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New Ulm Medical Center

An education in exercise

The Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute at NUMC offers all kinds of exercise therapy for the elderly. But for the first time, an Exercise and Activity for Seniors Education (EASE) class teaches them how to exercise on their own.

At Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute – New Ulm, seniors have come to expect top-notch care, whether it’s for learning to walk again or learning to talk again. And though exercise is a huge part of the therapy, Herman Louters, MD, a family medical physician at the center, always noticed something missing.

To Louters, it seemed that many elderly people in the community simply were not exercising on their own. Louters discovered that many of the elderly weren’t sure exactly what they should be doing, or they were frightened to exercise due to their physical limitations.

Teaching the Elderly to Exercise

These experiences led Louters to request a new class from the Sister Kenny Institute. And rather than just leading the elderly in exercises, it would do something more — it would teach them how to exercise on their own. Deb Beatty, manager of the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute – New Ulm, was charged with putting the class together.

“I know that we have many senior citizens in New Ulm who currently exercise regularly and benefit for their health and emotional well-being,” said Beatty. “I also see many seniors in my work who would have benefited from exercising to prevent injury from falling or prevent disease progression. This class is really aimed at those individuals who do not want to exercise with a group, but recognize the benefits of maintaining their strength and endurance to improve their overall health and prevent falls.”

More Information about the Class

The “exercise education” class, now called Exercise and Activity for Seniors Education (EASE) will begin in September. The class consists of three sessions offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1:30 in the afternoon, and each session teaches something different.

“The exercise class will consist of an initial class to discuss the rationale for exercise, types of exercise, resources in the community for group exercise, how to monitor your heart rate during exercise and other safety points about exercising,” said Beatty. “The second session will be the start of the exercises, which will be tailored to the individual ability and needs of the participant. The third session will be a chance to demonstrate back to the therapist what you have learned and ask any questions you may have.”

Beatty said that as long as there are enough participants, the class will be offered twice each month, free of charge. In order to participate in the class, simply call the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute at 507-217-5173 to sign up. If you are concerned about whether or not it is safe for you to exercise, discuss this with your physician prior to signing up for the class.