling or medication for depression. But how much do you need?

Some countries see exercise as a backup plan for treating depression. For example, the American Psychological Association only conditionally recommends exercise as a complementary and alternative treatment when psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy is either ineffective or unacceptable.

Based on our research, this recommendation is withholding a potent treatment from many people who need it.

In contrast, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists recommends vigorous aerobic activity at least two to three times a week for all people with depression.

Given how common depression is, and the number failing to receive care, other countries should follow suit and recommend exercise alongside front-line treatments for depression.

I would like to acknowledge my colleagues Taren Sanders, Chris Lonsdale and the rest of the coauthors of the paper on which this article is based.

If this article has raised issues for you, or if youre concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Running or yoga can help beat depression, research shows even if exercise is the last thing you feel like - The Conversation

Feb 21

How Exercise Helps Your Heart – Health Essentials

The advice is clear-cut: Sit less and purposefully move more for heart health.

But how does exercise help keep your heart healthy? How much exercise do you need? And what kinds of exercise should you do?

All valid (and important) questions.

We talked with preventive cardiologist Vikas Sunder, MD, and cardiac rehabilitation expert Erik Van Iterson, PhD, about what exercise does for your heart health and how to get started on a heart-healthy exercise program that fits your life.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Thats aerobic exercise the kind that gets your heart rate up for more than a few minutes.

Additionally, an ideal exercise program for heart health also incorporates about an hour of strength-training exercises per week. Two sessions of resistance training for about 30 minutes at a time is a typical recommendation.

Those suggestions may change depending on your health, your goals and your current amount of physical activity. And reaching that standard could take some time. Thats OK.

The goal should be to first and foremost avoid sedentary behaviors that take up the majority of your day, Dr. Sunder notes. Anything that people can do to move more than their baseline is important progress toward improving their heart health.

Aerobic and strength-training exercises are both important for a healthy heart.

When your heart functions in a healthy way, its more able to interact and communicate with other organ systems, Dr. Van Iterson points out. Your whole body benefits from well-oxygenated blood moving from the heart, out to your body and back again. Exercise helps to improve that entire process.

What specifically can you look for as heart-healthy benefits of exercise? Dr. Sunder and Dr. Van Iterson share just a few.

Getting your body moving has plenty of heart-healthy benefits that directly affect how your heart works. Among them:

Scientific data has consistently shown that aerobic, or cardio-style, exercise improves not just the circulation within your heart, but also the circulation throughout your entire cardiovascular system, Dr. Van Iterson shares. That ability to circulate blood in an effective and efficient way typically leads to powerful reductions in cardiovascular risk.

You may have heard that a round mid-section (or so-called apple body shape) can be a sign of potential health problems. And its true.

A high waist circumference (the measurement around your belly button area) can be a sign that you may have higher-than-healthy levels of fat deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your organs. Its called visceral fat, and too much can be dangerous to your health.

High levels of visceral fat can have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system and increase systemic inflammation, Dr. Sunder affirms.

Aerobic exercise and strength-training exercises that incorporate your core can help burn fat and increase the overall proportion of lean muscle throughout your body.

Strength-training exercise can help your body gain more lean muscle mass. And muscle helps keep your body and heart healthy by improving your metabolic rate. In other words, muscle helps your body burn calories more quickly even when your body is at rest.

Unlike fat cells, muscle tissue is metabolically active, Dr. Van Iterson explains. That means that when you have a higher muscle mass, its not only during the literal act of exercise that your metabolism revs up; its working almost all the time.

Exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that help improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. Thats important because your mental health plays a big role in keeping your heart healthy. And as exercise makes you feel good, it should help with keeping up your motivation to do more exercise consistently.

We know from studies that mental health concerns like anxiety and depression are associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiac events, Dr. Sunder says. And regular exercise can greatly decrease your risk for anxiety disorders and depression.

Exercise is like the beginning of a chain reaction. It increases endorphins, which makes you feel happier. In turn, that lowers your stress, which improves your mental health. And improved mental health lowers your risk for a slew of heart-related health conditions.

The No. 1 rule for starting a new exercise program is to start small and build up gradually. Because consistent exercise over time is the key to success.

Your exercise routine needs to be something that you can sustain over time, Dr. Van Iterson advises. I encourage people to view exercise as something theyre doing to set themselves up for long-term success. Overloading your system by doing too much too fast will turn out to be a counterproductive experience.

Feeling exhausted and being out of breath at the end of a workout arent typical signs you should use to evaluate whether you had a good workout. In fact, those feelings commonly signal that you overdid it.

Avoid the trap of doing one really intense exercise session and then needing a few days to recover before being able to exercise again.

If youre new to exercise, Dr. Sunder and Dr. Van Iterson recommend starting with aerobic activities. After you consistently meet or exceed your aerobic exercise goal, consider adding in some strengthening exercises.

Try starting with these exercises to improve your heart health.

Doing aerobic, or cardio, exercise is the first step to improving your heart health.

The biggest thing that gets overlooked is that you can keep it simple, says Dr. Van Iterson. Its really thinking about what we consider cardio or aerobic exercise, like walking. For others, it can be running or jogging. It all depends on where youre at in your life and identifying realistic goals, what recent background you have with exercising and if you have any risk factors like a family history of heart disease.

Remember, too, that even your day-to-day activities matter.

Even cleaning your house, gardening or shopping can be ways to get in some physical movement that benefits your heart, Dr. Sunder notes. That all counts as time spent up and moving, which, ultimately, is the goal.

Schedule your exercise in ways that work for you. If you dont always have a half-hour block to dedicate to exercise, dont let it discourage you from doing what you can. Even if you can get 10 minutes in a day, its worth it.

Here are a few examples of exercise that benefits your heart health:

For some people, strength-training exercise can conjure up images of powerlifting on a sweaty gym bench, and if thats your thing, more power to you.

But there are other exercises that can help build muscle and improve your heart health that may be more approachable for newcomers.

You start by trying:

Anything you can do to get your body moving is going to benefit your heart. And the rest of your body. And your mental health. So, start small. Keep going. And show your heart the love it needs.

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How Exercise Helps Your Heart - Health Essentials

Feb 13

Providing effective falls prevention in aged care – Mirage News

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New research from Flinders University has revealed that devastating falls in residential aged care homes could be prevented by using gold standard approaches of regular exercise and a personalised falls prevention plan.

Falls in older adults cost Australia's health systems $2.5 billion each year and can have devastating personal consequences, with 130,000 older Australians hospitalised for a fall and 5,000 Australians dying from a fall each year.

There is no current national strategy on preventing falls.

In residential aged care homes (often called nursing homes), falls are even more common and more frequently serious. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has highlighted the urgent need to address falls in this setting and falls have become a mandatory quality indicator and contributing to the star rating of nursing homes.

To date, evidence on how to prevent these falls has been extremely limited. However, Flinders University researchers Dr Suzanne Dyer and Dr Jenni Suen have now produced two new research papers that reveal clear guidance on how to successfully reduce falls for residents in aged care homes.

"We have found that both regular exercise and a personalised falls prevention plan based on each resident's individual needs should significantly reduce the likelihood of a fall," says Dr Dyer.

"We know that exercise programs designed for older people can reduce falls by building strength and balance, but they must be consistent, if they stop exercising, the benefits are lost.

"Much like any exercise program, it should include a combination of exercise types such as balance and resistance and be tailored, allowing for individual abilities and preferences," says Dr Dyer.

The research also highlights the importance of having an individual falls risk assessment for each person, allowing for the flexibility of care home staff to make adjustments where required says Dr Jenni Suen from the College of Medicine and Public Health.

"Falls were reduced when different interventions (such as exercise programs, mobility aids, glasses, changing medications or modifying the environment) were given based on an individual's falls risk assessment.

"However, this was only true when the care home staff and managers were able to modify the strategies according to specific circumstances, for example considering whether they had dementia or not," says Dr Suen.

The research papers have been pivotal in informing the soon to be released, newly updated Australian Falls prevention guidelines that are currently open for consultation.

"Given the serious consequences for residents and the associated high costs of falls, it is critical that adequate resources are provided to ensure that falls prevention programs can be ongoing in aged care homes, particularly including exercise tailored to residents, "says Dr Dyer.

"By combining consistent and appropriate exercise with a personalised falls prevention strategy that can be adapted by care home staff, we should see a reduction in falls for older people living in residential care," says Dr Suen.

"These simple additional considerations for both residents and staff appear to differentiate between successfully preventing falls or not. Therefore, considering these factors when planning a falls prevention program in residential aged care, could make all the difference," adds Dr Suen.

Critical features of multifactorial interventions for effective falls reduction in residential aged care: a systematic review, intervention component analysis and qualitative comparative analysis by Jenni Suen, Dylan Kneale, Katy Sutcliffe, Wing Kwok, Ian D Cameron, Maria Crotty, Catherine Sherrington, and Suzanne Dyer was published in Age and Ageing journal. DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afad185

Exercise for falls prevention in aged care: systematic review and trial endpoint meta-analyses by Suzanne M Dyer, Jenni Suen, Wing S Kwok, Rik Dawson, Charlotte McLennan, Ian D Cameron, Keith D Hill, and Catherine Sherrington was published in Age and Ageing journal. DOI:10.1093/ageing/afad217

Acknowledgements: This research was a collaborative effort between researchers at Flinders University, University of Sydney, and University College London and funded by the NHMRC-funded Prevention of Falls Injury Centre for Research Excellence.

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Providing effective falls prevention in aged care - Mirage News

Feb 13

Litesport VR is a fun and decent workout, but it’s trying too hard – Mashable

As a former athlete, Ive spent a lot of time trying different types of fitness. From running to powerlifting, CrossFit classes, martial arts, hot yoga, and more there arent many things I dont like when it comes to staying active. However, when it comes to home workouts, I find that I get bored easily, and no matter how many apps and fitness programs I try nothing hits quite like getting out of the house.

Obviously, the pandemic changed things. Running was my only solace until a nasty ankle injury left me searching for another option, and while my trusty exercise bike was great during my injury recovery, I also hated every second of it. So, when the opportunity to test the virtual reality experience, Litesport, I was eager to jump into the world of VR fitness and see if a game-like exercise experience was exactly what I needed to stay active at home.

Formerly known as Liteboxer, Litesport is branded as a VR fitness experience that offers boxing, full-body, and strength workouts all within the convenience of your own home. Available on Metas Quest 2, Quest 3, and Quest Pro, Litesport boasts a library of more than 1,000 on-demand classes with options including mitt drills, boxing punch tracks, battle rope workouts, and strength training with real dumbbells.

While that might sound scary, especially for anyone familiar with other VR games and experiences, Litesport relies on augmented reality (AR) technology to create a mixed-reality experience that utilizes things like hand tracking to make these workouts, well, work. So instead of doing your workout in a virtual reality space, the headset allows you to keep seeing the same environment like your living room except now theres a certified personal trainer leading the workout right in front of you.

Im not going to lie, I was pretty thrilled to try Litesport. Ive had a VIVE VR headset for years, and I still grin like an idiot every time I play Beat Saber. After trying the XREAL Air AR glasses, however, I was excited to don the Meta Quest 2 to try a more robust AR experience. And if it got me a good workout? Even better.

Straight away, I was pretty pleased with the Litesport experience. It was easy to get everything started, and considering Litesports original offering was VR boxing I quickly selected a trainer-led mitt drills workout to test everything out.

The easiest way to describe Litesports boxing is virtual reality meets Dance Dance Revolution. Armed with my headset and two controllers, there was a punching target in front of me that would light up as the trainer barked out a series of punch combinations to hit in sync with the music. While the lights were helpful, it took me a minute to get used to the punches with each circle on the target corresponding with a different punch number but before I knew it, my first workout was over leaving me eagerly jumping straight into the next.

As a former kickboxing instructor, there was something nostalgic about having a trainer shout out punch combinations for me in virtual reality. While its similar to shadowboxing, I was worried the experience wouldnt quite be as satisfying without something physical to strike, but I was surprised by how easily I got into the groove.

The trainer-led boxing workouts and mitt drills were fun, exciting, and easy to search through with different lengths, instructors, and difficulty levels available meaning you could do back-to-back mitt drills or mix and match with other types of workouts available in Litesport for a more unique experience. Plus, thanks to Litesports partnership with Universal Music Group, there were plenty of great tunes to keep the energy up during your sweat sesh.

Ive seen a few other reviews of Litesports VR experience, so I know this might not be a popular opinion, but I wasnt a huge fan of some of the other workout types. It was cool to try a mixed-reality strength training workout, letting me use real dumbbells with a virtual trainer, but I didnt love the experience. Even though Ive always been athletic, Im pretty accident-prone, and the AR strength workout didnt really feel like it added anything compared to following a workout video on YouTube or the Forme fitness mirror.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the dumbbell experience. Credit: Litesport

The total body workouts felt reminiscent of Beat Saber, but I felt like I was sacrificing proper form to keep up with the speed of the workout. Instead of a fun game that kept me active, I couldnt wait for the total body workout to be over. And even though I loved the boxing workouts and mitt drills, the punch tracks werent great for me either. They got boring and repetitive faster than I thought, so I found myself gravitating to the mitt drills each time I picked up the VR headset.

Unfortunately, the more I played around with Litesport, the more frustrated I got. The experience was buggy here and there, with certain screens freezing, and I had to restart the app more than once. There were parts of Litesport that were ridiculously fun and a great workout, but at $18.99 per month for a premium membership, I wasnt as impressed as Id hoped.

If you already have the headset, its definitely worth the free trial but Im on the fence about the premium membership. There is a standard plan for $8.99 per month, but is has a lot fewer workouts available.

For some people, Litesport might be exactly what you need to get active at home. Its fun and unique, theres a good amount of workout variety, and other people might enjoy the total body and strength training workouts far more than I did.

For me, however, the whole experience fell flat. I found myself wishing Id discovered it back when it was still Liteboxer, so I could just stick to the parts I enjoyed. And while the monthly subscription is less than a gym membership, it paled in comparison to other workout subscriptions like the Peloton app when it comes to workout quality and the size of the workout library.

Litesport clearly tried to do something incredibly ambitious by bringing a robust workout experience into VR, and while its definitely got potential, the current experience doesnt quite meet the mark.

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Litesport VR is a fun and decent workout, but it's trying too hard - Mashable

Jan 27

This Workout Will Prepare You for Tough Special Ops Selection Programs –

This Workout Will Prepare You for Tough Special Ops Selection Programs

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This Workout Will Prepare You for Tough Special Ops Selection Programs -

Jan 27

Daytona Beach receives $125,000 grant for math and fitness program – Daytona Beach News-Journal wants to ensure the best experience for all of our readers, so we built our site to take advantage of the latest technology, making it faster and easier to use.

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Daytona Beach receives $125,000 grant for math and fitness program - Daytona Beach News-Journal

Jan 27

Celebrating 5 years of health, wellness and community in Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood – Niagara Frontier Publications

Working out at Jericho Road Community Health Center (Photo Ginny Rose Stewart // provided by Jericho Road Community Health Center)

Wed, Jan 24th 2024 03:45 pm

Community partners cut ribbon on newly renamed Independent Health Gym and Wellness Center at Jericho Road

Independent Health and Jericho Road Community Health Center announce the renaming of their state-of-the art fitness facility, The Independent Health Gym and Wellness Center at Jericho Road, reaffirming a commitment to promoting health and well-being in east Buffalo.

A press release stated, As one of only two fitness centers on Buffalo's east side, todays ribbon cutting and rededication event marked a milestone in promoting well-being and accessibility to fitness resources for patients of Jericho Road and the entire Buffalo community.

The Independent Health Gym and Wellness Center at Jericho Road has been a cornerstone in promoting a healthy lifestyle, providing cutting-edge fitness equipment, personalized training programs, and a range of wellness services for patients of Jericho Road and families in east Buffalo since it opened in 2019. The gym, at 1021 Broadway, focuses on providing physical therapy and exercise programming for people of all ages, genders, cultures and abilities, and especially individuals with chronic diseases and higher risk medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Many members are patients at Jericho Road who are refugees, immigrants, and living in poverty.

Jericho Road Interim CEO Magdalena Nichols said, This fitness center is one of few places where people on the east side of Buffalo can get exercise indoors, and we want to make sure as many people as possible know were here and welcoming to families of all financial means and cultural beliefs and backgrounds. We often prescribe exercise programs as part of our patients overall health and wellness plans, and for many it has been critical to their health outcomes. Its important that the community knows were here and prepared to support them on their wellness journeys in 2024 and beyond.

Fatuma Musa (Photo Ginny Rose Stewart // provided by Jericho Road Community Health Center)

From left, Janet Lawton, Michael Roberson and Sondra Dawes. (Photo Ginny Rose Stewart // provided by Jericho Road Community Health Center)

Jericho Road received major funding from Independent Health in 2019 to help open the gym.

The press release noted, Nearly five years later, the rededication marks a significant milestone in the center's journey, highlighting its continued dedication to fostering a healthier and happier Western New York.

Independent Health President and CEO Michael W. Cropp, M.D., said, At Independent Health, our commitment to the well-being of our community goes beyond traditional health care coverage. We believe that overall wellness extends beyond traditional medical treatments, and we are aligned with Jericho Road in their mission with this gym to empower people to take charge of their health through fitness and preventive care. A healthy community is a thriving community, and we recognize the profound impact that equitable access to fitness resources can have on overall well-being. This initiative aligns with our vision of fostering healthier lives, promoting preventive care, and creating a positive, lasting impact on the communities we serve."

Memberships are $15 per month, but most members qualify for a reduced rate of $5 per month based on various financial and hereditary health considerations. The gym accepts wellness benefits from insurance plans. All memberships include access to classes, quarterly fitness evaluations, and custom exercise program design.

For more information on The Independent Health Gym and Wellness Center at Jericho Road, call 716-431-5141 or visit

Jericho Road Community Health Center is a federally qualified health center with five clinic locations in Buffalo. Visit to learn more.

Independent Health is an independent, not-for-profit health plan, headquartered in Buffalo, providing health care products and benefits designed to engage consumers in their health and well-being. To learn more, go to

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Celebrating 5 years of health, wellness and community in Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood - Niagara Frontier Publications

Jan 27

Community health, collaborations at heart of Brock Functional Inclusive Training Centre – Brock University

The popular Brock Functional Inclusive Training (Bfit) Centre, which offers exercise programs aimed at improving the health and quality of life of older adults and those experiencing a wide range of health situations, officially opened its new, state-of-the-art facility Wednesday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held for the Centre, previously known as the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being, was attended by industry and community partners, Brock employees and student volunteers, Bfit Centre members and representatives from all levels of government.

Bfit moved from its previous location on Lockhart Drive to the new space at the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre at Canada Games Park one year ago this month. Bfits state-of-the-art, 13,000-square-foot facility includes modern equipment and space for the Centres supervised community exercise programs that benefit older adults, cancer patients and survivors, cardiac patients and individuals living with multiple sclerosis, amputations, Parkinsons disease and spinal cord injury.

Brock President and Vice-Chancellor Lesley Rigg, who was one of several speakers at the event, emphasized the Universitys long-standing connection and service to the Niagara community.

Clarence and Ruth Braun, members of the Brock Functional Inclusive Training (Bfit) Centre, speak with Bfit staff member and Brock University PhD candidate Taranjot Kaur Dhillon (right) at the facilitys grand opening on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Since the institutions founding 60 years ago, Brock University has been wholly committed to serving its community, she said. We arent just in this community, we are of this community, and the official opening of this world-class centre is evidence of that.

With nearly 800 active members, Bfit offers a welcoming, accessible and safe space for seniors and people experiencing a variety of health situations to practise physical activity among their peers and with guidance from professional kinesiologists and students studying Kinesiology, Medical Sciences, Recreational Therapy and Gerontology.

A lot of our members enjoy coming to the facility because they feel like theyre part of a community, said Deborah OLeary, Bfit Centre Director and Acting Associate Vice-President, Research, Brock University. They make friends with people who have experienced similar life situations, such as a heart attack, cancer or losing a partner, and are inspired by members who make the time to prioritize their fitness and health.

OLeary said members enjoy interacting and bonding with Brock students who volunteer with Bfits programs through their course curriculum, practicum placements and co-curricular programs such as Med Plus and Fit Link.

The intergenerational aspect of Bfits programs benefits both our members and students, she said. Members receive support through individualized activity plans and supervision that ensures they are using the equipment and performing exercises correctly, while students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with seniors and people living with injury or disease, which prepares them for future careers in health care.

Jim Davis found Bfit more than a decade ago when he was looking for a gym that could provide the assistance he needed as a person with cerebral palsy.

Having the students here has been excellent, he said. My wife and I come here five days a week and stay here for three hours a day and we get all the help we could possibly need.

Carol Reid has been a Bfit member for 15 years.

Its good for me to get me up and out of the house and moving, she said. There are a lot of great people. Its a very caring community.

In addition to helping people in Niagara live healthy and active lives and providing students with meaningful experiential learning opportunities, Bfit also contributes to multi-disciplinary research that is advancing the understanding of human health and aging.

During his undergraduate studies, Matthieu Dagenais (BSc 16) worked closely with Bfit members to help build their confidence and maintain independence while improving their cardiovascular and muscular fitness, balance and stability. Now as a Bfit staff member and Brock PhD candidate in Applied Health Sciences Population and Behavioural Health, Dagenais is conducting research under the supervision of Kinesiology Professor Kimberley Gammage that investigates positive body image and physical activity across the lifespan.

Through research at Bfit, members contribute to the training of students and inform studies that help develop new and modify existing programming that aims to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for older adults, including the Bfit members themselves, he said. Our labs research has led to the enhancement of online fitness programs that promote exercise, social interaction, quality instruction and well-being in diverse populations.

The positive impact Bfit is making in the local community can also be attributed to its ongoing partnerships with community organizations and the financial support it receives from industry and government.

The Centres SeniorFit program is supported by TD Bank Group through the Ready Commitment, and its online exercise programming received a $25,000 boost this past June from the Government of Ontario via the Seniors Community Grant. Bfit also recently received a $30,000 donation from the Rankin Cancer Run to support Active Beyond Cancer, a new group exercise program for people living with cancer.

Brock University is showing leadership when it comes to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to participate in this province, said Daisy Wai, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister for Seniors and Accessibilities. Bfit and Brock Universitys SeniorFit classes are so important for seniors. The classes and Centre will help more seniors be able to stay fit, healthy and socially connected.

Bfits new space is also possible thanks to the federal, provincial and municipal representatives who championed capital investments for the Canada Summer Games, and the Universitys continuing partnerships with the Niagara Region, the City of St. Catharines and the City of Thorold.

For more information on Bfits programs and initiatives, visit the Centres website at

Original post:
Community health, collaborations at heart of Brock Functional Inclusive Training Centre - Brock University

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