LETTER: Seniors need Health Connection to remain open

Monday, March 30, 2009 | 4:49 p.m. CDT; updated 5:41 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 30, 2009

At the same time UM System President Gary Forsee is appointing a nine-member advisory board to examine the university health care system, the School of Health Professions is closing down the Health Connection, which for many years has provided an award-winning fitness program designed especially for seniors but not exclusive to seniors.

Repeatedly in recent years, we have been urged by medical professionals to adopt healthy practices like eating nutritious foods, getting adequate sleep and exercising- which is particularly important for seniors needing social interaction necessary for good mental health.

I have seen my own health and well-being improve since I began to frequent the Health Connection several years ago. It offers a wide variety of activities to improve strength, flexibility and balance. All are vitally important for seniors. One especially important class is offered for clients who must exercise while seated because of various infirmities. Cardio workouts are available and they are offered with the guidance of trained professionals and interns from the School of Health Professions who take blood pressure readings, greet individuals in a friendly and welcoming manner and watch participants’ progress.

Fitness centers abound but none offer programs especially for seniors and people who might be partially impaired. Nor do they provide a laboratory for physical therapy trainees like the Health Connection does.

It is hard for me to understand how the closing of the Health Connection can be justified when it falls so obviously in the preventative category touted in recent years by the medical community and even the U.S. government.

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