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 Annual 2010

Annual 2010


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Water Exercise Works Wonders

     Twice a week Betty McKee heads to the aquatic exercise program at Eden Medical Center’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Services in San Leandro. In the warm waters of the therapeutic pool, McKee, 88, finds respite from the rheumatoid arthritis pain that has plagued her for the past five years.
    “I can feel my joints began to loosen up as soon as I get in the water,” McKee says. “Even three to four hours after I’ve finished the class, I only feel twinges of pain.”
     McKee is one of an estimated 46 million adults in this country who suffer from some form of arthritis. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion says the prevalence of arthritis is increasing and will continue to climb as the baby boomer generation ages.
     Suzanna Oh, Eden’s rehabilitation manager and an occupational therapist, says those with arthritis can benefit from aquatic exercise, which also can help those who suffer from lupus, back pain, osteoporosis and musculoskeletal injuries.
    “The water’s buoyancy supports the body’s weight, which reduces stress on the joints and minimizes pain,” Oh says. “It’s a low-impact workout, and yet participants still get a cardiovascular and resistance workout without stress on their joints.”
    McKee, heard about the Eden aqua exercise program from a neighbor and
has been attending classes for the past three years.
    The Eden program is open to all local residents and costs $77 for 11 visits. The class attracts people ages 40 to 88, and you don’t have to know how to swim in order to participate. McKee says the class also doubles as a social outlet and
support group.
     “We’re all able to compare notes on where we hurt and where we don’t,” McKee says with a smile.
The San Leandro octogenerian, who is also diabetic, underwent open-heart surgery at Eden three years ago and was introduced to the EdenFit supervised exercise program three months post-op. She now spends two days at the pool and two days doing an exercise regimen at EdenFit.
     “I work out on the rowing machine, stationary bicycle and treadmill,” McKee says. “I haven’t always been as active
as I am now, but I’ve noticed how
staying active really helps relieve my arthritis pain.”
     While Oh says many people mistakenly believe they can’t or shouldn’t exercise with arthritis, the reverse is true.
     “Being inactive actually increases stiffness and can also increase joint damage and deterioration,” she says. “Regular exercise can keep joints flexible and allow people to continue doing daily tasks. Learning to be more active can help ease a person’s pain as well as help them to better manage their condition.”

Help for Arthritis Sufferers

■    The Web site creakyjoints.org offers arthritis sufferers of all ages a free online community where they can post questions, share advice and receive support. The site also lists local face-to-face support groups.

■    Aids for Arthritis sells assistive devices that can make daily living easier for those living with arthritis. Products include easy-to-reach seatbelts, safety tub and shower bars and devices that can help with buttons and getting dressed. Visit aidsforarthritis.com or call (800) 654-0707.


     Herrick Hospital, 2001 Dwight Way, Berkeley, holds an arthritis support group meeting on the second Tuesday of each month (except in December). Signs in the lobby will direct interested parties to the meeting. There is no charge and no reservations required. For more information, call (510) 204-4503.

     The Mariner Square Athletic Club, 2227 Mariner Square Loop, Alameda, offers gentle stretching and aqua fitness classes. Visit marinersq.com or call (510) 523-8011.

     The Downtown Oakland YMCA at 2350 Broadway holds an Aquatic Program in conjunction with the Arthritis Foundation on Thursdays from 1 p.m.–2 p.m. Other water aerobics classes are held at various times throughout the week. Visit ymcaeastbay.org or call (510) 451-9622.

      The EdenFit program is held at the medical center’s San Leandro Surgery Center, 15035 E. 14th St., and is ideal for people who have just completed physical or occupational therapy, who haven’t exercised recently or who have high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis and want an exercise plan that addresses their specific health concerns. For more information and costs, visit edenmedcenter.org or call (510) 317-8334.

     The Eden Medical Center aqua exercise program is held at the Rehabilitation Center, 14207 E. 14th St., San Leandro. Call (510) 667-4538 for more information.


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